My Chicago Trip Part 2: Places To Go

Instead of having one long mega blog that details all of my happenings while in Chicago, I've decided to break it up into 3 different ones. The first will be my top 10 places I went/did, second my top places I ate, and third my overall thoughts and final opinion on the trip and city.

Top Ten places I went while in Chicago:

#1) Wicked on Broadway
I've never been to a Broadway play/musical before so I don't have anything else to compare it to, but from my experience with "Wicked", I'd go back every chance I got. The theater was gorgeous (Ford's Oriental theater). It was everything you'd think of when you hear "Broadway". The architecture and paintings were unbelievable. We had really good seats, front row of the balcony. I wasn't too familiar with the story of "Wicked" except that it had something to do with the "Wizard of Oz". Basically it's that story but from the witches point of view. It begins with the birth of the wicked witch, follows her life rooming with Glenda the good witch in a boarding school, and then all the way to the final confrontation with Dorothy. The music, story, acting, and special effect were amazing. It was by far the best thing I did in Chicago. 4 stars

#2)Cellular Field
One day while Beth was in class, I hoped on the train and headed out to Wrigley Field. I took my time walking around the stadium getting some pics and taking in the neighborhoods surrounding it. At each gate, I asked a security guard if I could get some pictures inside. Each time I was turned down. I jumped back on the train and headed back to downtown. I noticed that the train also ran to Cellular Field where the White Sox play. Since I had time to kill, I figured why not go and check it out too. When I got there, it was less then impressive. It looks like any other new stadium built in the last 10 years. As I walked around it, I saw the administration offices and figured I'd go in and see if they gave any tours. I was told the gift shop may but they weren't open yet. As I started to walk out, a man asked what I wanted. I told him I just wanted a few pictures of the inside. He said to follow him and he'd let me in. We stepped out into the stadium about 10 rows from the field. The place was beautiful inside. They had just laid new grass down the day before and were in the process of installing new seats. After a couple of pics, he asked me if I wanted to go on the the field. I was like, "Heck yeah!". I went onto the field and stood just behind home plate. He offered to get a picture of me on the field. Next he invited me to sit in the home dugout and even use the phone to call the bullpen. I felt like a 5 year old kid!! It was awesome. After getting a few more pics, he took me up to see the 2005 World Series Trophy. My trip to the ball park couldn't get any better. I was half expecting Jim Thome to walk out and give me an autograph next, but no such luck. Being a Braves fan, I've never really pulled for either of the Chicago teams, but from now on, it's White Sox all the way in the A.L.!! 4 stars

#3) Shedd Aquarium
I've had the pleasure of visiting some of the top aquariums in the nation but this one by far is the best. Built overlooking Lake Michigan, this 3-story aquarium has everything you could ever want to see when it comes to marine life. Millions of fish - some very rare, great exhibits, interactive shows, and a terrific atmosphere. I could have easily spent more then the 3 hours we had there. A must see if you're in Chicago! 4 stars

#4) Sights and Sounds of Chicago
I love big cities. I love the sounds, the smells, and people, the countless things to do, and the ability to have it all right at your finger tips. Our hotel was right in the middle of downtown so the things to see and do was endless. I must have walked 10 miles a day all round the city. When I didn't feel like walking, buses and trains were a very cheap ($2.00) and easy way to get around. I will elaborate more on why I fell in love with Chicago in my "final thoughts" blog but I will go ahead and say this, it has become my favorite city in the U.S. and second in the world (only behind Barcelona) 4 Stars

#5) Field Museum
Again, another fascinating museum located right across the parking lot from the Shedd Aquarium and Solider Field. If you want to see it, you can probably find it at the Field Museum. Three floors of wall to wall exhibits from a WWII Submarine to Dinosaur fossils to plants to gems to animals. As much as I enjoyed it, I found it a bit overwhelming. I could have spent hours on each floor. To really see everything and have time to enjoy it, this museum must be seen over at the very least a 2 day period. 3 stars (4 if I would have had more time)

#6) The Jerry Springer Show
Yes, we really got tickets to see Jerry Springer. We had to arrive at NBC studios at 3:00pm to get in line. They give out more tickets then they have seats so it ends up being first come first serve. We were in the back of the line to get in as there were already about 100 people in front of us. We waited in line until 4pm then they took us up to another waiting room. We waited til 4:30pm, then we started to get impatient. I would have liked to see Jerry, but I wasn't going to wait around much longer. It had been an hour and a half so far. We got up to find someone that could tell us how much longer it'd be. We were told they were running behind and they wouldn't start the show until 5:30pm. As we stood in the hall debating if we should leave or stay, they begin taking people 10 at a time into the studio to get their seats. Since we were out in the hall, they went ahead and sat us too. The studio was very small, maybe 1500sq ft. It only sat 120 people or so. We took some seats on the 6th row near the door, in case we wanted to leave early. As the place filled up, they begin showing the "Best of Springer" on screens around the room to get the people use to what we'd be seeing. As more people came in, it became apparent that Beth and I were the classiest people there. At least we were the only ones there with all our teeth and no tattoos. Once everyone was in, the stage manager came out to go over the instructions. He told us he would tell us when to yell and what to yell. Sounds easy enough. Then he introduced Jerry. The place went wild. He was a much shorter and older man in person. He told a few lame jokes and answered some questions. Then he went back stage and the show began. When the taping started, everyone was told to stand a cheer. As Jerry came back out, we made his way around shaking some hands then he got to Beth and I. He smiled, said hello, then shook both our our hands. All I could think of was with my right hand, I have now shook the president and Jerry Springer's hand. How many people can say that? Anyway, the show began and we ended up sitting through 2 segments of people. Each was very entertaining and sad. The things people will do and say on TV is amazing. I wouldn't say I'd ever go back but it was worth the experience at least one time. The funniest thing that happened was during one of the segments, the guest on stage (a skinny guy who had 2 girls fighting over him) made the comments, "I have needs, I'm a man Jerry". At that moment, the stage director yelled out, "You're not a man, you're not a man" to which the crowd stood and chanted also. Then he changed the chant to, "You wear panties, you wear panties". Good stuff. 3 stars

#7) Museum of Science and Industry
A nice museum that was basically a smaller Field Museum that dealt more with the science and industry part of the world and history. Much like the Field Museum, it was very over whelming with the information. Not as much to see or do but worth the trip to see it. 3 Stars

#8) Hancock Observatory
We took a ride on the worlds fastest elevator to the 94th floor of the Hancock building. There, they have a 360 degree observation tower that allows you to see all ends of Chicago and four states. It was set up very nicely and they even supplied some head phones for a walk around listening tour that gave Chicago's history. 2 stars

#9) Adler Planetarium
This third museum completes Chicago's museum campus (along with the Shedd and Field) It was by far the weakest. If it had been by itself as being the only museum to see, then it might have been better. But compared to the other three, it stunk. Save your money and avoid it unless you have extra time and money to blow. 1 star

#10) Navy Pier
Basically it's an old pier with a tourist trap filled mall on top of it. The best part of it is the great view of Lake Michigan and the city, other than that, it's bad. It's listed as a must see but to me it was a must not see. Save your time and avoid it. 0 Stars


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