I had to pull out my copy of The World Almanac to confirm that Chicago is the third largest city in the US, behind New York and Los Angeles. Of course, we have been hearing a lot about #4 on that list, Houston, in the past few days.
Chicago, with 2.9 million residents, is quite a town. I flew to Midway Airport on Wednesday to begin my three day visit. The main event was IMTS, but I also had two plant visits and a meeting scheduled. On Wednesday night, I was treated to a fabulous sunset. The weather was beautiful for late summer in the Midwest and the evening light silhouetting the skyscrapers, particularly the Wrigley Building, was stunning.
My downtown location was great. I had easy access to the Loop, where I could catch trains in all directions. I was only a few blocks from Lake Michigan and was close to the lakefront parks that stretch south from downtown. I was also very close to the main shopping district, known as the Magnificent Mile. I did a lot of walking over the past three days. Cities like Chicago are great for stretching out the legs. I used mass transit as much as I could but had to grab the occasional cab. I had a few bus rides that were memorable for the wrong reasons (traffic), but enjoyed the trains. I made good use of my $12 Chicago Transit Authority train/bus visitor pass.
I went running twice in the mornings. Once, I ran north and then east along the Chicago River to Navy Pier. Another time, I ran south, through the string of parks that eventually go past Soldier Field and McCormick Place, on the way to South Chicago. I saw a lot of fellow runners and cyclists too.
It was fun to attend IMTS and cool to visit Chicago again. I spent five years living in Boston from 1990-1995, and miss my city days. Visiting Chicago and feeling the urban vibe brought back some good memories.