Tuesday, September 24, 2013

POSITIVELY MY KIND OF TOWN


by Mauverneen

Looking into the city
 
Although I grew up about 40 miles southwest of a world class travel destination - that great big wonderful windy city of Chicago, I tend to take it for granted. And like most people around here, I don’t get there often enough. A fact that hits home whenever I do get there. ‘Why don’t I come here more often?’ is what I ask myself every time! 



Iconic guardians of the Art Institute

Chicago is a city of contrasts – the old and the new, the North Shore with the South Side, Grant Park and Buckingham Fountain with Millennium Park and Crown fountain, Trump Tower and Marina Towers, The Water Tower and Willis (Sears) Tower.  Ethnic neighborhoods that are small cities in themselves.



Very clever planters!
 
When I do get downtown I am always impressed. There is an energy, an excitement, a vibrancy that you can feel!  I become the ultimate tourist, impressed by the wonderful architecture, gazing upward in awe at the height of the buildings, mesmerized by the beauty of the lakefront and the views from the tops of some of the tallest buildings in the world.


Looking up at the Hancock
I love being a tourist here! There are restaurants and museums and shows and shopping galore and although State Street isn’t quite that Great Street anymore, there is the Magnificent Mile - and magnificent it is! I have to confess to missing the old State Street, where Marshall Fields and Carson Pirie Scott had floors of merchandise and bargain basements and shoe stores like Bakers and Chandlers always seemed to call my name. But shopping on Michigan Avenue? Oooh la la!  High end department stores and specialty stores entice. I walk down Michigan Avenue, keeping pace with the people who live and work there, seemingly always hurrying to their next appointment. But I’m on my own time and I pause to admire an interesting store window, take photos of the buildings or just do some people watching. 



"I saw a man who danced with his wife" - right on Michigan Ave!
 
The Chicago museums are world class – and although I haven’t seen them all, I always enjoy being introduced to a new one.  The Adler Planetarium, the Shedd Aquarium, and the Field Museum are literally within steps of each other, the Museum of Science and Industry is just a short jog south, and the Art Institute is a prominent fixture on Michigan Avenue, right next door to the wonderful ‘Bean’.



Having fun at Cloud Gate - aka 'The Bean'
 
You can walk the lakefront from the Planetarium to Navy Pier and beyond, enjoying wonderful skyline views of the city and the blue waters of Lake Michigan. In summer, as the lake breeze cools your face and tussles your hair, it’s impossible not to daydream as you pass the yachts and sailboats anchored at the docks.
 


I think I get it
 
Navy Pier has become a destination in itself, with it’s restaurants, shops, and 150 foot high Ferris Wheel.  It has performance stages, a Shakespeare Theatre, an exhibition hall that houses art exhibits and seasonal events like the spring Flower Show and the Winter Wonderfest.  You can book a dinner cruise or a boat tour, watch a fireworks display during the summer months, or if you’re lucky, catch the Tall Ships when they sail into town.  The Chicago Children’s Museum is located on the pier and there is even a permanent, free display of 150 stained glass windows (The Smith Museum) on the main level - all by prominent designers and almost all were originally housed in Chicago buildings. Truly something for everyone!

 
Navy Pier
I’d be hard pressed to name my favorite thing to do in Chicago - I love everything about it. And I am making a resolution right now to get there more often.  It really is my kind of town!


Mauverneen
Chicago at night
As always, words and photos are my own, and require permission to reprint.
However, feel free to share the blog in it's entirety. In fact, I encourage it!
 
Interested in photo prints? Contact me! maureenblevins@yahoo.com
and visit my website: http://mauverneen.com

2 comments:

  1. Found your blog from the Writing Travellers group on LinkedIn. I'm from KS and just visited Chicago for the first time last month. I absolutely loved it! We stayed downtown and pretty much walked everywhere (and rented bicycles one day, too). We also took one of the river/lake cruises. It was so much fun and I would love to go back again someday. So much to see and do. And I also saw those clever planters and took a picture of them myself! :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Maureen,
    Loved my tour of Chicago, have never been but you make me want to go! Your words made me think of similar ones I've voiced about NYC. A Long Island native, I've only visited the city a hand full of times, a shame.
    ~Phyllis~

    ReplyDelete