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Get Ready to Lose It Once Again, San Francisco - Snow MIGHT Be On the Way

SF-206_33ClementSnowB_0232.jpgIf there's one thing you can count on nowadays, it's the fact that the weather of your youth no longer exists. Like shaking a soda bottle and popping the cap, weather nowadays no longer follows the patterns we've been used to. Let's just look at the weather of the past year or so:

- We had a super foggy and cold summer, far chillier than in the past. We had no warm weather from March-September.

- We just had a summer-like heat wave in January/February

- Now we're going to have record low temperatures and the slight possibility of....snow in SF! (We already have snow up in the mountains around the bay.

That's the weather part. Now here's what will happen in San Francisco, based on past weather incidents:

- First, when the snow hits, people will light up Twitter like a Christmas tree. Plan on seeing a lot of twitpics of snow in (insert neighborhood here) with "ZOMG TEH SNOWS!" tweets.

- Next, Something Will Go Horribly Wrong (most likely Muni) because in San Francisco if we deviate even a little from our Usual Weather, people again lose it and either a Muni bus will crash, a car or cars will crash, or something, because in SF, we can't handle any weather changes.

- The news media will regale us with endless pictures and video, because hey, who gives a f*ck about the Middle East or a quake in New Zealand when we can endlessly take pictures of TEH SNOW!

- If the cold lasts more than a few days, then we get a torrent of "I MISS TEH SUNZ! SNOW BAD" tweets.

- Also: all those east coast people we razzed endlessly get to repay the favor.

I'm not saying this is a bad thing, but it is what will happen. As for myself, I figure we'll just get some hail and cold rain...snow at sea level seems unlikely, aside from powder that melts on contact. But you can be sure I'll be taking photos!

PS: Next month I'm going to be taking a cross country train trip from DC to SF (well, Richmond, actually). Whenever I can get Internet access, I'll be posting about my train ride. One thing I could use is some advice about Chicago.

I have basically a day (8am-4pm) layover while I wait for my hotel room on rails, and could use some advice about what to do during that time, since I've never been to Chicago before. Any suggestions would be great. Thanks!

Comments

Chicago is an amazing city! If you like art, check out the Art Institute. Take the architecture tour (not sure if the one on the boat will be running when you're there). Ride the L....... you don't have to go to/from Ohare, but it leaves from INSIDE the terminal! Eat......so many good restaurants! Enjoy.

I had a wait like that once in Chicago. I decided to go up to the Sears Tower (or Willis Tower, as it has been renamed) observation deck. The tower is very close to the train station so it was quite convenient.

It was a beautiful clear day, and you could see all around, and it was the most boring thing possible, because from the air Chicago is an intensely, utterly boring city -- miles of blah on the land and undifferentiated water on the lake.

This is not to denigrate the city itself -- it has beautiful and interesting architecture and wonderful museums. I was there in June -- the South Side beaches are lovely and the Millennium Park is a wonderful urban oasis. A river cruise is a fun way to see the city.

But stay away from the tower.

I second the Architecture tour - the boat only goes during summer, but the rest of the time it is a walking tour. Highly recommend.

Chicago in March can be very difficult to plan for. Make plans assuming both that you can spend the entire day outside as well as that you will want to stay indoors due to downpour, ice, or blizzard conditions.

Since it sounds like you're in a sleeper, you'll be able to use the 1st-class lounge at the station in Chicago. They'll store your bags for you. The station is right downtown, so you'll be able to use most of that layover day actually seeing sights.

As for what to do, I'll leave that to other commenters -- I've only been through Chicago a few times (twice in the middle of cross-country Amtrak trips). I can make one suggestion: Chicago has some seriously good signature food. Get a deep-dish pizza or italian beef sandwich for lunch.

I took the train from Emeryville to Providence a few years ago and had a 5-hour layover in Chicago.

Since this was my first real trip to Chicago (changing planes at O'Hare doesn't count) I wanted to do some exploring, but after three days on the California Zephyr I had gotten SEA LEGS! I was too dizzy to do anything but relax in the first-class lounge.

Your mileage may vary, of course.

wow, thanks for all the advice! I think the key issue for me is what the weather will be like - a friend is out there now and it is rather snowy (real snow not sf snow) and cold so that will affect what I can do. But I always like a good museum that's for sure!

@cindy: sounds like you were doing the opposite of my trip! I am taking an overnight trip from DC and just getting a reserved seat, and saving the stateroom for the trip from Chicago-SF.

@rick: I'd be happy with just getting lunch somewhere like you suggest, and perhaps smuggling some Old Style beers back on the train :-)

When I am in Chicago, I try to get a deep dish pizza at Giordano's. Most tourists go for Gino's East, but I prefer this chain. There is one on W Jackson that is not too far from the train station.

I wouldn't be able to resist a walk if it's not too cold, and maybe a trip to the Art Institute.

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