Coming from the narrow, crowded, dirty streets of New York and London, Chicago was a pleasant surprise. There was actually green spots generously located all over. Flowers, trees, grass. A most welcome change.
But it wasnít just the change in scenery that made Chicago a wonderful place to walk around. The temperature was also adjusted to make it bearable to walk around for hours without being soaked in sweat. A good thing indeed, when you donít care for the commute by subway or bus in sunshine.
The environmental change brought along with it a change in mentality as well. In New York and London, I had been packing my schedule with around three items of art, comedy, entertainment, and sight-seeing every single day. It was time to slow down.
Hanging out with Jason (my employer on Singlefile and coconspirator on a long range of upcoming projects) was the perfect excuse for doing just that. Taking his amazing black turbo Audi for spins around the city, dining thai, middle eastern, mexican, and hanging out in the 37signals office kept us busy in the nice relaxed way that doesnít give you stress from rushing from one visual experience to another.
Visual experiences still present
I didnít totally shun the visual experiences, though. Most noteworthy was the Earth From Above exhibit that had seven years worth of photographic travels Yann Arthus-Bertrand on display and the Chicago Institute of Arts. The former was in Copenhagen about a year ago, but very rewatchable. The latter was slightly overwhelming in the depth of their many exhibitions, but equally impressive. They even had the original Picasso ďThe Old Guitarist" that I have hanging on my wall as copy back home.
Another amazing feature of Chicago was the architecture. The city burned to the ground in the 1871, which prompted a complete rebuild of the city according to the leading architects of the time. And it shows. Walking around downtime is an experience filled with leaning back my head and awing at the tall results of inspired architecture. Unfortunately, I didnít make it onto any of the guided tours (Jason was telling me about this 3-hour boat tour that should be really great), so I had to rely solely on my own random walkabouts to see it all.
All in all, Chicago appeared to be one of the most liveable cities of all the ones Iíve been to in the States. Should I ever think about moving over here, Iíd certainly have Chicago at the top of my list for destinations.