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 one

Willis Tower – aka Sears Tower

No trip back to Illinois would be complete without a trip into the “city”.  Fortunately my dad lives within walking distance to the train station.  We catch a morning train and join the thousands of commuters heading to work in downtown Chicago.

Once we arrive at Union Station we need to decide; do we walk, take a cab, or take the water taxi to Navy Pier?  It’s a lovely sunny morning with light breezes and in the 70’s.  Walk we shall.  After 2 days of rain, I’m loving this nice weather.  Our destination is Millennium Park on Michigan Avenue.  Instead of heading straight there, we’ll take a short detour past the Civic Center for a photo-op at the Picasso.

daughter in front of The Picasso

There are more folks running around the Picasso than I anticipated. After some patient waiting, hoping the people would somehow miraculously disappear, I relent and quickly snap some shots.  Not the kind of shots I was hoping for.  I guess this is reason enough for a return visit to photograph the Picasso, hopefully on it’s own without a crowd crawling around.  We head to Millennium Park and after meandering around, we’re off to the Art Institute.  The Art Institute of Chicago is one of my favorite places to visit.  It brings back childhood memories of school field trips.  Since daughter took a course at College; Intro to Visual Arts, she has a new-found interest in the art community.  We spend most of our time viewing Monet.  Daughter is well versed in his works and proceeds to brief me on some background and history of Monet’s Water Lilies painting.  Um, perhaps she did learn more at college than the latest brew at New Belgium 🙂  Although I love Monet’s works, I am partial to Seurat’s Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.  As a child, I was fascinated by a painting composed of dots.   No brush strokes here.

A Sunday on La Grande Jatte
A Sunday on La Grande Jatte (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After almost three hours of admiring these works of art, we need to catch the train back to the burbs.  We enjoy a brisk walk back to the train station with plans to return to the city tomorrow.  The Field Museum is on tomorrows list….top priority.

Millennium Park