For one reason or another, I haven't taken a "leave-the-city-limits" vacation since November of 2006. That will change on Thursday when Don & I join our friends Rose & Tom on a three-night trip to Chicago. It's an Expedia-deal kind of trip; we're staying at a Holiday Inn Express on the "Magnificent Mile" and have no concrete plans except to attend a taping of the NPR show Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, something we did last time we were in Chicago (yes, Nov. 2006) and at which we had great fun (that sentence sound a tad tortured, but I guess it's correct).
We've always had a good time in Chicago (that's me pictured in the Giant Reflecting Egg in Millennium Park a few years ago), usually staying near the theater district and seeing plays: the most fun were the pre-Broadway tryouts of The Producers and Monty Python's Spamalot (with the original casts, he boasted pretentiously), but we also enjoyed seeing Wicked and Putnam County Spelling Bee. This time, nothing theaterical sounds particularly compelling: there's Xanadu which could be campy fun, and there's a "drawing-room" comedy called something like Don't Dress for Dinner which features Jeffrey Donovan, the sexy star of Burn Notice. We'll hit the Art Institute, and other musuems are a possiblity, though I don't think I need to go to the Field Museum again, with its slighly seedy and creepy taxidermied tableaux. Of course, being so close to the Mile, shopping will certainly be on the agenda, though I wonder if some of the Magnificence of the Mile will be tarnished with the economy the way it is.
We've never really left the "comfort zone" of the Mile/Loop area, and I don't know if I'm up for that this time either, but I am doing some restaurant research, hoping to have a grand eating experience or two. My favorite Chicago dinner so far was at Berghoff's, before it closed and re-opened as something that is not quite Berghoff's anymore. I imagine my better half will want some genuine Chicago pizza, and I bet Tom will want something trailblazingly exotic (yes, I jest). A trip to the library will most likely be on the agenda, and of course no trip to any city in the country would be complete without some bookstore visits, and some toruisty trinket to bring home and put on the fridge. I'll try to take some pics.