Chicago & Lollapalooza 2010

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Ah, Chicago. It was good to be back. First things first, a bike tour! So you could always tell which bike was yours, they were all named (guys bikes get girl names, and vice versa). Mine was Veronica.
Beautiful day for a bike ride. We took to the streets, and when you ride in a pack of 30 or so bikes, you get the joy of stopping traffic. First quick stop was the Museum of Contemporary Art.
Then it was off to Lincoln Park for a bit. Then to this massive church in the Gold Coast area. It was *big*. And had been completely rebuilt after the Great Chicago Fire. Pretty impressive insides, it drew from German stylings.
Taking a break in Lincoln Park, looking back at the city. The entirety of our group. Fun group to be with. Then we continued on to the coast along Lake Michigan.
They had MASSIVE beaches here. This was the main beach area, which had to have 40+ volleyball nets set up. Wavy-building. After the tour, I headed to Millenium Park, which was much quieter than it would be in 24 hours...
Went and had some awesome sushi. This became a theme. The first place I found was actually all you can eat sushi. It was *excellent* sushi, especially for an AYCE. Interesting dessert. Enjoying Chicago at night.
Next day, off for a food tour in Wicker Park / Bucktown! Run by the same company that I did the excellent food tour with back in 2008, this was a different area, with entirely different foods. First stop was a traditional Chicago-style hot dog place. The toppings are: tomatoes, pickle, sport peppers, relish, onions, mustard, celery salt. Now, those that know me, know that I find just about all of those toppings disgusting. And yet, I rather enjoyed this hot dog. I must have been hungry. Next stop on the tour was a fancy cafe called 'Hot Chocolate'. This place had some really neat things to buy. We got their traditional, fresh made chocolate milk, and a home made marshmellow. I'm not normally a huge fan of chocolate milk (yes, I'm strange), but this was *amazingly good*. My favourite stop of the tour (and the rest were all very good too!).
Next was a grocer for some pasta salad. Pretty good, but my highlight was... The discovery of bacon-chocolate bars. I knew of their existance, but hadn't realized they were native to Chicago. Naturally, I was overjoyed to find them. And yes, I returned, sampled, and bought. At the corners of Bucktown and Wicker park, though they sort of blend together. This area isn't far from the downtown, but certainly isn't a 'touristy' area. If leaving the Loop/Michigan Ave area, I imagine most go to the Gold Coast or Lincoln park area, so it was really neat seeing a quieter part of Chicago. Lots of neat history, shops and areas here.
Chicago thin crust pizza and some beer samples. This is a speakeasy, from the days of prohibition. Hiding a restaurant is kind of a neat idea, and if the tour hadn't pointed it out I certainly wouldn't have known you could eat/drink there. This one, still in business and called the Violet Hour, is only open certain hours and you can only tell when it's open by a little light that goes on above the door. Apparently very nice inside. It was closed at this time. Next stop was a middle eastern place for a falafel. Again, this. was. excellent. I wanted so much more. Even the 1/2 pita was very filling, so dense. And tasty. Mmmmmm.
The final stop, for ice cream. Normally, ice cream isn't anything too special, but this one was. As it was made to order ice cream. You could have one of something like 200,000 different combinations from all the flavours they have. They use liquid nitrogen to rapidly cool and harden their ingredients into ice cream. This was a nutella, white chocolate and cream soda (yes, cream soda?!), combination. It was really, really good. Again, a great tour, I really enjoyed it. Lots of great food and local info, in an area most likely wouldn't see. Stomach full, it was off to start 3 days of Lollapalooza! First stop was one of my favourite stages from 2008 (as it has good shade), the BMI stage, for My Dear Disco. I really liked them.
Then over to one of the new stages for Cymbals eat Guitars. They were okay. 3rd was the New Pornographers, again only okay. And then, Semi-Precious Weapons. They were...odd. I was pretty much ready to leave when I spotted Lady Gaga hanging around backstage (and you can see her here). I decided to stay out of curiousity.
