Yes!! Today you arrive in Chicago!! You are finishing the Route 66 with this final stretch, Bloomington-Chicago!!! You have driven a lot of kilometers. There were two feelings for me this day. On one hand I was eager to reach my final destination. On the other hand, I was feeling pity because these were the final steps of an intense and great trip.
We start in Bloomington, at 135 miles from Chicago. Gettingh to Chicago we will take relatively little time, although there are still some things to do. To take the Route 66 in Bloomington you must take Sherbourne Dr, and go straight ahead. The continuation of Sherlbourne Dr is Route 66. Keep going through Lexington and Pontiac until you reach Odell.
In Odell you have the “Odell Standard Station”, which was built in 1930. In 1999 the city bought it to restore it and now is in very good condition. We pass by Dwight where still stand buildings created by the famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
Just after Dwight the route splits. The first way is directed towards Plainfield, and the second one is directed towards Joliet. We took the second one because we found it more interesting. The first town is Wilmington, here is the “Gemini Giant”. The “Gemini Giant” is one of the giants classics that were placed along many roads and highways in the United States, including, of course, the Route 66. They are about 20 feet high and often have a hand with the palm up and the other palm down, to hold some kind of tool or item. They were known as the “Muffler Man” because usually they were placed in front of auto cars holding a Muffler. In the case of the Gemini Giant, you’ll see that in the hands it holds a rocket and also wears a helmet. This is because it was redesigned to advertise the “Launching Pad” which was a cafe just in front of it, the redesign was to turn it into a kind of astronaut with a rocket in his hands.
We leave Wilmington behind and drive to Joliet, known as “The City of Spires” because of the large number of churches in the area which have Spires. In Joliet you have the Rialto Square Theatre (102 N. Chicago Street), it was a luxury theater which was built in 1925. It was known as “The Jewel of Joliet” and it’s decoration is pretty baroque. You also have a museum of Route 66 (204 N. Ottawa Street) and of course “The Old Joliet Prison” (1125 Collins Street), the same that appears on the movie “The Blues Brothers” and the television series “Prison Break”. The entrance is not allowed for now. Now you’re getting closer to the suburbs of Chicago, you begin to notice that you are near one of the major US cities.
But before you dive in Chicago I recommend a final stop, Romeoville, where you can see The White Fence Farm. It is a pretty big restaurant/complex specialized in chicken dinners that started operating in 1920. It has a giant chicken in front of the entrance and inside there’s a museum of vintage cars and a small zoo, among other things.
Arriving in Chicago
And, gentlemen, we are in Chicago. Undoubtedly, Chicago has two characteristic points of the Route 66 where travelers that were beginning their journey went to breakfast or lunch. The first is Lou Mitchell’s, a place especially for breakfast, well-known since the vast majority of travelers had breakfast here first. The second one is Pizzeria Uno, who invented the “Deep-dish pizza” which with the time become the “Chicago style” pizza.
There is a point where you have to go, E Adams St between S Michigan & Wabash Ave, what’s there Fernando? you should ask. Well, just there is the sign that indicates you have just get to the point where Route 66 begins. It’s your final destination, you’ve been chasing this sign for the last 15 days !. Congrats, you’ve arrived.
You’ve got all afternoon to explore the city of Chicago. My recommendation, check in at the hotel first so you don’t have to carry everything around the downtown and you can just wander. You don’t have any specific place to go today. I recommend you to go to the Sears Tower this night and get on the floor 103. It is called “The SkyDeck” and you can see Chicago at night. It’s amazing. You can also do it tomorrow if today is not a good day. But if you want, I can recommend some things you can do tonight, given that tomorrow you would like to visit Chicago.
You can give a good walk through Millenium Park. It is a pretty nice park. It is the one with the famous bean-shaped stainless steel sculpture called “The Cloud Gate”. Millenium Park is a 10-hectare park that always has activities, cultural exhibitions, events, concerts … It also has an outdoor theater, Roman style but modern, of course. Within the Millenium Park, the Lurie Garden is representing the four seasons, is very nice. You can also visit it tomorrow if you don’t want to go today.
You can also visit Grant Park, it is much bigger than Millenium Park, about 120 hectares, and is right next to it. It has many sculptures and cultural activities and is one of the cultural centers of the city. I like a lot the Agora sculpture. There are like half-bodies that seem to be walking.
I leave you to rest because tomorrow you will have busy day. Any suggestions? Any questions? you know, write us and we will always answer.
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness”. – Mark Twain
This post is part of a Series about Route 66 Itinerary.
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