Chicago just has way too much to do

September 25, 2009


Current location: Chicago, Illinois

I noted during several of my blog posts that I was considering moving to Chicago. Well, here I am, in Uptown, just blocks from Wrigley Field.


Chicago is pretty freaking amazing. I moved here at the beginning of September and I’ve been blown away by how much there is to do at night. Chicago has to be the world’s festival capital. During the summer, there are often multiple free festivals happening around the city on the same weekend!

My first weekend here, I went to the Jazz Fest (free). The next weekend, it was the Celtic Fest (free). Next weekend, there’s a country music festival with Miranda Lambert (free). It just never ends!


Here’s what I did on a recent Tuesday. Stopped off at a Carbon Day festival (which provided information on living in an environmentally-friendly manner), then headed to the Adler Planetarium (which had exhibits on space travel and the solar system), then stopped by the beach on Lake Michigan and spent a couple hours there on a glorious, 85-degree September day. All of it was free! How many cities have this much to do, for free, on a Tuesday? And I didn’t even pay for transportation because I biked everywhere – Chicago is one the most bike-friendly cities I’ve found.


I moved to Chicago because I wanted a place that had more to do than Pittsburgh, and I got my wish. The one downside is that, while Chicago has a ton of great concerts, they are a lot more expensive than the ones in Pittsburgh. Perhaps I’ll have to leverage my music blog to try to get in free to some of these. In the meantime, I can’t justify paying $75 for Kylie Minogue, $40 for Ani DiFranco, or $25 for Andrew WK.

The Chicago couchsurfing group holds weekly meetings and I’ve attended a few and started to meet people. I also joined the Chicago Sport & Social league. I’m playing on a touch football team. So far, I have two touchdown catches in two games. Just call me T.O.!

Day 99: Flaming Lips party at Pitchfork!

July 20, 2009


DAY 99: Chicago, Illinois
Miles traveled: 13,640
States visited: 33
Weather: 70, cloudy & sprinkles

This weekend I hit up the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago’s Union Park.

My favorite band on Saturday was The Duchess & The Duke, a duo that combines folk sensibility with an indie rock sound. Their soothing harmonies were gorgeous. This was the first time I’d heard any of their music – the opportunity to discover new bands is one reason I love music festivals!


One of my favorite bands was there – Matt & Kim. They’re a ridiculously cheerful pop duo from Brooklyn, and they were as fun as usual. Because they’re so active and energetic, the photos I take of them usually come out like this:


On Sunday, Grizzly Bear played their old-timey pop music, and afterwards I got a setlist from one of the roadies. This is only the second setlist I’ve ever gotten. More fodder for the walls of my music room of my future house… if I should I ever buy one, that is.


The headlining act was the Flaming Lips, who are famous for their legendary, wild shows. I’ve been wanting to see them forever so this was a treat. I managed to get down front near the left side of the stage, so I was able to get pictures of Wayne Coyne walking over the audience in the giant ball, a trademark of Lips shows.


They also shot off confetti and giant balloons. It was such a sensory overload to have all this stuff flying through the air while the Lips played their best songs. What an amazing show – the best I’ve seen this year so far.


I ended up spending 5 days in Chicago. My couchsurfing hosts Kim & Jeremy were very fun and accommodating. There were 5 other couchsurfers also staying there so it was a good opportunity to share travel stories and socialize with folks. And they lived in Pilsen so I got a great chance to experience the neighborhood.

I look forward to returning to Chicago soon, which could be as early as mid-August to look for apartments.