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Old 01-10-2012, 09:03 AM
 
Location: Wilkinsburg
1,661 posts, read 2,340,870 times
Reputation: 986

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Chicago!


Quote:
Originally Posted by ML North View Post
Observations:
  • We loved using the "L". It was quick and easy to navigate, and not once was I confused about where to go, where to wait, when a train was coming, or where I was. We flew through the system like weekday commuters, and did not have a single bit of trouble. We particularly liked the Brown line because of the elevated track. We used a cab only once (at 230am), and kind of felt like sellouts for doing so.

  • Very reasonable prices. There really wasn't an appreciable difference between Pittsburgh prices (which I consider to be very affordable) and Chicago prices. I actually spent considerably less than I anticipated, not because we did fewer things than we planned, but because the prices were cheaper than expected.

  • Where are the police cars? I saw only one police car in three days. I thought that was great, actually, but it was at least noticeable enough that it caught my attention. Of course, I live near a police station and in an area of town that some would consider "sketchy", so I'm used to seeing a lot them around. That said, there was not one point during the trip that I wasn't comfortable, though admittedly we were generally in stable areas.

  • Jazz Showcase was great! On Friday night we walked over to Jazz Showcase around 8pm and caught Tom Harrell, a renown trumpet player who toured with Stan Kenton. We were early and got a great table, and the three hours we spent here were perhaps the most relaxed three hours I've had this year. Everything seemed perfect to me, from the volume to the temperature of the room, the slight dissonance of 7th chords, and the show flew by as I took the tiniest sips of rum and jammed along. We walked back to the hotel around 11:30ish -- I think.

  • The late show at Second City was fantastic. Tickets for both 8pm shows were sold out, so we opted to see Sky's the Limit (Weather Permitting) at 11pm on Saturday night. After dinner we headed to the back bar at Corcoran's, where people were getting wild. We helped ourselves to quite a few beers and headed over to the show around 10pm, where we were once again taken to a great table (front row). There was so much talent in this obviously well-prepared show, and they did a bit on Chicago cops that nearly had us rolling on the floor. We stayed for the improvisational third act, which lasted until nearly 2am.

  • The Italian beef sandwich from Al's Beef is clearly outrageous. I had a regular Italian beef, dipped, with hot peppers. I enjoyed it -- the peppers were great! -- but it made the Pittsburgh Primanti's Sandwich seem like a light meal. Next time I'll try the combo.

  • Lincoln Square was a beautiful neighborhood. We took the Brown line to Western Avenue on Saturday morning and spent a long time strolling around. The neighborhood has a village-like feel to it, and parts of it reminded me of larger version of Pittsburgh's Shadyside.

    We checked out the business district and the backstreets, and it was an neighborhood in which I could actually see myself living. My girlfriend got a kick out of Timeless Toys and we had a lot of fun at The Chopping Block, where we tried some tomato bisque, bacon-wrapped dates, cookies and wine. We talked with one of the Chefs for a while, and their cooking classes sound like a lot of fun.

    Following the advice of MoItaly, we had lunch at Trattoria Troullo. We both had excellent pasta dishes, enjoyed some wine, and talked with the waiter a little. Perfect portions. I walked out of that restaurant feeling amazing, so amazing that we strolled over to Fork and enjoyed a couple wine flights!

  • Wildfire was also very good. A franchise, yes, but we had great meals. We looked at a few places -- Gibson's, Motto, Charlie Trotters. We packed lightly, and I didn't really feel comfortable wearing jeans to a $150/plate restaurant (Trotters), so we opted for Wildfire. Perhaps not at the same level of culinary prestige as the others, but I had a bison fillet that was crazy-good. I would've loved to go to Al Capone's, but unfortunately didn't know about it until the flight home.

  • We ended up at the Travelodge in South Loop. I can't remember if I bought it on Priceline, Hotwire, or whatever, but for the cost it was fine. We settled on the description "crumby but clean, and totally acceptable," and for the 3 waking hours that we were there, it was sufficient. There was a lot of exposed piping in the hallways and rooms, so it kind of felt like were were staying in a ship (which I guess is a plus?). I liked the location too, because it was close to Jazz Showcase and easy to get on the "L." For what it's worth, my girlfriend was not mad at me when she saw the room, but next time I'll probably book a slightly nicer hotel north of Wacker.
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Old 01-10-2012, 10:01 AM
 
Location: Oxford, England
13,036 posts, read 22,023,380 times
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Brugges, Ghent and Lille over Christmas , all lovely in their own ways and a lot to enjoy in all of them.
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Old 01-10-2012, 11:27 AM
 
Location: on an island
13,382 posts, read 40,925,492 times
Reputation: 13245
Toulouse and Pau, in France, and San Sebastian, Oviedo, Santiago de Compestela, A Coruña, Salamanca, and Madrid in Spain.

All were special in their own ways, and I was enthralled with the way they do Christmas lights in Europe, especially Madrid. (Far more imaginative and colorful than in the USA.)
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Old 01-10-2012, 12:34 PM
 
Location: Bangor Maine
3,442 posts, read 5,613,046 times
Reputation: 3980
I visited Washington DC in November of 2011. It was my 5th or 6th time there and always there are things I haven't done. We stayed on Pennsylvania Ave at the Lombardy. Went to Arlington National Cemetery, the Kennedy Center for a Jazz performance of the Army Band, visited the Newseum and had dinner one night at Union Station. Of course we always visit one or 2 of the Smithsonian Bldgs.
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Old 01-10-2012, 04:45 PM
 
Location: Brisbane
3,518 posts, read 5,461,782 times
Reputation: 2829
My last holiday was a weekend in melbourne, Melbourne is a wonderfull city. Ive not had a proper holiday (more than a weekend away) for nearly 3 years now

Last edited by danielsa1775; 01-10-2012 at 04:54 PM..
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