By Mehdy Ghannad
Finally we woke to some sunshine after the rain. The streets were relatively empty as it was the Saturday before Easter. Most of the Chicagoans head to the suburbs to spend Easter with family, but still the stores were open and there were some people out and about. We decided that taking a boat tour on the Chicago River would be the best way to enjoy the beautiful weather. The tour is specifically designed to explain the local architecture of Chicago, especially after the re-birth of Chicago after the fire of 1871. After spending a couple days walking around the city the tour on the water gave us a nice new perspective of our new destination. The Shoreline River Cruise took as past almost all the major Chicago landmarks from the neo-gothic looking Tribune Tower to of course the once worlds tallest building, The Willis Tower.
After seeing the city from the water, we decided it was about time to climb up the Willis Tower for an aerial view of the city . We took the long elevator ride up to the top with our ears popping all the way up. Unlike last time we were greeted by a clear sky and the outrageous view of Chicago and beyond. Mehdy felt a bit queasy looking straight down some 1353 feet (412 m) but it was well worth the temporary nausea to see that view.
We walked around a bit more and scoped out some more of the amazing sites of Chicago like the Navy Pier and the replica of the very first Ferris Wheel ever created from the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, which was hosted in Chicago. We then headed to Grant Park where President Obama gave his acceptance speech back in 2008. It was an awesome feeling to say the least. That is if you aren’t a republican of course.
We headed to the Chicago Dog House which is only about a 10 min walk from the Getaway Hostel to try our very first Chicago style hot dog. This fairly new hot dog joint is not your typical Chicago style hot dog place. We scoped out the menu to find hot dogs and sausages made from alligator, pheasant, rabbit and kangaroo just to mention a few. If you are a vegan, don’t worry you are covered as well, they do have a tofu dog. I ate 2 dogs, one traditional Chicago style and one alligator just to be a bit daring. We quickly learned that it is almost sacrilegious to put ketchup on a Chicago style hot dog. And by sacrilegious I mean you will be yelled at. To compliment your hot dogs I advise getting a side of the Chicago Dog House Frips! It’s not quite a potato chip and it’s not quite a French fry and a power drill is used to make it.
After chowing down we decided to rent bikes from the hostel and head to Wrigley Ville, the area by Wrigley Field. We really wanted to understand what being a Cub fan was all about. We cruised on the bikes for 15 minutes before being welcomed by a sea of blue, as the Cubs just finished playing the Dodgers and the streets and surrounding bars were packed. Cub fans are like a cult and it was interesting to hear how the city is split between their two baseball teams. On the South Side there is the Chicago White Sox and on the North Side there are the Cubs. There is a real tense rivalry between these two teams’ fans even though the teams are in different leagues and rarely play each other. We spoke with fans the best we could, but most of them were tipsy! We think Cub games are used more for a reason to party than to actually cheer for the team. But we started to understand what the Cubs mean to the city and we were very excited to check out a game.