My Kind Of Town

Artoo disguised as mailbox at Chicago's Navy Pier
Of all places to run into Artoo Detoo, I never thought it’d be Chicago’s Navy Pier. My wife and I were in the Chicago area last week on vacation and, sure enough, the little astromech droid was there, too. It looks like he’s seen a lot of action.

Chicago's Navy Pier (click for larger version)
We visited Navy Pier with her parents on an ideal day. The temperature stayed in the low 70s with no humidity. There were beautiful blue skies and white clouds. The pier is a definite must-see, and not just for Artoo. From there we took a thirty-minute skyline boat tour on Lake Michigan, which was an incredible way to view the city.

Chicago skyline (click for larger version)
From the tour boat, I snapped some pictures of the back side of Navy Pier with the city as a backdrop (above), and of the Sears Tower (below).

Chicago's Sears Tower (click for full version)
Later that day, we visited the Sears Tower Skydeck. Since it was such a clear day, there was about a one-hour wait to get up there. The line setup was mass chaos, but it’s worth the annoyance to see the spectacular views from the skydeck.

A view from the Sears Tower Skydeck (click for larger version)
Between Navy Pier and the Sears Tower, I took over two hundred pictures in total that day. I think my finger must’ve gotten stuck on the button. There was just so much that I wanted to capture. It was a perfect day, one I will never forget.

A view from the Sears Tower Skydeck (click for larger version)
I’ve only spent about eight days of my life so far in the Chicago area, so I’m certainly not an expert. My wife and her family are originally from there, though, and they tell me there are certain things I always must do when visiting. All of them seem to involve eating. Yes, they know me well.

A view from the Sears Tower Skydeck (click for larger version)
You have to eat at Portillo’s. They have delicious Italian beef, Italian sausage, and Chicago hot dogs. Fortunately for us, some of their stuff can actually be imported to where we live. One thing that doesn’t ship here, though, is what I always seem to order when I’m there: the Combo Beef & Char-Grilled Sausage sandwich. I guess they don’t allow that one out of Chicagoland.

And if that’s not enough, be sure to get a big scoop of ice cream at Oberweis. When my in-laws told me this place had the absolute best ice cream, I have to admit I was a bit skeptical. Sure, they were right about the whole Portillo’s having the best beef and sausage thing. But I really love ice cream.

So, I went with her dad and grandfather to Oberweis and, sure enough, I had the finest scoop of chocolate peanut butter ice cream. That was a fun day, too, probably my favorite of the trip. Her grandfather taught me how to play poker and proceeded to beat both me and her dad pretty handily at it. Fortunately for us, we were only playing for pennies.

Still hungry after ice cream, then why not wrap up your stay with a big slice of sausage pizza from Home Run Inn? The whole “Chicago has the best” theme continued there. And yes, Home Run Inn does indeed have the best restaurant pizza. Ever.

After all that eating, I was a little worried I wouldn’t fit back on the sardine plane to get home. Of course, it turns out that being stuck in Chicago wouldn’t be such a bad thing. At least I’d never go hungry.