And then she went and dove into the crowd a few times. The entire set sure was different. I think I explored the park a bit at that point, then came back and enjoyed Neon Trees, who were good. Then it was off for some dinner. I think I have an addiction.
Found dessert in Lolla though. These things were awesome. I had 3 people ask me where I got this thing (there was only one spot in the entire park). So worth the walk. As Lady Gaga started earlier than The Strokes, I decided to check her act out and see what all the fuss was about. The crowd was massive, but as you can tell, I didn't stick around long. Still don't know what the big deal was about. Wasn't too impressed, her music wasn't the issue for me, it was her insane, inane banter. Seriously, it was nuts.
After hearing Gaga go on about how she was bringing Rock and Roll back, random explitives, and things about her little monsters, blah blah blah blah blah, The Strokes were a breath of very refreshing air. THIS was Rock and Roll, not Lady Gaga. They played a short set for a headliner (barely an hour), but it was damned good music. Next day, ran across a giant eyeball.
Then it was off to the Field Museum. The museum's most famous exhibit, Sue the T-Rex. The most complete fossil of the T-Rex in the world, it was pretty impressive. Lots of bones and fossils.
One of the best dinosaur collections in the world. Looking down the main hall. Their egypt section was also pretty impressive.
Then, it was back to Lollapalooza for Day #2. This was Blue Traveler finishing off their set...they also did a cover of 'Creep', which was strange sounding. Against Me, who was very good. And then Gogol Bordello, who were awesome. One of my highlights for the day.
I briefly caught AFI, but headed out after maybe 10 minutes to get a decent spot for... Metric! They were awesome, my favourite non-headliner of the festival. Lots of energy and a huge crowd (much bigger than I was expecting). And Canadian to boot!
After that entertaining set, I left the park once again to find dinner. This was in the nearby Grant Park, where people were relaxing and cooling off from the heat. After dinner, I returned early for a big set. This was just the warmup act... For Green Day!
One of my favourite concerts I've ever been to. Just so much fun.
'Since Lady Gaga went through so many costume changes, we figured we would follow suit'. 2 and a half hours of great entertainment. I was VERY impressed. 3rd and final day, I had a quiet morning (as it was raining), and then got to the park to enjoy the end of Switchfoot's set.
This became the theme of the day, but I hadn't heard The Cribs before today, but really enjoyed them and stuck around for their whole set. The same could be said of Minus the Bear, who put on one of the better sets I heard over the weekend. Now, these guys I knew. Mutemath! Have to respect a guy wielding a keytar.
Don't even know what this was. They are really fun live. They pretty much dismanted the drum set to play it in the crowd, along with beating on anything that would make noise. MGMT. Wasn't a big fan, so I left to find food.
This looks familiar. Came back in time to experience 'Kids' live with MGMT, then saw the second half of the Temper Trap, who were great. Then it was time for some Soundgarden. Cornell was looking pretty old.
I liked their simple lighting and effects, but overall felt kind of bored. So I switched to Arcade Fire and enjoyed them a lot more. Big group of musicians, and again, Canadian!
Great end to the festival! No trip to Chicago is complete without seeing the Bean. For my final day, I simply rented a bike and rode north along the lakefront trail.
The trail is good and long (18miles or so total). I got pretty far north, about 9 miles or so north of the Loop area and downtown Chicago. Right to end of the trail actually. The other 9 miles of trail is south of the downtown, I didn't have enough time to explore that side unfortunately. Something to do another time... Coming back, I instead took a different route and went through Lincoln Park again.
Stopped by briefly at the Lincoln Park Zoo, which is free. Said hello to the sleeping Rhino. Then saw the Summer of George. I miss Seinfeld. Enjoying a final lunch, outside, on what turned out to be a great day to be out and about (it was supposed to pour rain all day). Again, fantastic trip to Chicago!
Photos 1 - 84 out of 84 | Back to Albums
Description: 5 days in Chicago for exploring the city and enjoying some great music. Chicago is definitely one of my favourite cities.
Location: Chicago

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