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Visiting Chicago

A few weeks back I was in Chicago for three days for work. I’ve been through the airport a couple times, never spent any time at all in the city. It was a good trip, and I think would be a great destination for the PASS Summit.

I flew into Midway Airport and it’s all that is good about smaller airports – clean, easy walk from A to B, and mass transit into downtown. I had the option of a $40 taxi ride or $2 on the ‘L’, the elevated train, so opted for the train as much to try it out as to save the $38. Can’t say the ride was exciting, but it took me to within a few blocks of my hotel in about 40 minutes.

Stayed at the Residence Inn Downtown River North, great hotel, great price – about $100 a night, and great location – tons of restaurants near by, close to the Trump Tower (huge), and the Chicago River.

For dinner I tried to hit local places that I wouldn’t see in Orlando. Wildfire was very nice, steak and ribs at medium to high prices, great atmosphere, was really crowded. Next was Harry Carey’s Italian Steakhouse. Expensive, good steak, but not super well lit inside, making it hard to enjoy the book I brought with me. Finally, I tried Rosebud Trattoria after not waiting to wait half an hour for a seat at Pizzeria Uno (#1), having a great burger ($10 at dinner, but $5 at lunch for a 12 oz burger). The only breakfast place I tried was Lou Mitchells, good food, though what they call an omelet is more scrambled eggs with the fillings mixed in – and bring cash, no credit cards!

Want to try some real Chicago food? Try http://www.tastesofchicago.com/.

Probably 40 restaurants within a 10 minute walk of the Residence Inn, and plenty of other hotels in that area too. Plus there is the Magnificent Mile, lots of walking and shopping, though not as much fun when it’s cold.

On the way downown I went by the Willis (Sears!) Tower a couple times, definitely an impressive building, didn’t get to see much else around there.

Strange things I saw:

  • Restrooms are “toilets” in Chicago
  • Tons of revolving doors. We don’t have them in Florida and I wonder why? Are they more energy efficient or not?
  • 180 ear warmers seem popular, kinda like earmuffs that go around the back of the head instead of over the top. Keeps your hair neat?

I’d like to go back in warm weather and spend a day or two, lots of interesting places to visit if you’re not working.


I'm Andy Warren, currently a SQL Server trainer with End to End Training. Over the past few years I've been a developer, DBA, and IT Director. I was one of the original founders of SQLServerCentral.com and helped grow that community from zero to about 300k members before deciding to move on to other ventures.


Posted by Anonymous on 16 April 2010

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Posted by Steve Jones on 16 April 2010

I want to hit SQL Saturday Chicago next year. Might see if I can try something on your list.

Posted by Anonymous on 17 April 2010

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Posted by Anonymous on 17 April 2010

Pingback from  Visiting Chicago – SQL Server Central | Salvage Cars | Automotive Review | Salvage Cars

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