Tales From the Back of the Pack

Tales From the Back of the Pack

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Bucket List: Check & Check, Chicago Day 1

I love ticking items off a list. This week I was able to check TWO items from my bucket list (which is the best kind of list to tick): 1. watching a Dodgers game at Wrigley Field and 2. running along Lake Michigan / Lake Shore Drive in Chicago.


Chicago, Day 1
I'd initially had plans to join a girl friend who would be working in Chicago for a week and camp out with her in her hotel room. But she ended up having to back out at the last minute. Since I'd already purchased my airfare, I decided to book an Airbnb and go ahead with my plans

I had some trepidation about taking a RANDOM mid-week trip for NO real reason to a city all the way across the country where I would be staying with STRANGERS. Who does that? Well, I guess I do.

I landed in O'Hare around noon & made my way out to the trains area & hoped for the best.

 Stopped in the bathrooms.....have you seen these toilets that change their own seat covers? AAaaak! How wasteful and lazy.

Along the way out I saw a car service holding up a sign for JAY MOHR. I wondered if it was the real Jay Mohr so I took a chance & waited. And then Jay Mohr showed up! He was super nice & invited me out to a show in LA when I was back in town. What a great way to start my trip!
The trains were initially confusing but in true mid-west style, everybody was super helpful and friendly. Even in their gruff Chicago accents. This guy stepped right in front of me and took over the controls to get me an awesome all day pass for all the metro/buses in Chicago. I used the hell out of that little blue card. Thanks CTA employee!
Took the Blue Line train (and then the Addison bus) all the way from O'Hare to my Airbnb to drop off my bags. This was the longest commute ever.

When I finally arrived, my Airbnb was absolutely delightful. The brownstone I booked was in Wrigleyville just a couple of blocks from Wrigley Field. I had a bedroom and bathroom to myself and a semi-private entrance using the back door of the brownstone which was right outside my bedroom. Super ideal.
My temporary Wrigleyville neighborhood 
My back steps three flights up


The view from the backdoor

walking between the buildings to get to the back
The lovely brownstone
If you've never used Airbnb & are thinking about trying it out, a private entrance is IDEAL especially if you'll be staying in the house where your hosts actually live. This was my first time sharing a house with the hosts and since I was traveling alone, it gave me a sense of security. Plus it was a great place in an awesome neighborhood.

After dropping my bags off, I headed downtown to tour around. I only had a few hours before I had to be back in Wrigleyville for the game and the trains ate up a considerable amount of that time.




After walking around a LOT, I was directed (by locals) to a place called Giordano's for some true Chicago deep dish pizza. DEEP DISH PIZZA IS BOOOOOMMMBB! OMG. I've had pretty bad imitations of Chicago pizza (I'm looking at you, BJ's Restuarant) and now I know how great this style pizza really is!
The Pizza takes no less than 40-45 minutes to cook. It was explained to me that if I were to be served a Chicago deep dish pizza any faster than 40-45 minutes, I could be assured that it was NOT true deep dish pizza. It was worth the wait.
 Overall the mass transit system was super convenient and cheaper than renting a car, but the trains weren't very speedy. I wasn't able to do everything I wanted to before I felt I should head back to Wrigleyville to get ready for the game. I'm used to being able to drive to exactly where I need to go and getting to within a few feet of my destination, hopping in and out of my car. Not quite so with mass transit.

Some of the old train stations were beautiful and well preserved. Others were rusty and crumbling and showing their age. I loved BOTH!!
 
After donning my Dodger wear back at the Brownstone, I made my way over to Wrigley Field, soaking in every footstep. The stadium was everything I thought it would be and more. I purchased a ticket in the Bleachers section and sat surrounded by Cubs fans and next to one Dodger fan that I had actually met on the train from the airport (aka Chris who had flown in from Phoenix for the game just like me! We went our separate ways after the train but made loose plans to meet back up in the bleachers).


 The old socreboard is still manually operated! There were 3 men sitting in there changing numbers all throughout the game (wonder what that job pays?).
We got a lot of friendly ribbing from the Cubs fans but since I wasn't sitting in my Dodger gear all 
alone (although my new Dodger friend Chris was really a complete stranger) it was fine. At the end of the game--Dodgers lost--I hugged all the Cubbie fans I had sat with and said goodbye.

 

Afterwards Chris and I hit up the scene on Clark Street. There's not a single thing to do in LA after a Dodger game, but Wrigleyville was JUMPING!

Chris had already scouted some places on Clark St while I was downtown being a tourist. We went to the Irish Oak and played a super fun game of BINGO. Afterwards went dancing til 2am at another place (Slugger's, I think) with tons of Dodgers & Cubs fans. It was a great time! Unfortunately my phone died right after the game so I didn't get pictures. But if you're ever in Chicago for a ball game, definitely do NOT miss Clark Street after the game.

I was planning on heading straight to bed after the game, but it was worth it to YOLO-it and try something new! #Noregrets

Chicago Day 2 on deck!

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