A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to visit a college an hour outside of Chicago, in a city called Elgin. We were there for 3 nights. It was a long drive- (yup, we drove) about twelve hours each way. It was a good weekend though, and besides seeing the college, my favorite part was our day of sightseeing Chicago. We took the Metra train from Elgin to Chicago, which was about an hour and a half counting all the stops it took along the way. We spent an entire day there, and it was a lot of fun.
The first thing I insisted we do was the Sky Deck. If you don’t know what that is, look it up, because it’s a must-do in Chicago. Near the top of Willis (formerly Sears) Tower is an entire floor, (the 103rd to be exact) dedicated to seeing Chicago from an entirely new altitude. There are big windows around the entire floor, and the best part- several glass boxes that stick out of the building over the streets of Chicago. I’ll talk more about that in one of my upcoming posts though.
We spent most of our time just wandering around the streets of the city, looking at all the skyscrapers and cool architecture. We did a little shopping, and got some delicious Chicago style food, also something I’ll talk about soon. I was told that I had to do two things when I went to Chicago, eat at one of Chicago’s famous deep dish pizza joints, Lou Malnati’s (which was fantastic) and go to Navy Pier. We walked wherever we went in the city, so Navy Pier was definitely a walk, but it was worth it. If you’ve never been there, it’s basically like a mall/boardwalk that’s out on a giant pier in the waters of Lake Michigan. There’s a ton to eat and a ton to see. If you have little kids, this is the place for you. There’s a children’s play center/museum, lots of kid friendly shops, and lots of restaurants. It’s also perfect for adults, too. There are boat tours, a stained glass museum, and the renowned Margaritaville. It was really chilly and windy (of course!) the day we were there, so we didn’t spend a ton of time at the pier, because about half of it is outside and half is inside. But it’s a really fun place if you have the time and the weather is bearable.
As I mentioned before, we took most of our day just wandering the city and admiring the engineering and architecture that fills it. Architecture aficionados listen up: the architecture in Chicago is breathtaking and some of it is world famous. I would highly recommend visiting just to look at the skyscrapers and complexes. I have been to New York City as well, and I can honestly say the architecture in Chicago struck me a lot more than anything I saw there. Back when Sears Tower was built, it held the record for the tallest building in the world for 25 years. It’s a city that’s definitely always evolving; there was a ton of construction going on when we were there. If you’re into the skyline and the skyscrapers, that’s another reason I would highly recommend doing the Sky Deck in Sears Tower, the view of the lake and the city is unparalleled.
In our wanderings around the city, we happened upon something I was very happy and surprised to see. The Cloud Gate, also known as the Chicago Bean. I have always wanted to see it, but once I actually made it to Chicago, I had forgotten all about it, until I saw it across the way. Basically, the Chicago Bean is a giant sculpture made completely of very reflective metal, and as you’ve probably guessed, in the shape of a bean. There was quite a crowd surrounding it, and that’s because it’s just so cool to look at. You can walk under it as well as around it, and it acts like a mirror in a funhouse. Fun picture taking for sure. The reflection it shows of the skyline of the city and the sky is really cool as well. It’s located sort of at the edge of a park between downtown and the lake. Look for it if you’re walking over that way.
My day in Chicago was awesome, and if you ever make your way over there for some reason, definitely take some time to see what the city has to offer. It’s a really great city, and I highly recommend just taking a day or two to really explore it and see what you might find.
P.S. If you want to see more pictures from my day in Chicago, head on over to my instagram profile! @IAmSarahJaneB