As you all know, last week I spent some time in Chicago at the National Charter Schools Conference. The conference was great, but from a personal perspective one of my challenges was to see if I could stomach returning to Chicago – a city where I didn’t have the best of experiences a few years back. Even thinking about how ridiculous that bad experience was pisses me off again!
However, last week my time in Chicago was great! I was absolutely stunned at how fun and active downtown Chicago was while I was there. I stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel, which was a first for me, and it was a pretty cool place. It didn’t have any major “rock and roll” stuff going on while I was there, but it is located in the old Carbon and Carbide building which has this amazing art deco vibe throughout. It was pretty cool.
On Sunday evening I walked a few blocks from the hotel down to Millennium Park. This park was really the only “sightseeing” that I wanted to do while I was at the conference because when I was in Chicago in 2004 my group kept driving by the park without actually stopping at it to see what was up. It’s really a nice place and there was a ton of activity for a Sunday night. On Monday, I had a separate conference to attend that was about a mile from my hotel so I walked downtown (over the North Michigan bridge) to get to the conference place and it was fun. It’s been a long time since I walked around a city on a consistent basis and I forgot how much I liked it.
Anyway, I was really pleased with my trip to Chicago and my opinion of the place has changed. The city is clean, vibrant, and has amazing architecture. I’d definitely go back again – and soon! Here are some pictures from my walking and driving around Chicago: