Chicago is one of the best cities to see without a car! And boy, did I see a lot. I won’t bore you with all my trip photos in this post. Here’s a link to my Chicago vacation photos on Flickr, for those who are interested. I’ll just give you a glimpse of the car-free fun I had. Click on any photo to see the larger version.
My feet are my favorite mode of transit. Sunday evening, after I checked into the hostel, they took me around the neighborhood and over to Buckingham Fountain to see some wonderous sights in the dark:
Monday morning, I met up with a Fake Plastic Fish reader: the one and only Clif Brown, he of the awesome, thought-provoking comments. Clif lives nearby and made an excellent tour guide for our hours-long walk…
and along Lake Michigan…
where we had zero-waste ice cream cones and chatted with a few ducks. How fortunate I am to be able to spend a simple day on foot enjoying gorgeous architecture, a big sky, and great conversations with a new/old friend.
Monday evening, I hooked up with a group from the hostel who were going to a neighborhood bar to listen to music. Did we take a cab or tour bus? No way, man! Only public transit for us!
The music was not great, but I didn’t care. It was all about the people: an English teacher from Germany, a blogger from North Carolina (?), a woman from Australia who is as passionate about the environment as I and who told me I was the first person she’d met in America who cared about waste and who also carried her own utensils and cup. As it turned out, we also share a favorite band (The Cat Empire). I wish I had felt grounded enough to make these kinds of connections with strangers at Blogher.
Tuesday morning, I arose early for a bicycle tour with Bobby’s Bike Hike. Chicago is flat and eminently bikeable. What a fun way to see more of the city!
There’s that big blue sky again.
I spent the rest of the day on Tuesday walking around the city by myself and braving the
I got through this part without fainting, so I think I win. (Yes, it’s a real tattoo on my foot, in case you were going to ask.)
Wednesday morning came too soon. I could have stayed many more days. I’d have loved to have toured the Museum of Science and Industry’s Smart Home. And too bad I didn’t have time to drop in and say hi to my friend Oprah. But there’s just not enough time to do everything, is there?
I rode back to Midway Airport the same way I had arrived, on the Orange Line “L” Train.
Do all of these measures (walking, biking, taking public transit, reducing my waste) make up for the massive amount of emissions from flying to and from Chicago in the first place? No, of course not. I did carbon offset my flight miles. But why add emissions from driving cars to my carbon footprint when it’s so enjoyable to go slow and enjoy the view and fresh air from outside a motor car?