Late one afternoon during my recent stay in Chicago, I did a boat tour on the Chicago River.
This is really one of the best ways to get to know this bustling metropolis located on Lake Michigan. As the sun slowly descended, and the countless city lights twinkled, the Chicago skyline called me to discover this great city.
Millennium Park in Chicago is certainly one of the centres of Chicago’s exciting city life, and during my stay I visited it almost daily. Even early in the morning, there are a lot of people enjoying the park, especially in front of Anish Kapoor´s Cloud Gate sculpture, lovingly called “The Bean.” This fascinating piece of art, made of stainless steel, is one of many public art pieces you can discover inside the park.
Directly adjacent is the Jay Pritzker Pavillion, a beautiful open-air concert venue designed by Frank Gehry, whose futuristic architecture blends perfectly with the surrounding skyline. During the summer, this is the place for many outdoor concerts including the Grant Park Music Festival, the only remaining free, outdoor classical concert series in the U.S.
One of the great things about this park is that everything is easily accessible, so I strolled along the lovely landscaping and the impressive Crown Fountain to the Park Grill Restaurant, located at the entrance of the park. During the summer, the restaurant´s al fresco dining offers a great outdoor food experience; during the winter, you have a nice view of the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink, which invites you to take a romantic spin on the ice in the shadows of Chicago´s skyline. Over a bridge from the park is the Modern Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago.
I was looking forward to visiting what was until recently the highest building in the world, the Willis Tower, rising high above Chicago. At a breathtaking height of 412 meters, on the 103rd floor, you´ll find the Skydeck, offering a fantastic panoramic view of Chicago and Lake Michigan. For the brave among us, there´s also The Ledge, an enclosed glass balcony onto which you can take a few steps. Even the bottom of this balcony is made of glass, so it takes a bit of courage to step onto it. It takes even more courage to look down and see the ground far, far below! I had an unforgettable experience in this impressive building, one of the city’s many architectural masterpieces.
Throughout the year, Chicago hosts a number of great festivals, including the Lollapalooza music festival, the Chicago Jazz Festival, the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival during the holidays and the Taste of Chicago, one of the world´s biggest food festivals.
I´m already looking forward to my next visit to this fascinating metropolis, where there are countless amazing attractions to discover.