A week in Chicago..
In May this year two of my friends and I went to the USA for a holiday; we first went to New York then spent just under a week in Chicago. I must say I loved Chicago, it is a beautiful city with beautiful architecture.
We stayed at a great apartment on West Huron Street which is about a twenty-minute walk up to the ‘Magnificent Mile’ – the main shopping area of Chicago. Our first day we bought tickets for the ‘hop on/hop off’ bus and took a tour of the city which afforded us the opportunity to see the beautiful buildings from the top of the open bus.
I love the ‘hop on/hop off’ bus as it gives you a great opportunity to look around the whole city and see the most famous sights without getting off the bus. We saw the building that housed the musical ‘Chicago’ and then we got off the bus at the Navy Pier and took a look around; a little dated but it was ok.
I heard from a colleague that a restaurant called the ‘Purple Pig’ had very good food and was worth a visit. We only intended to stop in for a short while to eat and ended up staying there for a couple of hours as we sat on a communal table and met some lovely women who were in town for work. Rather expensive for lunch but the food was delicious.
Our next day we took a river tour which lasted about ninety-minutes. I could not believe how cold it was. My dad had warned me that Chicago was very cold but of course I took no notice of his advice to take a warm coat, so I froze on the river. But the views were spectacular and there was only about ten of us on the boat so that was nice; still cold!!
It was wonderful to see the beautiful architecture alongside the river: the buildings are really spectacular.
We took a walk along the river to the planetarium where we saw Chinese artist AI Weiwei’s Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads which are located outside the planetarium and were on display for one year so we were very fortunate to see them (AI being one of my favourite Chinese artists).
We also did a bus tour of the Chicago Prohibition areas and were given a history lesson on prohibition. It was ok but little bit boring. I preferred the river tour and the hop on/hop off bus tour.
We shopped at Macy’s and one of my friends said we had to have a drink at the famous Walnut Room. I had never heard of it but she had done some research on great places to have a drink and in Chicago this was one of the places to go!! The Walnut Room has been a Chicago tradition since 1907 and is located on the 7th floor of Macy’s and said to be the first restaurant ever opened in a department store.
We decided we would just have a glass of wine rather than a meal so we sat in the Wine Bar which has wood paneling imported from Russia and Austrian chandeliers. It was very old world and absolutely gorgeous. The Wine Bar was opened in 2007 and we were able to choose from about twenty wines by the glass. A great couple of hours spent there after a tiring morning of shopping.
(photo from http://www.timeout.com)
My same friend told us we had to try the Chicago deep pan pizza, so after another morning of shopping and sight-seeing we stopped at this wonderful little pizza restaurant and tried the pizza. It’s very different to NY pizza and all other pizzas really as it has a high edge and a deep surface for the large amounts of tomato sauce and cheese. I must say I preferred the NY style pizza.
(photo from http://www.tripadvisor.ca)
On our last day I decided to walk around the area we were staying and check out all the beautiful homes; of which there were many. Some with ivy all up the side, beautiful architecture [and I would say very expensive].
I must of walked around for a couple of hours just looking at the homes as they were all so different but all so lovely.
I think I fell in love with Chicago because of the beautiful architecture and tree-lined streets but also the people who were extremely friendly and lovely. We took a long walk one day along Grand Park where we saw Buckingham Fountain which is said to be one of the largest in the world.
It was a very (very) warm day so we got a little bit sunburnt but the scenery was just so lovely so we kept on walking. There was so much to see on our walk including the Art District and Millennium Park where we saw this amazing structure in a pond which was a huge photo where faces changed all the time with a fountain of water coming from the mouth…amazing.
And there were some other great sculptures in the park; including a 110 tonne stainless steel sculpture which reflects the skyline of Chicago and a pavilion which has a head-dress of stainless steel ribbons that frame the stage opening and connecting to an overhead trellis of crisscrossing steel pipes. And so much more – another reason I loved Chicago!
And one of the final things we did was take a look inside the city’s cultural centre. The Chicago Cultural Centre was previously the city’s official reception venue where the Mayor of Chicago welcomed Presidents and royalty.
It was originally the central library building and was converted in 1977 to an arts and culture centre. The building was designed by a Boston architectural firm in 1892. It has masonry walls faced with Bedford Blue Limestone on a granite base, and designed in a generally neoclassical style with Italian Renaissance elements. It is capped with two stained-glass domes, set symmetrically atop the two wings. The entrance and stairway have mahogany doors with featured mosaics and ornate bronze balusters. And amongst many other architectural sights there is a austere 38-foot Tiffany glass dome and this is said to be the largest Tiffany dome in the world. (source: Wikipedia)
A fabulous place to visit and I am sure a wonderful place to live.