Tuesday, April 15, 2008


We spent the last couple of days in Chicago attending a family event and visiting some of the sights. The weather was pretty cold, and of course, windy—not ideal for sightseeing, but we managed to get in some good walks around town. Chicago is a great place to visit. It has all of the attractions you’d expect from a big city, but with a Midwestern sensibility. I always say it’s like New York, but without the edge. Chicagoans aren’t as aggressively hip or fashionable as New Yorkers, and the tourists don’t stand out quite so obviously. The town has amazing architecture, great shopping on the Magnificent Mile, Broadway-quality theater, good restaurants (not as good as NYC), serious pro sports mania, and a setting on Lake Michigan and the Chicago River that is really lovely.

My one complaint about Chicago? Revolving doors. Revolving doors were the bane of my existence for the last 3 days. Nearly every building in downtown Chicago has revolving doors. I get why—Chicago is cold, and in cities with lots of bad weather, they keep the snow, wind and rain from coming inside every time someone goes in or out. But you don’t have control over them the way you do when you open a door yourself. Sometimes the person ahead of you gets the doors going fast, sometimes slow, sometimes they’re automatic, sometimes not, sometimes there’s a real door right next to the revolving one, and sometimes you can use it, but sometimes you can’t, and on least one occasion, I tried to exit just a tad too early and felt like a bird flying into a picture window. Okay, maybe it’s just me being uncoordinated, but even at Bonefish in Central Park, I always avoid the revolving door.

At top is the John Hancock Center, the fifth tallest building in the U.S.

Our first stop was the Navy Pier on Lake Michigan, a Chicago landmark since the early 1900’s. It’s part amusement park, part shopping mall, part museum—what I guess you could call an “entertainment complex.”

The Crystal Gardens at the Navy Pier is an atrium filled with palm trees and fountains:

A Tiffany window from the Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows, yet another attraction at the Navy Pier:

An interior view of Crate and Barrel, my favorite store on the Magnificent Mile:

A view of the financial district, with the Chicago River in the foreground:

We made sure we hit Chicago’s culinary highlights: steak, hot dogs, and deep dish pizza at Gino’s East:

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