Gist and I just spent a very busy and very fun week in Chicago, IL and Lake Delavan, WI. My family is from Chicago, my father grew up on the South Side, and I was born there and lived there until I was four years old. My father is one of ten children and all but two of them call the Chicago area home for at least part of the year. All five of my Gries siblings plus my nephews and niece were in the area for at least part of the week, and we were all at the annual family Independence Day Party in Lake Delavan. Needless to say, it was a great time!
Thanks to my brother, Bob, who runs a pretty tight ship, we were able to see most of Chicago’s fabulous museums and attractions.
Before our trip, we purchased a City Pass. I can’t recommend it enough, we saved a ton of money at each of the attractions we visited.
Transportation is amazing in Chicago. We were able to get everywhere we needed to go using the L trains, buses, our feet, and bicycles. Gist and I were even able to take a Metra train almost all the way to Lake Delavan.
One of the things that most impressed me about Chicago was how livable it is. It’s clean, easy to get around, and affordable; the people are friendly and helpful (we joked about the “pleasant and attitude-free hipsters” while we were there;) there are a ton of free cultural events and festivals; and the parks and green space are amazing – especially Lake Michigan and the Lakefront Trail. One of my brothers and his family were able to have an awesome beach day right in the city, another was able to spend a morning kayaking, and Gist and I were able to bike downtown along the lake.
Speaking of biking… I was absolutely amazed by the number of people I saw riding bikes for transportation. Just about every street we were on had bike lanes and there were bike racks everywhere. Most of the touristy spots had creative racks, like this row of penny farthings:
After six fun-filled days in the city, we headed up to Lake Delavan, WI for a bit of relaxation Gries-style (translation, not going from 6:00 am to midnight but still pretty busy!)
We topped the visit off with the family Independence Day Party and a Paper Airplane Contest organized by my nephew, Lou.
It was a great trip! If you’re interested, there are a whole bunch of pictures on Flickr.