Before you think any deeper, no this is not a shameless plug for Anthony Bourdain’s show, No Reservation, although I would not hesitate to do so if he asked, but the aptly titled next stop on my road trip: Chicago.
I’ve been here before. The sights, the atmosphere, the scenery, it all comes rushing back like a woman having a late night hot flash. It was the summer of 2007 when I was last here and so much of this great city has been retained.
We got into town late at night and checked ourselves into yet another Motel6, they must be loving the business we are giving the. On my last visit I had four days to peruse and explore, on my return I have only the one. I wanted to pack more into this day-cation trip than my last but my compatriots have never been here, so I took to the roll of a makeshift tour guide, showing what I have done, elaborating on what more there is to do.
With much to do and great things to see on our only day in the city I had to take full advantage. First stop was the Willis Tower Skydeck!
Last time I was in town I didn’t get a chance to do this, but back then I am sure the Willis Tower was still called the Sears Tower. The lobby going into the elevator to go up to the Skydeck was filled with history of Chicago from past to present.
After an educational walk through you end up lining up for the elevator ride that takes only about a minute or so to climb 103 floors to the top of the observation deck. They pile in the people and off you go! It was great how they had a TV set up inside the elevator and talk about the buildings it’s taller than, how fast it’s going, which floors are being passed. An impromptu I suppose.
Once you are let out of the elevator you are then amassed into a room full of windows, and people clamming up against them trying to snap away.
Fighting with my elbows and kneecaps, pushing people in and away from me was tough work but the rewards are spectacular:
One thing the Skydeck offers is an obtrusion on the side of the building. It’s a glass box from top, bottom and side to side in which you can step out too and literally see nothing but air between the place you’re standing and the pavement some 103 stories below.
But getting into one of those glass box is hard work.
It was an experience to say the least stepping out onto the platform. People around me were hushing themselves into a frenzy trying to get courage for that first step. I didn’t know what the fuss was until I was out there. Looking down was pretty devastating considering I have a fear of heights. After a while it just became an amazing way to view the city.
They also had a plethora of gifts to choose from and with a few purchases for myself we were off to wander the streets.
One of the things I love about Chicago is how their tramway is above ground. You don’t get to see this much anymore. Also if this looks familiar that’s because all of the recent Batman movies were filmed in Chicago. Another reason to love its splendor.
I wanted to visit Millennium Park as it was the site of most of Chicago’s summertime activities. The park itself is huge and boast many different events and even has a concert area, but I wanted to check out The Bean! Getting there proved to be difficult as we were lost but made for some great photography action.
You’d be amaze at how much the Chicago skyline can add to a simple picture of a flower when its in the background. It’s also safe to say I didn’t have any particularly good models on hand. The life of a photographer!
I did run into some people watching and architecture while searching for The Bean:
Another great thing about this city is that its right on Lake Michigan. On my first trip I kept thinking to myself ‘Wow they have an ocean here?!’ but then after being slapped back to reality you have to remember that this is a lake in which you are looking at. Meaning FRESH WATER. Its immense size can fool just about anyone, and it fools me daily whenever I look at it.
You’ll never know what you will find in Chicago. Like an oversize Conan O’Brien head just hanging out in downtown:
Finally we made it to Millennium Park and I got to the see The Bean! Truth be told it is shaped like a GIANT BEAN but only METALLIC!
With so many people surrounding this structure it was time to go. Needless to say it was quite an attraction. It is in the middle of a park in the shape of a bean. You can’t beat that.
With my Millennium Park obsession satisfied I took my compatriots over to the Chicago Pier, the site and scene of many things to do, oh and the view here is also quite as spectacular.
I was only 19 the last time I was here, just a baby, but on this revisit I had gained the ripened age to drink, which I wish I did last time I had visited the pier. First things first – grab a cold one. After you proceed with your sight seeing.
It was an early June’s evening when I was here on this pier, it didn’t hurt that it was a Saturday and at night, bustling with life. On that particular occasion we saw fireworks since Chicago sets them off every Saturday night during the summer, we weren’t in such luck this time but it was great to be back here and just embrace it. Oh yea if you’re ever here I suggest the Ferris wheel when it’s dark, amazing city skyline lights.
A few more trips of walking around.
I love this city, at times maybe more than my own beloved Boston. For one thing it is definitely grandeur in size than my own hometown. Even with its stature it provides everything a person can need and then some for you to explore. I love it here and I love it even more whenever I can. It has so much to offer that it will never cease to amaze anyone, not even me.
From the skyline, to the beach shores down to its people, there’s just something about Chicago’s aura. Maybe it’s a little bit of east coast mixed with the west coast and smack dabbed right into the middle of America. Yea maybe that’s why it’s so appealing to me. Best of both worlds is a phrase often used by so many, but in Chicago it simply works.