The last few days, I have had the pleasure of visiting the windy city of Chicago for a conference. It was a business trip, but my parents and my sister offered to come with me. Though majority of the time I was indoor learning various researches and findings on cardiovascular disease and presenting my own, I had the chance to explore parts of the city as well. Unfortunately, I visited the city during one of its record low temperature, making the outdoor exploration even more difficult. The five days I spent in Chicago, the highest temperature was on Saturday, with high temperatures in the low to mid 30s.
On day one, right after we checked into our hotel, we took a cab to Willis Tower, once the tallest building in the world for two decades. Visiting Willis Tower was the first in my list because it was for my grandfather. Growing up, I heard so much about this building and how I share the same last name and cultural background as the architect of the tallest building of the world, Dr. Fazrul Rahman Khan. The temperature was in the 20s and inside there were hundreds of people in line with a wait time of at least hour and a half. We had to go through security and long line to finally watch a video about history about the once called Sears Towers. F.R. Khan and Bruce Graham were inspired by cigarette sticks to come up with design of the building. The wait was all worth it, because the view of Skydeck was breathtaking and when I standing on the ledge, I felt that I was on the top of the world. Though I am scared of height, I had to stand at the ledge for my grandfather and it was all worth it. It’s was a feeling I will never forget.
On day two, after my presentation, I had most of free the time to explore the windy city and the temperature was gorgeous. It was in the low to mid 30s though windy as expected. Hence, we took a cab from the McCormick Convention Center to the Shop at North Bridge at 520 N Michigan Avenue. This is a upscale retail place with stores, such a A/X, Boss, Bose, Louis, Vuitton, MAC, Porsche Design, Tommy Bahama, Sephora, Nordstorm, White House Black Market, and Forever21. There are other stores in the neighborhood such as Gap, Coach, Guess, Macy’s and many more. After a little shopping, we walked through the “Magnificent Mile”. Along our walk we saw several Chicago landmarks such as the Wrigley Building, Water Tower, John Hancock Center, Tribune Tower, Trump International Hotel and Tower. As we walked down, we walked over to the Chicago River Walk, Crain Communication Building. Though, it was getting quite cold and windy, the view was breathtaking. I have to confess, I relied a lot on my maps app in my smartphone the entire time. We then went to the Millennium Park and the Agora in the south end of Grant Park. It has 106 armless, headless iron sculptures. The park also has the Buckingham Fountain in the park, one of the largest fountains in the world. Due to the brutal cold temperature, the next couple of days, and my busy conference schedule, before my flight back, we mostly spent indoors, enjoying the fine dining, such The Shor at the Hyatt Regency McCormick, and Phil Stefani’s 437 Rush at the 437 N 437 Rush St. However, a trip to Chicago is not complete until you try the famous Chicago Deep Dish Pizza. Nonetheless, we didn’t get a chance to visit the Navy Pier, or the Adler Planetarium, Shedd Aquarium. One thing for sure, the next time we visit Chicago, it has to be during the summer when I can enjoy from a walker’s perspective and really enjoy all the city has to offer.
Beside the windy city, I also loved taking aerial view photograph of Boston City from the airplane when we switched plane to head home. It really gives a new prospective. I got to see the entire city in one big picture called macro perspective. In my public health of Epidemiology background macro perspective let’s you see pattern and symbols. When I was looking at the night view of the city of Boston from the top, I knew that I have to go to the city one day and meet the city up close and personal.
However, walking through the windy city of Chicago we got a micro perspective of the city. We saw the busy but friendly people. We got to see the small detail, such the sparkles in the children’s faces and the friendliness of the people and how they offered to take our family picture when they saw how hard we were trying to fit our faces taking family selfies, or the restaurant maitre d’ offering suggestion as to how to take advantage of the wonderful city in few brutally cold hours.
Overall, the trip to the windy city has not only been informative for work but also been enjoyable as well for travelling purposes. Though brutally cold, I enjoyed walking through the streets, and McCormick Place and counting my walking steps with my ihealth step tracker. The brutal cold did not stop me from surpassing my 10,000 steps each day. My recommendation, don’t let something like brutal cold ruin your trip to a new place. It’s true that Chicago would not have been my ideal vacation place during winter but that did not stop me from enjoying my very first trip to the windy city.
Afterall, as Rachel Ann Nunes said “ Do what makes you happy, be with who makes you smile, laugh as much as you breathe, and love as long as you live”.