A May 2003 trip
to Chicago by melissa_bel
Quote: A quick look at what to see in the City by the Lake.
It was my home for three years. The third greatest city in the country is a mix of big metropolis excitement and laid back Midwestern attitude. Maybe I'm biased, but Chicago's probably more beautiful than New York . . . and I've been there. If you like skyscrapers and architecture, theatre and music, comedy and arts . . . you will love this town.
Chicago has a mystique due to its tumultuous past, especially during the prohibition era: bootleggers, mobsters, corrupt politicians. I don't know a Chicagoan who hasn't been asked: "What about Al Capone?" by their relatives and friends living somewhere else.
Now, it's more a city dedicated to the arts, with a lot of parks and beautiful spaces but who didn't forget its blue-collar roots (Chicago is a big industrial town,). Sure, the city has a lot of problems too, like any big city, but it's livable and enjoyable (except during the harsh Midwestern winter.
My favourite dishes are:
Steamed mussels, steak-frites, apple pie with cinnamon ice-cream, pear pie with ginger ice-cream, mousse au chocolat... I'm not a fish lover but I heard the "brandade de morie" (a traditionnal provence dish made with cod) is delicious.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 19, 2004
4518 N Lincoln Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60625
On another note, their restrooms are cute!
My personal favourite dishes: Pollo al limon, margarita, hot-peaches stuffed pancakes.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 16, 2004
3400 N. Ashland Avenue
Attraction | "Sears Tower"
The city that invented skyscrapers hosts the second tallest building in the world, 1,450 feet high (443 meters), 110 stories . . . it's also a place of business with a lot of offices. For tourists like you and I, the sky deck is all that we're going to see: it's at 1,353 feet (412 meters), at the top floor. If the sky is clear, you'll be able to see four states! The sky deck also has a museum about the Tower's past. It's quite impressive when you look down and see cars not much bigger than ants!
Although the view from the Sears Tower is great, you'll know that the most beautiful cityscape is seen from the other "big girl": The Hancock Center Tower.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 18, 2004
Willis Tower (Sears Tower)
233 South Wacker Drive
Created in 1868, it's one of the oldest in the country and is undergoing a lot of changes. After building a more adequate habitat for African animals, it is rebuilding its Ape center and, according to one of the zookeeper I met, they will have new guests. It will open this July. Amongst the sights to see: the new Regenstein African journey, the Primate house, the bird house and my personal favourite, the Lion House, hosting big cats such as lion, rare Siberian Tigers, an even rarer Afghanistan leopard, etc.
It’s a great family excursion.
Lincoln Park Zoo
2001 North Clark Street
Chicago, Illinois 60614
Attraction | "The L"
Buy a ticket and discover downtown Chicago with the Green, Purple or Brown line. You'll pass through the towering buildings and over the avenues of Chicago. It's very impressive the first time you do it. Both O'Hare and Midway airports are linked with the "L" (blue line for O'Hare, orange for Midway) and within 45 minutes of downtown.
There is a plethora of buses and the CTA's website will compute the route for you if you don't know what bus or train you need to take.
The El Train
Throughout the City
Attraction | "North Avenue Beach"
It's a nice feeling to be on the beach and then gaze at the cityscape so close.
Lifeguards are on duty during the summer season. It's likely you won't have the opportunity to swim though. The lake is really cold until late August and it can happen that bathing is prohibited because of bacteria proliferation. Make sure to check information.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 16, 2004
North Avenue Beach and Chess Pavilion
1600 North Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, Illinois 60614
Attraction | "John Hancock Tower"
But people come here for the view, the best view in town. You have the choice, you can either pay the admission price for the observation deck (open from 9 am to 11 pm): Adults pay $9.50, Seniors (62+); $7.50 and children under 12-years-old; $6.00. The alternative is enjoying a drink or a meal at the Signature room on the 95th and 96th floor and 96th-floor (restaurant on the lower floor and lounge on the upper floor). It's not cheap (more than 6 bucks for a beer) but you can have a drink with a view! On the other side, if you really want a 360 degrees view, then the observation deck will be your pick. You may also notice that the building is... yes... swaying. Especially if the wind is strong. Don't worry though, the worse thing you can get is maybe a little motion sickness.
I recommend going at sunset when the sun disappears and the Chicago lights are coming on, it's really, really a sight to see!
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 2, 2004
Hancock Building Observatory
875 North Michigan Ave.
Chicago, Illinois 60611