As you can tell, my blog recently underwent some construction, and I’m thrilled to be sharing this new design with you! I hope you’ll take time to look around the site, check out the categories (faith here, lifestyle here, and culture and travel here), and send me a note of anything you’d like to see on the blog in the future. Faith? Travel? Life? I’m going to try to do more travel posts, so let me know what you’d like to see!
I recently had coffee with a dear friend of mine who came into town for Christmas from Chicago. A couple years ago, I visited him – get this – in a day. I valeted my car at BNA, flew to Chicago early that morning, had a full day of all-things-touristy, and caught a 9:00 p.m. flight back to Nashville. Whew!
Visiting Chicago in a day is definitely possible, but obviously I’d suggest spending more than 12 hours in the Windy City just because there is so much to see and do. But whether you’re flying lark-like/nightingale-style and visiting for the day or you’re staying a grand total of two weeks, I’ve covered what you can see and do in a day’s time while there.
Once I arrived in Chicago, we took the L everywhere. A day pass is $10, and you can read here about the L. We headed downtown, got off the L, and started walking. We stopped in Chicago’s Loop, a happenin’ area with all kinds of restaurants, shops, The Art Institute of Chicago, Millennium Park, and lots of high-rises. The Loop is where Lollapalooza (a big four-day music festival) is every year. We passed The Art Institute, but not before I got sidetracked seeing Chicago’s Public Library. The place is huge and is any English major’s dream come true! It’s certainly worth peaking inside. (Side note: look how short and blond my hair was!)
Next, we went to a nearby Starbucks where people’s orders stretch all the way down Michigan Avenue, and then we headed over to Millennium Park. The park was bustling with people (obviously), with the main attraction being the famous Bean. The formal name of the Bean is Cloud Gate, and it’s a sculpture by an artist by the name of Sir Anish Kapoor. The Bean (Cloud Gate) is located smack-dab in the middle of AT&T Plaza. You can spend as long or as little time as you want in Millennium Park. Because I had so many other things I wanted to see, we did a walk through, and then it was on to other places in the Chicago Loop.
Starbucks in hand, we did a bit more sightseeing around the Chicago Loop before grabbing lunch at a local hotdog joint. There are so many perfect lunch spots in the Loop, you wouldn’t have trouble finding somewhere to eat. Since the area is home to plenty of businesses, the eateries are also efficient, and you don’t have to lose a ton of time. When we left and walked back to Michigan Avenue, I got to see Lake Street along the way which is where one of the scenes from The Dark Knight was filmed. (Actually, a lot of this movie was filmed in Chicago.)
We walked north on Michigan Avenue and moved into Magnificent Mile territory. Along the way, I saw the Chicago Tribune, one of Northwestern University’s campuses, and the beautiful, jaw-dropping shops on Michigan Avenue. We even had time to pop in a few on our way back from the John Hancock Center. Hancock isn’t as far as Lincoln Park, but it’s near North Side, so it’s a decent trek, but if it’s a pretty day and the weather is nice, the walk is lovely!
John Hancock Center was a serious highlight of the day and an unexpected one at that. I hadn’t planned on being shocked at the view, but wow was I! I was lucky to be there on a nice day so we could see for miles. The elevator ride was long, and I’m not one to like close quarters, but I really wasn’t bothered by the ride up, and once we were above the city, I was so glad I did it! The view was worth it.
After coming down the tower, we made our way back to the L because we were ready to embark on the real thing I wanted to see in Chicago: Ernest Hemingway’s birth home. His birthplace is in the northern part of Oak Park, which is a ways from downtown. I’m not sure if things have changed since the time I was there, so to be honest, this is something I’d want to check on before going back.
We toured Hemingway’s home first. Of course for me, I loved every minute of this tour because I’m a Hemingway fan. The man has intrigued me forever, so on this tour I got to see a little place of his history and where his life began.
Then after we finished up with the house tour, we went through the Ernest Hemingway Museum where much of his work, artifacts, letters, and so forth have been preserved. The house and museum were very close, so if you visit one, you just must visit the other.
After we looked at just about everything there was to look at, we got back on the L to get downtown and dig into some Chicago-style pizza. The restaurant we ate at was called Giordano’s, a well-known pizza place in Chicago. And let me tell you, the pizza was truly Chicago-style – in the best way. The crust was practically thick enough to make the pizza look like a cake! The place had a great atmosphere, the food was delicious, and it was a perfect ending to a fun-filled, sightseeing-overloaded, culturally-sound day. 🙂
If I went back, there are obviously still things I’d want to see like the museums, Navy Pier, the Sears (now Willis) Tower, and Wickerpark. So if I go for round 2, I’ll include all these next time! Until then…