Chicago – continued

After our return home to Colorado, a neighbor asked me for recommendations and information on a visit to Chicago.  Her husband had an upcoming business conference in downtown Chicago and she was planning on accompanying him.

I was able to quickly compile a list for her to consider.  However, keep in mind a city as large and diverse as Chicago has immense entertainment possibilities.  Here’s a “short” list of things to consider…….

  • English: John Hancock Tower as seen from Willi...
    English: John Hancock Tower as seen from Willis Tower in Chicago, IL, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    John Hancock Building Observatory and/or the Willis Tower……  For a bird’s-eye view of the city, a visit to one of these is a must.  My favorite is the John Hancock Bldg and my dad’s is the Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower).  The Willis Tower boasts 110 stories and is located in Chicago’s financial/business district, just across the Chicago River from Union Station.  The Skydeck is located on the 103rd floor, 1353 feet high.  The John Hancock Building Observatory offers a 360 degree view from its 94th floor.  It is located on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile near the shores of Lake Michigan.  The John Hancock Observatory elevators are the fastest elevators in North America; 1,000 feet in 40 seconds. Yes it’s fast and you can expect your ears to pop.  Don’t forget to catch lunch/dinner at The Cheesecake Factory, located lower level of the John Hancock Building….yum.

    English: Buckingham Fountain in the foreground...
    English: Buckingham Fountain in the foreground with one of the Prudential Buildings at the far left and the AON Center (the tallest building) in the background. The top of the John Hancock Center is also visible (the one with two antennae at the top). I took this photo 11 Jul 2005. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
  • A visit to at least one museum…….  Art Institute of Chicago, Field Museum of Natural History, Shedd Aquarium.  These are all within walking distance or a short cab ride near the heart of the city.  The Museum of Science and Industry is also popular with tourists, but I haven’t been there in years.
  • The Theater………Chicago’s theater district has grown and improved over the years and now rivals New York City’s Broadway.  Personally, I’m more drawn to comedy and the improv-based sketch comedy of Second City.  Many of NBC’s Saturday Night Live stars began at Second City.  Some alums include; Mike Myers, Tina Fey, Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, Bill Murray, John and Jim Belushi, and Dan Aykroyd, just to name a few.  So you never know what rising star’s performance you’ll witness.

    Daughter at Buckingham Fountain
  • Buckingham Fountain, Millenium Park, an abundance of Gardens, Oak Street Beach, Lake Shore Drive……..On numerous occasions we’ve been known to visit the city and just hang out, especially on a nice summer day.  Walking, biking, picnicking, sunbathing, there’s a place for all.
  • Retail Therapy…..Water Tower Place is a prominent shopping destination.  It boasts seven stories of indoor shopping.  The Magnificent Mile is Chicago’s largest shopping district.  It is home to retail stores, restaurants, museums, motels, and several of the tallest buildings in the United States.
  • Architecture and History…….endless possiblities.  One of my favorite buildings is the Marshall Field’s Building (Macy’s) on State Street.  Beautiful architecture and shopping all in one place, works for me!

I’ve just barely touched on all the things to do in this amazing city.  I know as soon as I post, I’ll remember something else I should have added.  Guess that’ll just give me an idea for a future post.  I’ll add one last photo from Zemanta.  When I came across this photo, I was super excited.  I took a similar photo many, many years ago and with as many moves as we have done, misplaced my copy.  Besides, I would’ve had to scan mine since it was shot with good old-fashioned film.  I’m sure this one is better anyway 🙂

Chicago north from John Hancock 2004-11 img 2618
Chicago north from John Hancock 2004-11 img 2618 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Chicago – day two

English: A Lake Shore Limited train backing in...
English: A Lake Shore Limited train backing into Chicago Union Station. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We’re heading back into the city this morning.  Dad drops us off at the train station since we’re running a bit behind.  We don’t want to miss the express train which will only stop 2 more times between our station and Union Station.  If we miss this train and catch the next, we’ll be stopping at EVERY stop along the route, adding almost 25 extra minutes to the commute.

We’re on a mission today.  We’re off to spend the majority of the day at the Field Museum of Natural History.  This is a great place for people of any age…..young, old, or in between.

As an elementary school child growing up in a Chicago suburb, field trips into the city were always exciting and the Field Museum was a favorite.  The Field Museum has so much to offer and see, I’ll just highlight some of our favorites.  When you first enter the Field Museum, you’re graced with the presence of Sue the Tyrannosaurus Rex.  Sue was discovered in 1990 in South Dakota and later purchased by Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History in 1997 for 8.36 million dollars.  Sue is just one of many amazing dinosaurs at the Field Museum.

Son in front of ‘Sue’
Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History

I’m not sure when the museum upgraded their “Evolving Planet” area, but I’m sure glad they did.  Do any of you remember the show “Friends“, when Ross and Rachel first “hooked up”?  Ross was a paleontologist and their ‘first time’ was in the museum among a caveman display.  They ended up falling asleep and awoke to a group of school children observing them.  Oh how I laughed watching this episode.  Even as a child I thought these caveman displays were lame.  Well folks, no more cavemen.  The cavemen have been replaced with the grandest dinosaur room.  My son and I spent over an hour checking out these bones, and I’m not all that interested in dinosaurs and still found it extremely engaging.  A definite must see.

Our second favorite room is the Hall of Gems.  The gorgeous, huge, and amazing gems on display make the Kardashian’s diamond rings look like trinkets.  Depending on your interests, the Field Museum will have something for you to explore.; Plants of the World, DNA Discovery, Inside Ancient Egypt, Science Labs, all kinds of birds, mammals and reptiles, just to name a few departments.  Their website has the very latest exhibits, as well as a downloadable map of this three-story Museum…click here for more info.

Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, Illi...
Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, Illinois, USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)