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Trip Report Bayless, Bobby and Bono: A Chicago Trip Report

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First off, thanks so much to everyone who gave input and suggestions to help plan this trip. It was a great weekend! There are so many questions about Chicago on the boards that I hope I can give some helpful ideas through telling what we did.

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So there's this band from Dublin that some of you may have heard of. Fronted by some guy named Bono. I like them all right. So when U2 announced a North American tour, my friend M and I checked all the official announcements, and rumors of announcements, and rumors of rumors, and narrowed it down to Chicago or Atlanta. Atlanta makes the most sense for us geographically, coming from Nashville, plus we could have stayed with my aunt for free... but we both really abhor driving in Atlanta and, well, Atlanta is not my favorite city, we'll say. (No offense meant, Atlantans; your city and are just meant to be passing acquaintances rather than lifelong friends.) And since Nashville is a Southwest hub, we can usually fly to Chicago for cheap (our tickets were $98 plus tax, round trip). So... Chicago it was. Our plans were thwarted when the first Chicago show sold out in approximately eight seconds. Grrr, presales and resalers. But then - what? A second show? Yes please! Tickets purchased in April, we promptly booked our flights and proceeded to do nothing else except be excited. We occasionally looked at Hotwire prices, figuring they'd go down the closer we got to the trip. Except... they didn't. Turns out that not only was U2 playing two shows to about 140,000 or so that weekend, but the Cubs were in town, a half marathon was scheduled, and a 75,000-person printers' convention was happening. Not a great weekend to be looking for hotel deals. We ended up booking the Westin River North about three weeks before the trip for $235/night plus taxes, and we decided that was a great deal and we would be just fine. (Looking a week after, prices were MUCH better.) The hotel was really nice but not formal; all the staff was really friendly and helpful. The location was great once we figured out the best way to get there.

As much as I am normally a planner, I really didn't do much thinking on what I wanted to do until a few weeks ago. I think I was so stuck on not having a hotel that I couldn't get excited until we found one. But eventually we started researching and googling and developing a List. M figured out the wonders of Google Maps, and we collaborated on one which had potential restaurants, shopping, and activities (with special icons for special events!). Our Map of Potential is here, if you're interested in seeing how Google Maps can be helpful: http://bit.ly/wVDDD (takes a few seconds to load fully). When you print the map, it prints all the address/phone numbers and any notes you've included as well. Pretty snazzy. We didn't make it to everything on the list, but that just leaves us more for next time!

Pictures of our trip (except the concert) are here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jenthompson/sets/72157622289837663/
Pictures of the show, if you're interested: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jenthompson/sets/72157622258905597/

Continued...

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