So Sunshine and I went to Chicago to have an extended weekend vacation recently. It was a tremendous opportunity to not only get away, but to spend time in and see a city that I fell in love with when I visited on business three years ago.
We arrived on a Thursday night and were picked-up at the airport by our incredible friend, Random Esquire. We talked for a few hours before turning in. On Friday morning, we took our sweet time to get ready and then both Sunshine and I head out to the L-Train’s Red Line so we could explore the city.
We started off on Michigan Avenue so we could do a walking tour of what is called The Magnificent Mile. The Magnificent Mile is the 13-block stretch of North Michigan Avenue that runs from the banks of the Chicago River to the south, to Oak Street to the north. The area gets its name because the district extends a full square mile from North Michigan Avenue.
Honestly? It should be called “The Pretentious Mile” because of the types of stores and line the street. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an absolutely beautiful street and I have nothing against anybody who works there or shops/stays there, but the area is primarily for people of “a certain affluence”; Ralph Lauren, Louis Vuittan, The Drake Hotel, Bloomingdales, Macy’s, the Waldorf Astoria, Gucci, Georgio Armani, Neiman Marcus…these are the types of stores that litter the sidewalks. Not really my style, but it certainly made for an interesting journey.
The biggest change between our home city of Halifax and Chicago was the most obvious: the skyscrapers. If you have never been to a major city before (as was the case with Sunshine), then you really can’t appreciate the size and scale of skyscrapers until you have seen them up close and in person.
We made our way to the Chicago River and thought we’d detour a bit and walk along the river. It was absolutely beautiful. I’m sure the area is in a constant state of hustle and bustle during the summer, but with the riverside bars and shops closed for the season, it was quiet and pristine. It was just a fantastic day to take a walk along the water.
We took a right turn and made our way over to Millennium Park, which is a fantastic public park area that bridges the downtown core with Lake Michigan. If you walked through the park today and didn’t know any better, you’d have no idea that it was once an industrial wasteland that was occupied by the Illinois Central Railroad. Millennium Park has free admission and features the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Cloud Gate (commonly referred to by locals as “The Bean”), and the Crown Fountain.
For some reason, Sunshine wasn’t overly impressed with the artistic display known as the Crown Fountain.
At this point it was afternoon and we felt it was time to head back to our friend’s place and order in some authentic Chicago-style deep dish pizza…but that’s a post for another day (i.e. the food of Chicago!).
We packed in at least a week’s worth of tourism into just four days, so there is much more of our trip to come!