A May 2007 trip
to Chicago by VA_traveler
Quote: Our Memorial Day trip to Chicago took in most of the major sights. We saw a lot, walked more, and had a terrific time!
Attraction | "Second City"
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 28, 2007
The Second City
1616 North Wells Street
Chicago, Illinois 60614
Attraction | "Sears Tower Skydeck"
Member Rating 2 out of 5 on October 16, 2007
Willis Tower (Sears Tower)
233 South Wacker Drive
Attraction | "Art Institute of Chicago (The)"
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on February 25, 2008
Art Institute of Chicago
111 South Michigan Ave.
Chicago, Illinois 60603
In 1871, Chicago's Great Fire burned most of Chicago's existing buildings, and the rebuilding of the city resulted in some architectural masterpieces. We had heard about the art scattered between the buildings, too, and were anxious to find it. Here's the route we took for our pilgrimage.We started at our hotel, the Chicago Renaissance, at State and Wacker. Heading south down State, we passed the Chicago Theatre sign - now a well-known symbol of the city, the 1921 theater narrowly escaped demolition in 1980. Across the street from the Chicago sign, note the local ABC station making the news behind a big glass wall.Taking a right on Randolph headed us west, and passed us by the Corner Bakery for a quick morning coffee (and maybe a pastry - we needed our strength, after all!). Continuing a block further, we reached the James R. Thompson Center. This is a huge building, built in 1985, and different enough from the surrounding buildings to stand out. Here's where we encountered our first artistic outcropping - don't walk past without realizing this one's art! The Monument with Standing Beast, by Jean Debuffet, is a big white and black fiberglass sculpture. Call me unsophisticated, but I was unmoved. I did think the building was pretty cool; a peek inside (it was still closed) showed an incredible 17 story open atrium. I would have liked to ride the elevator to the top and look down - the view
must be great!Only about half a block south down Clark is the Daley Civic Center. The plaza here is home to one of the city's more famous bits of outdoor art - an unnamed sculpture by Picasso. Enjoy it - when else are you going to get a chance to touch a Picasso? I've never really thought of him as a sculptor, and I wonder how much of this one he did himself?Picasso's fellow won't get lonely, since Jean Miro's Chicago is located almost directly across Washington Street, nestled in beside a stained glass display in the side wall of the Chicago Temple. Our visit with these large sculptures over, we continued east along Washington to the intersection with State StreetAcross the street on the northeast corner is the old Marshall Fields department store. This used to be a Chicago tradition, but today has been bought by Macy's. It's still worth a stop in, if only to see the wonderful Tiffany Dome in the atrium. On the southwest corner of the same intersection is the Reliance building, considered the "precursor of the modern skyscraper". We didn't go in, but the outside is what you want to look at anyway - a bit of history standing there next to the sidewalk. Walking a block south on State brought us face-to-face with the Carson Pirie Scott building - we recognized the ornamental metal facade from our guidebooks. It takes up the whole southeast corner, and is home to the oldest department store in Chicago. This intersection is also important because it's the center of the city grid; this is the dividing point between north/south and east/west designations on the streets.We continued south down (now) South State and walked a block west on Madison to the First National Bank Plaza and the Four Seasons. This is a huge mosaic, decorated on four sides with scenes representing the seasons in Chicago. The artist was Marc Chagall, and the piece contains thousands of tiles. Out in front was one of the many "globes" decorating Chicago - it seems like every city has something like this now. These seemed to all have an environmentally-friendly/green theme to them.