Chicago is a city within the U.S. that I have been able to visit four times over the last three years for work. At first, I did not know what to expect, but Chicago quickly became a city I loved. As I have had the opportunity to visit twice in the last month (and returned just a few days ago) I wanted to put up a three-part feature with some of highlights. This first post will feature a number of my favorite things, what I have done and seen.
Millennium and Grant Parks
Millennium Park is a sprawling park filled with things to do and see. This is where you find the famous bean a popular site that always has a crowd. There is an incredible stage where I have walked by and seen musicians practicing, movies on the lawn, a Mariachi festival and an Orchestra. I try and look up what is going on when I’m there, as it seems like there is always something. There is a play-area for kids that look like it would be a source of entertainment for hours. At the peak of the park is Buckingham Fountain that is a good place to end a walk and turn back to walk by the water.
Right behind Millennium Park amphitheater is this little garden that has beautiful wild flowers and a water lined path. I think it is one of the most special and serene places to walk through and a spot I consistently visit. There is something about a park in the city that always lasts in my mind.
The Art Institute of Chicago
I have been to Chicago four times and have been to the museum all but once. Aside from a Monet exhibit I saw in high school, I count this as one of the museums that influenced my love of art – impressionism in particular. I never would have thought that a museum in Chicago would house such an impressive collection of pieces from around the globe. The Monet collection is what really captivated me along with Renoir, Van Gogh, and Pissarro. There are also works from Picasso and Dali, as well as the American classics American Gothic and Nighthawks. I recommend paying a visit here to anyone going to Chicago.
Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
On my most recent trip to Chicago (this week), I went to this museum in addition to the Art Institute. Typically, I am not a huge fan of contemporary art, but I was absolutely blown away by the Takashi Murakami exhibit. The large format art was incredibly unique with a traditional Japanese influence in combination with manga. I could have spent hours looking over each piece as the detail and unprecedented format produced intensely intricate pieces. I did not think this style would appeal to me but here I am a few days later still thinking about that exhibit and the art that moved me.
Wandering – Walking and Biking
When on a trip it is rare for me to have less than 20,000 steps on any given day, as exploring is my favorite thing to do. It allows you to meander into so many places you may have never seen. Chicago is a great place to amble through and has led me to many beautiful sites. One of my favorite paths is up Michigan Avenue to the water, around the lake, ending at the Lincoln Park Zoo, then back down N Dearborn street (a quite, tree lined avenue with quaint brick row homes). Walking and renting bikes to ride along the lakes is another wonderfully peaceful release from the city. One thing I love about Chicago is how you can walk out of the bustling city and into the sandy shores of the lake in mere minutes.