24-Jun, Chicago

Our last full day in Chicago. The plan for the day was to start at the Art Institute of Chicago, have some lunch, then take it easy for the afternoon. In the evening, Melody would go to a concert in Millennium Park while I would go to the Dodgers/Cubs game.

We had been watching out for the weather on Wednesday for the past week, and it kept looking like it was going to rain, with possible thunderstorms. Not what we were looking forward to. However, when we got up, the rain looked like it was being pushed to later in the evening, so we were pretty confident that we would be able to work around what possible rain came.

Art Institute of Chicago

We were able to relax a bit in the room before heading out, but as the Art Institute of Chicago opened its doors at 10:30, we were there. Fortunately, our tickets let us pass the long line (although we didn't figure that out until we actually got inside the doors), so we were off.

Our original plan for the day before was to try to catch one of the tours, but because of the timing, instead of doing that, we were going to use their App. Unfortunately, it crashed on start on my phone, but it worked OK on Melody's, so we figured she could relate any pertinent information to me. As it ends up, there was no audio portion of the tour, so we selected the two hour tour and started our visit.

By following the tour directions, we seemed to be going to all the far reaches of the museum. Naturally, many of the most famous pieces were on the list, including American Gothic by Grant Wood (the frame was interesting to me; the bottom piece was different than the other three), Nighthawks by Edward Hopper, a huge Buddha, and America Windows by Marc Chagall.

Near the Chagall were some prototypes and models of pieces we had seen in other places, including a drawing by Picasso of an idea for the statue in Daley Plaza, the same statue scaled down in bronze, a model of The Forest by Dubuffet (we saw what looked to be a portion of this at the James R. Thompson Center), and other pieces I had glimpsed on the streets.

The tour took us through an installation of the work of Charles Ray. I recognized one of the pieces, Boy and Frog, from the front of The Getty. After a few more stops, we realized we were almost done with the tour, and it had only taken us an hour to go through it, even with all the running around.

We were definitely getting hungry, so we stopped by the museum café. After that, Melody mentioned she wanted to see the miniature rooms, so I went along with her. They're 1:12 scale, with lots of detail. I managed to get a few photos of things I found particularly interesting.

At this point we were ready for dessert, and the gelato place we had gone to the day before was only a block away, making it an easy choice. Afterward, we walked back towards the Art Institute so we could take a look at the sign designating the beginning of Route 66. We had been to the end point when we were in Santa Monica the last couple times, so I definitely sought out the beginning.

Once that was done, we went in different directions; Melody to relax a bit before her concert, and I decided I had enough time to swing by the Navy Pier.

Navy Pier

After short bus ride, I arrived at Navy Pier, and started to walk around. There is a lot of construction going on there, and as it ends up not only was the end blocked off, most of the other areas were also closed, other than stores or restaurants here and there. I did, however, manage to ride the ferris wheel, which had a great view. After I got off, I walked into some doors and was surprised to see a conservatory, the Crystal Gardens. I then went into the main shopping area, but it seemed that only after a few steps, I was back out at the beginning. Hopefully the construction will open up a lot more of the pier, although that would mean a lot of stores and other attractions would need to go in to fill up all the space.

Wrigley Field

I went back to the room to rest for a bit, then it was onto the bus to Wrigley Field where the Cubs and visiting Dodgers were playing. The bus was pretty quick but about a block before the stop I wanted, there were people milling all around not only the sidewalks but the streets, giving me a good indication that we were about there. I got off with all the other people going to the game, grabbed a ticket, and went inside. I first walked around the stadium to get my bearings, find where my (near-top far left field) seat was. While walking around, I noticed lots of Dodgers jerseys, but one in particular stood out to me; I told the wearer I liked his Valenzuela jersey.

Wrigley is an older stadium, and while they've changed it to modern times (yes, the game I saw used the lights), there are some things which still reflect the era during which it was built. Most of the concessions are on the main concourse, with a few carts here and there on the upper levels. In addition, there isn't a very wide variety of food; all but a few of the ones I saw had the same menu.

Instead of the main concourse going all around the stadium, the one at Wrigley ended with you either going outside or into an area which looked like a long hallway, which I ended up not going down.

Looking closely at the second deck of seats, it seemed to me that they were retrofitted. All the ramps that went up seemed to not be part of the original design, and the entrances to the private boxes were a series of catwalks. Given the age and history of Wrigley Field, that made sense to me.

I did watch a bit of the game from a few different places in the park, and while there were obstructions from almost every place I looked (which also seems to indicate the second deck was a retrofit), you could still see most of the field pretty well, unless the post happened to block one of the bases.

There seemed to be a rather large crowd at the game, especially for a Wednesday night. I'm not sure if the Dodgers would be a big draw, but that could have contributed to the number of fans there. I mentioned I saw lots of Dodger fans, and that was evident for each home run the Dodgers hit. I would hear huge cheers, then the inevitable calls to throw the ball back. When the Cubs hit a home run, however, the roars were definitely louder.

After a couple hours, I decided to head back, since I didn't want to return to the room too late (not to mention I wanted to get out before the crowd).