Chicago: A City Full of Improv Comedy, Exquisite Art, and a Scenic Lakefront Path

Hello friends,

It’s almost spring in Minneapolis. Though it is supposed to snow today, I’ve seen geese flying overhead and I spotted my first robin this weekend. I’d like to think that the migratory birds are a pretty good indicator that winter is coming to an end. As always, I’ve been enjoying my time in Minneapolis. Most recently, I’ve gotten the ole bike out and have gone on some pretty long rides. I’ve also been playing lots of music with friends. And most importantly, I played my first game of ultimate in 2 months. My foot is finally healed!

But enough about Minneapolis, let’s talk about the Windy City.

The Cloud Gate

Chicago: A City Full of Improv Comedy, Exquisite Art, and a Scenic Lakefront Path

I mentioned in my last post that I was in Chicago with my twin sister. She had to get her Chinese work-visa, so I decided to join her. In total, I spent 5 days in this bustling city. One of the first things I noticed was how packed it was. As we took the metro towards downtown, the train tracks were only feet away from the neighboring buildings. While watching the train take turns, it looked like the train carriages would surely hit the nearby buildings, but (of course) they never did.

We got downtown and walked towards our next station. While walking, we crossed over the Chicago River. It really was a striking site, seeing a waterway cut through the center of downtown. We eventually meandered to a Blue Line Station and got off at Damen. When we got out of the station, we were surprised by all the donut shops, hip restaurants, and young people walking around. We didn’t realize that our hostel was in the “4th hippest hipster neighborhood in the country” (told to me by wikipedia). We dropped off our stuff at IHSP Hostel and decided to get a Chicago classic: a deep-dish pizza from Giordano’s. It was pretty darn good!

The NES Controller!Wormhole Cafe: You can see the NES Controller in the top left corner!

The next day, Colleen went downtown to get her visa sorted out, while I stayed in Wicker Park and looked for a coffee shop to work at. I used RootsRated and google maps to lead me to one of the best cafés I’ve ever been to: Wormhole Cafe. The reason why I liked it so much was because it was so nerdy. There were Chrono Trigger characters decorating the espresso machine, a stained glass NES controller hanging by the window, and even a Delorean parked on the upper level. There were more nerdy things, but you’ll just have to see them yourself.

Chrono Trigger! My favorite rpgThese are the Chrono Trigger characters I talked about. Frog is my favorite!

Beneath the Cloud GateBeneath the Cloud Gate

After a morning of RootsRated work, I met up with Colleen and did what any good tourist would do: take selfies at The Cloud Gate (commonly known as “The Bean”). Standing underneath it was definitely the best part. It was so cool watching as people’s reflections morphed and transformed into different shapes and sizes. When Colleen and I were satisfied, we walked our way (mostly) to The Historic District to go see some improv comedy at the famous Second City Theater. We spent the rest of the evening laughing so hard, it’s no wonder SNL finds its best comedians through Second City.

Colleen looking at George Hopper's NighthawksNighthawks by Edward Hopper

Colleen and I had decided the night before that we wanted to have a museum day. So, we took the metro back to downtown and walked to The Chicago Institute of Arts. I love museums, especially when they’ve got some impressive collections. It wasn’t until I had the visitor guide that I realized how many famous pieces the museum houses. Some include, Georges Seurat’s A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, Grant Wood’s American Gothic, Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks, Pablo Picasso’s The Old Guitarist, and a whole room of Georgia O’Keefe’s! Colleen and I had a bunch of fun exploring the different collections.

The next morning, we packed our bags and said goodbye to IHSP hostel. We were staying with my friend Allie that evening and she lives north of Chicago in Edgewater, which is right off of Lake Michigan. So, Colleen and I decided to make a day of it and hike up Lake Michigan’s Lakefront Trail.

A lone guitarist playing to lake MichiganA lone guitarist playing a tune along the Lakefront Trail

We took the bus to Lincoln Park and started our 5-mile hike. Within the first mile, we found ourselves at Lincoln Park Zoo, which has free admission. The rhinos were definitely are favorite exhibit (though, similar to Minneapolis’ Como Zoo, I was sad about their living arrangements). After the zoo, we stopped by the Lincoln Park Conservatory and enjoyed a stroll through their horticulture collections.

After Lincoln Park, we found ourselves on a path directly bordering Lake Michigan and followed it for 3 miles. Listening to the water hit against the retaining wall and chatting with my sis made for a fun, relaxing hike. It wasn’t until we arrived at Montrose Harbour that the trail took a tight right turn and we found ourselves at the Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary. We decided to walk through the park and heard the chirps of migrating sparrows and even saw a juvenile red-tailed hawk hunt for prey. I was happy to find such a quiet place only a few miles from downtown! The best part though was the view of the Chicago skyline from the harbour.

In the Bird SanctuaryExploring the Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary

The ViewThe Chicago Skyline

After our urban hike, we met up and got dinner with my good friend Allie. I had met Allie through couchsurfing.com, so most of the night was catching up, as well as reminiscing about our CS adventures. Thank you Aliie for hosting us!

We woke up bright and early to wish Allie a good day and then Colleen and I slowly meandered south, finding ourselves in a cool neighborhood called Andersonville. We ate breakfast at a quaint diner called Svea Restaurant and then explored the rest of the area. I think it was probably my favorite neighborhood we visited. Soon after, we took the bus south to stay our final night in Chicago at The Getaway Hostel. After dropping off our stuff, we had dinner at a burger joint called Spritz with a couple of Colleen’s old college friends. This place is known for making everything homemade. From ketchup to soda, they make it all. They even have a small jar of their picked vegetables as free appetizers. I also must say, I ordered the Poutine Burger and it was amazing.

When we took the bus back to the hostel, Colleen and I both agreed that we needed to walk off our burgers. While walking, I thought back about the week and how much fun I had with my twin sister. I didn’t mention before, but it was our birthday week, and as we maneuvered through residential streets, I was reminded how lucky I am to have such an awesome and adventurous sister. She’s a fantastic travel companion and friend. I wouldn’t of wanted to spend my birthday week any other way.

Well, the rest is history. <3

Much love,

-Molly

Sister LoveSister Love

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