I had the pleasure of visiting Chicago for an extended weekend. Chicago is an incredible city. I always become depressed upon returning to Metro Detroit.

At one point Detroit was called “Paris of the West” for its architecture. Apparently, at some point in time, Detroit had one of, if not the largest number of pre 20s or 30s skyscrapers. I say at one point, because apparently we knocked to many down to still retain this distinction. Even though Detroit was called “Paris of the West”, Chicago surpassed Detroit in terms of population back in 1850. As of the 2000 census Chicago had more than three times as many people as Detroit. Not that population is a measure of how good a city is. I’ve lived in Portland, Oregon, and Madison, Wisconsin. Both have a lot more going for them than Detroit does.

My time in Chicago was mostly spent working about a mile and a half from the hotel. Although I did get around to check out my favorite places. Without a car it was no problem to go to the waterfront, hundreds (maybe thousands) of restaurant, MOMA, the Merchandise Mart, stores, and coffee shops. In fact all of this was done on foot. The only time motorized transportation was used was to get to and from the airport, which could be done by taxi, bus, or the “L”.

On Saturday night we watched the free fireworks show from our hotel. Wednesday and Saturday nights during the summer, Navy Pier hosts a pretty decent fireworks show. The Chicago Blues Festival was taking place a short walk away at Grant Park. 800,000 showed up for the festival.

The lake shore path was packed with runners, roller-bladers, and cyclists of all ages and abilities. The water was filled with sail boats, power boats, and cruise boats. Swimmers were in the lake, the beaches were filled with people having picnics, playing volley ball, Frisbee, and of course laying out.

The sidewalks were filled with people walking to jobs, restaurants, bars, and coffee shops, while cyclists were riding everywhere. Bicycle couriers were making their rounds. Restaurants all over the place have outdoor seating.

Is it any wonder that one might come home to Detroit a little depressed?

On a good note, Justin Verlander pitched a no hitter for the Tigers. Not that that makes up for any of the other stuff I just mentioned that Detroit lacks. I just had to come up with something.

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