Chicago, Illinois [Day 1]

Summer Road Trip 2014

Day #7 – 10: June 19 – 21, 2014
Chicago, Illinois

At last, 5 days and 2,000+ miles later, we finally made it to Chicago! With this trip being my first time visiting the windy city, I had absolutely no idea what to expect. Given that this is the last leg of of our trip, my family and I reserved 3 days to explore the city.

As usual, sports arenas were first on our itinerary. We visited United Center, the home of the Chicago Bulls, and the historic Wrigley Field!

The first half of the day was incredibly gloomy and foggy, but thankfully, the weather cooperated as soon as we reached our next stop: Northerly Island.

Overlooking the great Lake Michigan, Northerly Island is a family-friendly nature area that features beautiful strolling and bicycle paths, casual play areas, and a spectacular view of the Chicago skyline. A 91-acre peninsula, it is also the site of the Burnham Habor, the Shedd Aquarium and the Alder Planetarium.

A picnic under the trees would’ve been ideal to have in Northerly Island, but our tummies were craving dim sum, so Chinatown was the next stop of the day. Sadly, I was so hungry that I didn’t have the time to take pictures of our glorious meal.

Chicago’s tourist spots, much like in San Francisco, are all in close proximity from one another. Their attractions are conveniently concentrated within their downtown or just a  few miles outside of it. Our next stop after Chinatown is none other than the Buckingham Fountain.

Located at the intersection of Columbus Drive and Congress Parkway, the Clarence Buckingham Memorial Fountain is the centerpiece of Grant Park. This stunning Chicago landmark was constructed in 1927,  inspired by the Latona Basin at Versailles. It is one of the largest fountains in the world, and it was made to represent Lake Michigan, boasting four pairs of Art Deco style sea horses to represent the four states that border the lake.

By far, it is one of the most impressive fountains I’ve ever encountered. It was ENORMOUS, yet so elegant! It jets out so much water that you feel the mist hundreds of yards away!

Merely a few blocks away from Grant Park is Millennium Park, one of the newest additions to Chicago’s many wide open urban spaces. It is an absolute must-see when visiting the windy city! Hosting a wide range of outdoor/indoor activities for locals and tourists a like, Millennium Park is a state-of-the-art collection of architecture, landscape design and art.

I could not get enough of this place! Although it was challenging (and expensive) to find parking, the visit was well worth it. The route we took lead us first to the Lurie Garden, an urban oasis located at the southern end of the park. The 5-acre garden is a wonderful palette of texture and color of various bulbs, perennials, grasses, shrubs and trees!

As if the Lurie Garden wasn’t enough to take my breath away, cue the Jay Pritzker Music Pavilion!

A M A Z I N G! The Pritzker Pavilion is a incredible outdoor performing arts venue. I’ve never seen anything like it! It’s so cool and innovative and futuristic! Huge metal beams (where speakers are attached to) criss-cross across a wide field of grass. There wasn’t a performance at the time of our visit, but I made a personal goal to return to Chicago just to attend a concert or music festival here with my friends!

With my jaws still on the ground, we walked over next door to another Chicago must-see: the Cloud Gate, or less formally known as “The Bean.” It is truly an amazing piece of art.

Enormous, metallic, reflective, image-distorting, pictures cannot do it justice.

Chicago is slowly stealing my heart. Stay tuned for Day 2!

Anicka Nadine

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