It’s 3:00am in San Francisco. I am waiting for my Uber to take me to SFO airport. It’s a much awaited weekend trip to Chicago, Illinois. Why you ask? History and Films. Superman! Transformers!! Need I say more? All these films screamed out that this city is full of character and old historical buildings.
Normally when we plan our trips, we generally know something about the location we are visiting. Not this time. We decided to spend our time just exploring as we go! And so our weekend began –
Chicago is known for its skyscrapers. I mean one of the things that you just have to do when visiting is go to the top of the Willis Tower. It opened in 1973 and was the Worlds Tallest Building for the next 25 years. Won’t you like to step out onto The Ledge, a suspended glass box at the Skydeck Chicago observatory that is more than 1,000 feet in the sky? Do you know – that the window in ladies room on the tower has the most spectacular view of the city? Don’t believe me? Try it!
Willis Tower – Chicago Skydeck
After a trip to cloud, its time to take a stroll around Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park and enjoy the colorful light and music display as it glows against the backdrop of Chicago’s skyline and lakefront. Inspired by the Latona Basin at Versailles, but twice the size as its counterpart, it is One of the Largest Fountains in the World and one of the city’s favorite icons.
Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park
A visit to Chicago is incomplete with out s selfie in front of “The Bean” – famous sculpture officially known as Cloud Gate, at its home in Millennium Park. Also check out the Jay Pritzker Pavilion for a free performance, connect with nature in Lurie Garden, and cool off in Crown Fountain, the glass towers that spout water from its digital faces. Millennium Park is constructed on top of a railroad yard and expansive parking garages — making it One of the Largest Green Roofs in the World.
“The Bean” at Millennium Park
Crown Fountain – Digital Face Spitting Fountain
Combining elements of whimsy reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Maggie Daley Park (located just west of Millennium Park) is one of the newest kid-approved attractions in Chicago. This super playground can’t be missed with it’s towering play bridges, sky-high slides and a rock climbing wall that is One of the Largest Outdoor Climbing Structures in the World.
View from Maggie Daley Park
Maggie Daley Park
Maggie Daley Park (located just west of Millennium Park)
Ride on the Ferris wheel at Navy Pier. It’s modeled after the very first Ferris wheel built for Chicago’s 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. Rides, shops, restaurants and boat tours abound at the Midwest’s Number One Attraction.
Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier
Loop up and around on an Architecture Boat tour. Chicago was home to The World’s First Skyscraper and while it no longer stands (the iron-and-steel-framed Home Insurance Building stood downtown from 1884-1931), the city’s skyline is one of the most recognizable and is filled with architectural treasures of the past and present.
Architectural Boat Tour (Navy Pier)
Indulge in some cheesy goodness at the famous pizzerias that serve up our award-winning Deep-Dish Pizzas, Chicago originals with layers of cheese and buttery crust over an inch thick. Who serves up the best pies? Lou Malnatis Pizza. Everything on menu is delicious. But, we just love their Lou’s Special. Also, remember to save some spot for “Chocolate Pizza”.
Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria
Classic local eats also include the Chicago-style Hot Dog, which piles on a whopping seven toppings! For authenticity you’ll find: yellow mustard, chopped onions, bright green sweet relish, a dill pickle spear, tomato slices, spicy pickled sport peppers and a dash of celery salt. And absolutely no ketchup.
Chicago-style Hot Dog (Hot Dog Fiend)
Smell the wonders of Chicago’s famous Chicago Mix before you even reach the storefront door at Garrett Popcorn Shops. While you might feel like it’s the Longest Line in the World for Popcorn, the intriguing blend of caramel and cheese popcorn is well worth the wait. They even got them smoked!
Garretts Popcorn (located in Navy Pier)
Craving for some good ‘ld sandwich? Checkout the Italian Steak Sandwich at Portillos. Whats so special about a Portellos sandwich you say? You won’t know until you try. and you are like me, who like a good serving of meaty sandwich, this is a must visit place. Yummy!!
Need some ice-cream to cool off the day’s excitement? Head over to Oberweis Dairy for a “farm to table” experience. You won’t be able to stop yourself at one scoop. And not to forget those yummy, warm waffle cups dipped in chocolate. It just takes ice-cream to another level. Oh! and care for some organic, right out of farm milk, they got it all.
Whether you are planning a Chicago travel itinerary for a half day, weekend or multi-day stay, these are some of the many must-sees while in the Windy City. But just as Chicago is unique, we invite you to put your personal stamp on your Chicago adventure. So let the fun begin!