Last year we spent a few glorious days in Chicago, USA, and I couldn’t start blogging about this year’s travels until I had at least shared some photos of that little sojourn in this beautiful clean and friendly city…
Arriving at O’Hare airport, we took the Blue Line train to Chicago, transferring to the 66 bus towards Navy Pier, alighting at Michigan Avenue – just near the historic Water Tower
for an easy 10-minute walk to the very comfortable Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel – and were greeted by live piano music wafting across from the lobby bar.
That evening, we walked towards the Ferris Wheel in the distance, enjoying the sunset over Lake Michigan
and arriving at Navy Pier – which is a collection of shops, eateries and attractions –
and enjoyed the city lights from the enclosed gondolas of the Ferris Wheel, followed by dinner at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville for great service in a very fun, and friendly atmosphere.
We walked up towards Gold Coast and Old Town the following morning, delighted to discover the beach on sparkling Lake Michigan. The sand gave way to a large causeway, and many dog walkers, joggers and bikers were also enjoying the wide-open space of the waterfront.
We continued walking until we saw a sign for Lincoln Park which lead us into the zoo (free entry) and wandered around the lovely gardens and animal enclosures and all with a great view across to the city.
One morning we got up early to do the Lakefront Trail all the way from Navy Pier up to Millennium Park – which is a “must see”:
the tall blocks of Crown Fountain with the moving faces – spewing out water as if from their mouths; the gardens, the Great Lawn (a concert picnic area),
and of course, Cloud Gate (more commonly known as “The Bean”). A huge shiny metallic sculpture. Get here early to take selfies and photos of distorted reflections before crowds gather.
Be early too, to get into the popular Purple Pig. Not only great beer and food (try their melt-in-the-mouth pork shoulder) but a warm atmosphere and good background music too.
Tony had a fabulous burger at Grand Lux Café with its plush old-style furnishings, and my “small” Chili Chicken Mango Salad was anything but – and not expensive at all.
Go to Portillo’s for an “authentic” (small but very tasty) hot dog. Funky old décor and memorabilia everywhere – even an old car suspended above! Another fun and reasonably priced venue.
While on the subject of food, go to The French Market for a cosmopolitan shopping and eating experience. We had a Belgium burger and triple fried frites – with a little Canadian twist to mine: Maple bacon and apple. (Really combining our travel memories here!)
We had a little trouble finding the Revival Food Hall (which looks like another great place to eat!) for Black Dog Gelato and I can recommend the mixed berry sorbet and coconut gelato combo.
Right next to the huge statue of Lincoln and a “contemporary man” (a giant replica of a sculpture called “Return Visit”)
lies the Tribune Tower – the building with stones inset, reputedly from other famous landmark buildings around the world.
After a walk along Chicago Riverwalk, chocoholics might like to stop in at Ghirardelli, or go further afield to Michael Jordan’s at the Intercontinental for their “famous” 23-layer chocolate cake (in honour of MJ). Rich and dense (hmmm) – the candle for my birthday was a nice touch.
For a fabulous view over Chicago, go to Willis Tower from the 103rd floor. On a clear day, it seems you can see forever! And a step out into the glass viewing bays… if you dare!
We loved Chicago – so pretty and pedestrian-friendly. Plantings of tulips in the main streets against the backdrop of fabulous buildings – both old and new – we just soaked it all in. The fabulous weather certainly helped and kept us away from the museums and galleries.
We will just have to visit them next time!