I’ve been to my fair share of cities. Old cities, new cities, big cities, and small. But no matter how many cities I see, I am always fascinated when I encounter a new one and Chicago was no exception. Whenever I visit a new city I always end up doing the same thing – walking until I can no longer walk anymore. Case in point, I’ve walked well over 50 miles in the last few days and I’ve managed to see quite a bit of this great city.
I’ve wandered through downtown and Millennium Park. I’ve strolled through the Lincoln Park Zoo and Conservatory. I’ve treaded the streets of Old Town and the paths of the University of Illinois – Chicago and the Illinois Institute of Technology. I’ve walked around Museum campus and Lincoln Park and the Gold Coast.
I somehow managed to walk to Navy Pier despite many a setback; like getting caught in the maze of Condo Land, backtracking multiple times, and asking for directions twice. I’ve walked the Magnificent Mile and the Lakefront Trail. My toes breathed a sigh of relief in the cooling waters of Lake Michigan at the Oak Street Beach. I’ve walked a long way but I’ve also taken the bus, the ‘L’, and the subway too.
Chicago is a truly beautiful city. It boasts an astonishing amount of waterfront property devoted to public use and enjoyment. There are river side walks and lake front strolls, beaches, plazas and innumerable displays of public art and sculpture.
If you can’t tell already, my favorite mode of transportation is by foot. If I am exploring a new place, I most enjoy the areas I am able to wander through. Walking takes times. You are able to see so much more at this lowered pace. This slow movement allows you to really know a place. To let it seep in. Slowly. Surely.
So without further ado – I give you my walking tour of Chicago.
So I walked a ton, in fact that is what I did the most in Chicago – more than sleeping, eating, or sitting. But, I did do a few other things worth noting as well.
I finally tried some Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza. Mmm, it was delicious. I had my doubts considering we waited for over an hour, but it lived up to the hype. I heard on good authority (from actual Chicagoans) that Lou Malnati’s has the best pizza in the city. I joined some friends from Seattle (Emily and Matt) who happened to be in Chicago at the same time and a guy from Houston (John Paul) who was in front of me in line. He was all alone so I invited him to join us. After more than an hour of waiting we finally found some seats at the bar and got the Malnati Chicago Classic; a giant pie full of italian sausage, extra cheese and vine-ripened tomato sauce on their famous butter crust. Oh my. I could only eat one slice and had the rest while waiting for the bus to Nashville. It was good!!
I also went to see some Improv because again I heard on good authority (from an actual former Chicagoan and improv rockstar) that the Improvised Shakespeare show was a must see. Every show is a brand new production. They take a title from the audience and build an entire show around it, on the spot, and in the language and style of a Shakespeare play. It was awesome. Our show was titled ‘The Smell of the Beast of the Wind’. There was death and romance, incest and feudal law, and even a ball replete with comedy troupe and merry musicians. All this with only 5 amazing actors and enough thee’s and thou’s to make you dizzy. I enjoyed it immensely and so did my friends. Fantastic!!
The last thing I did on my last day, nay last hours, in Chicago was the Architectural River Cruise put on by the Chicago Architecture Foundation. This 90 minute boat ride aboard Chicago’s First Lady, started at 5:30 near where the Chicago River meets Lake Michigan. It highlights some of the best architecture the city has to offer. The knowledgeable guides also give interesting bits of Chicago history and lore. Did you know that they reversed the flow of the Chicago River? It used to flow into Lake Michigan, but with the construction of the Shipping and Sanitation Canal it now flows down to the Mississippi River and eventually out to the Gulf of Mexico. Interesting, huh? The ride was beautiful. The sun was just beginning to set, casting a golden glow to all that it touched. By the end of the cruise, the lights were shining – it was the best of both worlds. Beautiful!!
So that about sums up my trip to Chicago. I loved it! I can’t wait to go back and wander around some more.
Do you have a favorite city?
How do you like to explore?
Thanks for reading!