|The Night Life is the Good Life
- Chicago, IL
Dairy Foods, Oct 15, 1999 by: Gerry
"The night life ain't no good life, but it's my life,"
B.B. King sings in the Willie Nelson-penned "Night
Life." Obviously the legendary bluesman wasn't thinking
Especially after a day-long, on-the-dogs experience at
Worldwide Food Expo, night time is indeed the right time
for some well-deserved R&R...just don't make it too
late (unless you literally want to hit the show floor
the next morning).
The city offers action extending from theaters to music
clubs to taverns and beyond, opening the door to all kinds
of evening-time excitement.
In particular, Chicago boasts an explosive music scene,
punctuated by a roster of authentic blues clubs (and no,
House of Blues isn't one of them) that showcase some of
the biggest names and premium talent to hit a stage anyplace.
My First Time in Chicago
by: Sarah Anne Polsinelli
People whirl through revolving doors. Sirens whirl and
blare in 5-minute intervals. Potted wildflowers divide
the North and South lanes on Michigan Avenue. Children
run splashing across a large outdoor work of art: Two
30 ft tall screens project ethnic faces, sporadically
spitting out water onto the children that wait anxiously
below them. This is Chicago. Ernest Hemingway, the father
of modern literature, was born here. So was the most notorious
gangster of all time: Al Capone. Comedian Bill Murray
is from Chicago. The city's most identifiable citizen,
one of the wealthiest and most influential women alive
today, is Oprah Winfrey. There is so much to do during
the day that even the most decisive person feels dumbfounded.
We spent our days walking around aimlessly, straining
our necks to admire the world-renown architecture. I shared
an elevator with some German tourists, and later found
out that many people fly in from Germany to go on the
$10 "Mies and Modernism" architectural tour,
which traces the buildings of German-born architect Mies
van der Rohe.
Chicago lacks a downtown "core" because every
corner of the city thrives in its own way - each one different,
yet just as fascinating as the next. The endless supply
of 50-plus storey condominiums and eighty-story buildings
is astonishing. But you don't feel dwarfed by these towering
edifices because of the expansive, meticulously kept sidewalks
and pleasantly "green" streets. The windy city
allows you to breathe, in the midst of an urban jungle.
Chicago's appeal is broad because of its variety of attractions.
The Shedd Aquarium is located 25 ft underground and boasts
one of the most diverse collections of sharks in North
America. The Art Institute is internationally known for
its French impressionist collection, but also displays
art from Renaissance Italy and Ancient China.
But art isn't simply contained within the museum walls:
Modern art pieces are scattered across the city's several
parks. Tourists flock to the entrance of the United Centre
to see the world-famous sculpture of basketball legend
Michael Jordan. The Uptown Jazz Club is a living museum
of 1930's Chicago. Oh, and jazz bars are everywhere.
Although jazz music and prominent players came to Chicago
from the south in the 1920's (the "Jazz Age")
to enliven the city's nightclubs with their performances,
the excitement still resonates. One of the most scenic
bars is located on the 95th (yeah - 95th) floor of the
John Hancock building, with floor-to-ceiling windows and
an unbelievable view of the city.
From the top of the city, you can admire all of Chicago's
greenery, there are several major parks spread out across
the city. Grant Park is known as Chicago's front yard,
because it's situated right on the waterfront. Lincoln
Park contains the world's largest free zoo.
After walking the city on our first day, my boyfriend
decisively declared: "Chicago does everything big!"
He was right. Chicago has the largest aquarium, the largest
public library, the largest candy factory, the largest
food festival, the largest collection of impressionist
paintings outside of Paris, the longest street, and of
course, the tallest building in North America. The Sears
Tower is 110 storeys, and 1353 feet tall.
But we didn't see any of these things.
Because there's so much to see and touch and hear and
taste that unless you're on a rigid schedule, it's impossible
to see everything. We shopped along Chicago's "Magnificent
Mile," a stretch of higher-end shops along Michigan
Avenue. We started at one end of the street, where we
got a bird's eye view from the 94th floor observatory
of the John Hancock building. After dinner, we rushed
to the other end of the Mile, where we hopped onto a speedboat
for nighttime, picture-perfect view of Chicago's skyline
from 500 metres offshore. And don't listen to what the
tourist guides say; the view is definitely better at night.
We watched fireworks flash and flicker from our 25th floor
hotel room. We ate deep-dish pizza. We walked along the
lakefront towards the world's largest illuminated fountain,
the Buckingham ("Married with Children" fountain).
We rode on Navy Pier's Ferris wheel, and gazed at the
city lights that twinkled 150 feet beneath us.
"It is hopeless for the occasional visitor to try
to keep up with Chicago - she outgrows his prophecies
faster than he can make them. She is always a novelty;
for she is never the Chicago you saw when you passed through
the last time." Mark Twain was right. I look forward
to my next trip to Chicago.
About the Author
Student writer, professional daydreamer. Go to www.pumpkin-face.com
for a complete list of articles.