Wednesday, July 18, 2007

advice to chicago tourists

If there is any place I hate most in Chicago, it's Navy Pier. For someone who really cannot stand the tourists in her city, this is the place she should stay away from. And, generally, I don't come here. In fact, tonight was only the 2nd time I'd been here in 3 years. I keep my distance.

If you've ever visited Chicago, especially for the first time, you may have been enticed to visit Navy Pier. Maybe you actually went to Navy Pier: rode the Ferris wheel, took a boat tour, ate some ice cream, and hopefully didn't buy any souvenirs (or souvies as I saw on one sign). If you are planning a trip to the Windy City any time soon, PLEASE don't go there. PLEASE. It's the smartest decision you'll ever make. Instead, travel on the El and visit some of the cool neighborhoods that are slightly off the beaten path. Or even walk around Michigan Avenue and go to the top of the Sears Tower. Just don't go to Navy Pier.

So...why was I there tonight?

My sorority alumni group (of which I am a board member and active dues payer - you can make fun of me starting now) had its July event at the Navy Pier beer garden. The beer garden really isn't so bad although it's not what I was expecting. It's picnic tables surrounding a stage where bands play nightly. There is food and there is beer (duh), but you have to go to a little stand and order it. I expected cute patio tables with umbrellas and wait staff serving drinks. Oh well. Unfortunately for our little group, it rained off and on today, especially as it got later in the evening and closer to the time of our event. No one showed up. Just my roommate (the president of our group) and I. So we left the beer garden as we felt the first signs of drizzle and headed inside to walk toward the front of Navy Pier (this thing is like a mile long, I swear) and find a cab. By the time we got to the front it was POURING and everyone was looking for a cab. So we decided to get some drinks and wait out the storm. But the bar choices at Navy Pier are poor (I think 75% of them sell t-shirts). So we found a place with shitty service, left, and found another place to drink a beer and hope that people would leave so we could get a cab.

In all of this finding of a bar, we probably walked around that damn pier 4 times. And it was hot. And we, like Clink, had to maneuver around heavyset Midwesterners who were more interested in leather goods and Haagen-Dazs to watch where they were going. And it was hot (all the large windows were closed due to the storm). Yuck.

So I repeat....if you are in Chicago, don't go to Navy Pier.


Clink said...

I did go to Navy Pier when I was in Chicago and the whole thing (kind of like Vegas!) felt so UNNATURAL. Chicago is such a great town and then you have that huge red, white and blue abberation sprung up like a patriotic arm of Disneyland. It was weird. We left about as quickly as we arrived.

molly said...

Last time I visited we were told specifically NOT to go. So we didn't. I'm glad we listened!