After drawing inspiration from my last article about taking breaks and packing bags, I was motivated to follow it closely. As I and my husband set foot into the exploration mode, our 3 days visit to the land of Lincoln was totally exciting by all means. One of the largest cities in the state of Illinois, Chicago is known for its tall skyscrapers and amazing skyline. Nicknamed as ‘the windy city’, Chicago is located at the southern tip of Lake Michigan. Breezy atmosphere and lively ambiance mark the feel of this city that combines traditional and modern look.
A perfect blend of contemporary architecture with latest trends, the tall skyscrapers in downtown Chicago represent the unique spirit of this city. Chicago has preserved its historic value all these years. Though a major part of the city was burnt down by massive fire in 1871, its shining infrastructure today depicts the essence of hard work, commitment, will power and determination of its residents since years.
A major metropolitan hub with corporate offices, companies, industries and innovations, Chicago stays ahead of the competition. The city reflects the spirit of busy life, as every member has an agenda to work on. Though Chicago appears as a fast paced city, it does relax from time to time. Amidst the environment of work and duties, Chicago ensures to welcome its tourists with open arms. Exciting tourist places mark the stretch of this city, as all our three days were completely packed with action. Friendly local folks, warm hospitality, easy attitude and lively feel make this city as one of the best travel destinations in the United States of America.
Maddening rush of the Labor Day weekend marked the initial moments of our journey at the airport. After long queue at the security check, when we finally boarded our flight from the west coast for a 4.5 hours journey to Chicago, the wait was totally worth it. Exploring a different spot of this country seemed exciting as I looked forward to experience its food, weather, culture and ambiance. Every aspect of the city was wonderful in its own way, as Chicago made home in our hearts instantly. A city that displayed its energy from morning to night, every hour of the day was filled with a unique touch of its own.
This trip was a first ever experience for several aspects. As we rented a house through Airbnb for the first time, the fun of residing in one of the oldest neighborhoods near downtown Chicago was truly enjoyable. Exploring the local essence of the place within the local community was interesting. Besides this new concept of accommodation, experience of using ride sharing service Lyft was also unique. As the city of Chicago is marked by great loads of traffic, expensive parking meters and long struggle for parking spaces, our decision of ride sharing turned into a boon. While chatting with the local ride share drivers, as we learnt about the happening places in the city, it offered us exciting insights about food, entertainment, leisure and recreation.
Let me take you through the top tourist spots that add their charm to this windy city:
1.Cloud gate at the Millennium Park
Nicknamed as the ‘Bean’, this stainless steel ‘bean’ shaped structure at the Millennium Park attracts tourists from far and wide. Created by an Indian artist, the structure allows the visitors to see their reflection over a giant steel surface. This bean is located at the center of a huge park that has variety of activities for the tourists. Be it bike reading along the edges of the park or relaxing stroll on the lawn, the Millennium Park is always filled with visitors.
Rated as one of the top attractions of the Chicago city, Navy pier is a 100 years old hotspot for tourists. It is located along the shoreline of Lake Michigan. Navy pier is home to several restaurants, food joints, thrill rides, shopping places and gift shops. Several tourist companies offer services of cruises, river tours, lake tours and water taxis to commute within different areas of the city. Lake tours take the visitors over Lake Michigan to enjoy the skyline view of the downtown. Architectural river tours move along river Chicago, offering close look of the tall skyscrapers, while the tour guides explain the history of their architecture.
Another interesting attraction that draws people of all age groups is the centennial Ferris wheel ride. Enjoying the view of Navy pier and Chicago city at the heighted elevation of the wheel seems amazing as it offers best views of the area.
3.River walk and Lake front trail
Lake Michigan and River Chicago river system are the major water wonders of this city that has a deep bond with its flow. River walk is an open pedestrian waterfront along the river system of Chicago towards southern end of downtown. Offering an amazing view of the flowing river with frequent connecting bridges, this river walk is marked by few restaurants, fast food joints and local folks on their regular fitness regime along the open waterfront.
Lake front trail runs along the shoreline of Lake Michigan. This trail has separate lanes for bike riders and pedestrians. One side of the trail offers view of the Navy Pier with numerous boats and ships, while the other side represents the downtown with tall skyscrapers.
Though Chicago does not lie along the sea coast, it has several beaches to its credit. Lakefront along Lake Michigan has numerous beaches that attract both local folks and tourists in great numbers.
Magnificent mile resembles shopping street of the city with several branded shops, stores and malls along the line. It is a high-end upper scale street with luxurious restaurants, hotels and shopping malls. With several branded shops in a line, this magnificent mile remains illuminated till late evening.
Water tower place is one of the best shopping malls in the area that holds several branded stores such as Abercrombie, Macys, Banana republic, Aeropostale, GAP to name a few. Located at the foot of a 74 story skyscraper, this shopping mall offers wonderful experience to the shoppers.
Offering view of the entire Chicago city at 103rd floor of one of the tallest towers in the world, Skydeck is truly a memorable experience for all its visitors. The Skydeck ledge allows the visitors to step onto a glass block at approximately 1353 feet above the ground, turning into a novel adventure like never before. As visitors click pictures and selfies at the tallest point of the tower, this man-made wonder seems totally amazing. Designed in a tube structure manner, Skydeck is part of the 108 floors tall Willis tower (formerly named Sears tower). Besides the tourist attraction of Skydeck, this tower houses several corporate offices.
These are some of the top attractions in Chicago. Along with memorable tourist spots, Chicago is well known for its range of restaurants and cuisines. Chicago is famous for its unique deep dish pizza that appears in the form of a dish. Besides pizza, Chicago is known for its burgers and hot dogs. Gino’s and Giordano’s pizzeria are two famous chain of pizza joints in this city that are truly worth visiting. Chicago has loads of options in diverse cuisines. From American, Chinese, Thai, Italian, Indian or Mediterranean, the city does not exhaust its options.
Our short visit to the windy city was totally relaxing. If you wish to explore the city of Chicago, all you need is three full days, hungry stomach and desire to walk, relax, enjoy and observe, as this windy city keeps the entertainment flowing….
Published by Lavanya