In late October, Luke’s Mom asked if we’d be interested in going to Chicago with her to see a Gary Clark Jr. concert. Luke, also being a fan of the bluesy singer/guitarist, was all for making the four hour drive to the big city, which was surprising due to the hustle and bustle of Chicago ranking high as one of his least favorite things. After booking the tickets and scheduling the date in my calendar it dawned on us that the concert was going to take place over St. Patrick’s Day weekend, a major celebration in the Windy City. We stayed at the beautiful St. Jane Hotel, however getting to our destination proved a struggle to stay the least. We started out early Saturday morning, and arrived into town around 1PM. Alas, we hadn’t realized there was a St. Patrick’s Day parade taking place downtown at noon. As we were a mere block away from St. Janes the parade ended, resulting in thousands and thousands of spectators being released upon the city, clogging intersections and making navigating difficult to say the least. Moral of the story, if you’re planning on driving into a massive city on a holiday weekend, make sure that your approximate eta does not coincide with the ending of a parade.
St. Jane Hotel
Although none of us had personally been in Chicago for the popular holiday, we’d seen many photos splashed across social media of the iconic green river that has been a city tradition over half a century. I’d always assumed the river images were enhanced to give the green its bright fluorescent color, however I was shocked to find the hue to be true to the aforementioned pictures, as can be seen below. From our hotel room we had a beautiful view of the river and the thousands of people who were crossing the DuSable Bridge. As we had several hours to pass before the start of our concert we ventured down to join the masses in hitting a few of Chicago’s go to tourist attractions.
Cloud Gate (The Bean) at Millennium Park
We made another rookie mistake of not securing dinner reservations prior to our trip. After seeing our minimal available options, Luke had the genius idea of calling in a take out order at Giordano’s Pizza. The wait time was an hour and a half, but it was perfect to fit in some shopping and other errands before the concert. After the time had elapsed, we took our pizza back to the hotel to finish getting ready for the night’s main event. Gary Clark Jr was playing at the Chicago Theatre, which was another first for all of us. The inside of the theatre was highly ornate. Every time I looked around, I would spot some new detail I’d initially overlooked. The concert itself was fantastic, with Clark barely chatting with the crowd, instead letting his music speak for itself. He played for two and a half hours, with one of the longest encores I’ve every heard. He ended up bringing out some Chicago blues musicians and they just jammed out, thoroughly enjoying themselves.
The next morning, after a delicious breakfast at Fisk & Co we adventured around the Miracle Mile, popping in a few stores here and there, even making it to my favorite, Topshop. While it was a short weekend, we had a great time (excluding our drive in) exploring and seeing famous sights such as the dyed river. That being said, I won’t be disappointed if my next trip to Chicago doesn’t fall on a holiday weekend.