I was in Chicago for four days last week with my SO and I had a wonderful time! We saw the Navy Pier, Shedd Aquarium, the Planetarium, the Lincoln Park Zoo, took a sail on the Tall Ship Windy (a real four-mast schooner!), saw Star Trek: Into Darkness, saw Dragon’s Thunder at the Pier, and saw Book of Mormon.
It was my first trip into Chicago proper. I grew up in Detroit and have suffered through the agony of O’Hare (yah the tram to Terminal C is just down the hall, down two flights of stairs, past the moving sidewalk, past the dinosaur, you can’t miss it) but have somehow never been into the city.
We had beautiful weather except for some rain on Wednesday, which we actually missed most of, being in the movie, and ate some delicious food (including some churros - why do you have a churro factory on every street corner? we finally succumbed), and had a nice hotel.
But boy howdy, you guys weren’t bullshitting when you called it the Windy City! Every day was windy but Wednesday we nearly got blown off our feet. We walked back to our hotel room and couldn’t even hear what the other had to say over the wind! When we got back to the room I was picking leaves and one aphid :eek: out of his hair.
Anyway, just wanted to say your city was lovely and we had a great time. Peace!
Well, thing is, the moniker “Windy City” originated as a political jab and had nothing to do with the weather. It’s a losing battle pointing that out these days.
I’m glad you had a good time, Anaamika! I hope next time you have a chance to venture into some of the many neighborhoods, there’s so much more here once you get through the downtown tourist attractions.
True. When family visits during the summer, I try to take them to a neighborhood street fair if one’s happening that week. My sisters still talk about hitting the Halsted Street Fair over 10 years ago, and one on Lincoln Ave that had a grade-schooler belting Sinatra tunes and had a vendor with giant turkey legs, the first time they’d had them.
I’m glad you enjoyed our city. Did you have anything good to eat?
I always wince when I hear of out-of-towners going to Navy Pier.
It is a mall on a narrow concrete peninsula with a Ferris wheel and fireworks.
There are so many more interesting and authentic Chicago things to do.
…Says the guy who went there last summer.
Thank you, and the same goes for everyone who said the same, or who griped (?? really?) that I went to the “touristy spots” or the Navy Pier. I was trying to figure out how to say something. It was my first (and probably only) trip to the city, of course I went to the touristy spots! And I think those people missed the fact that I had a great time anyhoo.
Vacations aren’t necessarily about destinations to me. I can enjoy myself almost anywhere. I had my partner, whom I love very much, we had great weather, and it was a pretty awesome look at a city which I have always regarded with some suspicion (all the stuff you hear about Chicago!)
You know what the real beauty is of Navy Pier, btw? The gorgeous, gorgeous skyline you get of Chicago when you walk to the end and look back. It has the flair of the Manhattan skyline but it is substantially cleaner. It was just beautiful and I got some lovely shots, framed against an incredibly blue sky.
Both Navy Pier and the Museum Campus (the area of the Planetarium, Aquarium & Field Museum) are great places to soak in the skyline. Great that you got to visit both. Hope fate gives you a chance to come back some day and soak in more of what the city has to offer
I’m glad you got some good pictures! There are plenty of hazy days, but on a clear one you can see all the way across Lake Michigan to Gary, Indiana. Not much to see, of course, just ucky steel mills. But it’s still kinda cool.
Incidentally, my boyfriend visited me in Chicago before I moved out here to New York. We had a really nice time, and we went to the touristy places too. Sears Tower and yada yada, since it would probably be his only visit to Illinois ever. So there! I lived in Illinois for over 5 years and I still like Millennium Park and Navy Pier
One semi-sad thing I have noticed is that EVERY major western city I have been to is substantially cleaner than NYC, ESPECIALLY the subways. Chicago subways, while not having the art of DC, and not having the allure of Montreal, are very clean and don’t have that pukey smell NYC subways do. While we were standing in one, we saw a banana sitting on top of a newspaper bin. Within five minutes an employee came and removed it and threw it away. My SO and I joked that in NYC there would have been a pile of bananas - it would have become a banana storage area!
ETA: We did also go to Millenium Park. I have seen pictures of the Cloud Gate but they do not really do it justice. That is a GIGANTIC sculpture.
Our theatre for the Book of Mormon was in that area - the Bank of America theatre (it has another name, but I can’t remember what it was off-hand).
Chicago is not a particularly windy city, as measured by the NWS, but it’s awfully windy on the streets downtown. All cities are wind tunnels to some degree, but Chicago is especially so–it’s laid out on a perfect grid and has lots of vertical buildings in a small area. The wind blows off the lake and gets funneled down the concrete canyons, with nothing to stop it.
So yes, the nickname originated with politics, but still, tourists (and locals) often have a pretty windy experience, and it isn’t their imagination.
My own gripe is on Navy Pier, not your choice. It is like Times Square or the Golden Gate Bridge or St Louis Arch. You just have to go to their best attractions on your initial trip. I would. I just wish Navy Pier lived up to its popular hype.
And the rest of your picks are great. Political baggage aside, Millenium Park is underrated and I should really visit again this summer.
It did when I went there several years ago… my kids were young and they loved the rides, there was an interactive fountain they could play in, I could get a beer or two, the breeze was nice as was the view.
Sorry it isn’t your cup of tea, but that doesn’t mean it is some kind of tourist trap that should be avoided at all costs.