Visiting Chicago. “The Wind City”
Today I’m writing the last post of this Route 66 series ¡Chicago!. Travel along Route 66 is a great experience and write this series about how to do was another great experience. I hope you’ll find it interesting and useful. We will continuously improve each post with the contributions of you people, so please give us as much feedback as possible!. Make your comments and let us know if we’ve missed something, or if with the time some of the places that we have mentioned have closed or moved. We really value and need your contributions.
Yesterday you had the opportunity to know some places in Chicago and you have the whole day to take advantage and know everything you can about this city. Chicago is an architecturally beautiful city. It’s a pleasure to walk around and see the Modernist buildings of the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century. They call themselves “The Windy City”. The reason is here. The wind is almost every day. But it is not just wander the city, because as every great city, has those places you should not miss.
There is the option of buying a CityPass that costs about $ 100 and gives you access to 5 attractions, is valid for 9 days and you may find it interesting if you decide to be more than one day in Chicago. If you only are going to be one day, you have to analyze well your timing and what you want to visit. It is possible that for one day the CityPass is not profitable to you, and there are interesting things to do that do not require to pay any entrance. Here I’ll mention places or activities of interest and if you have access with CityPass or not. I will also mention some parks and although I mentioned it in the previous post, in case you haven’t read it…
The Navy Pier. No Cost.
The Navy Pier is the main Pier of Chicago and is one of the most visited of Chicago. It has businesses and attractions and is full of tourists. Right close to it is the botanical garden which is truly amazing. The Navy Pier is almost 100 years old and from him depart the Shoreline Sightseeing tours that I’ve mentioned below, so it’s a good place to start your visit to Chicago. If you go too soon they will be closed, but at 09:00 they are already running. At Navy Pier there are attractions and also places of interest including the Giant Ferris Wheel of Chicago, the Shakespeare Theatre or the IMAX cinema, none of them included in the CityPass so you will have to pay if you want to get in them.
Sightseeing Boat. Architecture River Tours. Not included in CityPass
This is the visit or activity I would do in the morning. The first boat leaves at 10:00 and so can you can go for a walk in the morning before the Navy Pier and the botanical garden open. As I’ve mentioned Chicago is proud of its architectural beauty. With the “sightseeing boat” you travel by the Chicago River in the areas where’re seeing its most prominent. You will also have the opportunity to cross the gate system that joins Chicago river with Lake Michigan which is one of the great Lakes. They take you into the lake and you can see the skyline of Chicago from the lake. It’s pretty good. It costs $ 40 per person and it is about an hour and a quarter. The organizer is Shoreline Sightseeing, this is the one we know but surely there are more.
The Magnificent Mile. No cost.
With this name a bit bombastic it is defined a stretch of Michigan Avenue which runs between Chicago River and Oak Street. You can walk it after the sightseeing boat as it is 15 minutes walk from the Navy Pier to Michigan Avenue as it passes over the river. It is the most important street of Chicago where you can find the big hotels, shops, theaters, companies, etc. You can walk it no rush watching the shopfronts, and the life of the city. Even has its own web where you can check what to see or if there is something special while you are staying. There are also guided tours.
The most popular tour of the Magnificent Mile is the 360 Chicago. It does have a cost although it is included in the CityPass. If you don’t get the CityPass then it is $ 18 per person. It is located in a skyscraper at 875 N Michigan Avenue, in the 94th floor. This floor is glazed all around the perimeter and allows you to have an 360º overview of Chicago. If you have been at the 103th floor of the Sears Tower “The SkyDeck” it is more or less the same.
Millenium Park. No Cost.
If you go south by Michigan Avenue it ends right at the “bean”. Well, you have arrived at the main and most important Chicago park. It is right close to Grant Park and the Chicago shoreline with Lake Michigan. This park and Grant park have become one of the cultural centers where art especially sculptures and works of renowned artists are exhibited. It is worth taking a walk around the park. The best known of Millenium Park is “The Bean” or “The Cloud Gate”. They call it in several ways, it is a giant stainless steel bean that lets you have a panoramic view of Chicago and the sky. In Grant Park you can see also very interesting sculptures and works like Agora. Many free concerts are made in Millenium Park so if you are lucky you can enjoy one. Check its web to know what is going to be organized during your stay at Chicago. If you get to Millenium Park from Michigan Avenue, then Park Avenue extends from Michigan Avenue to the shoreline going south.
The Art Institute of Chicago. Included in City Pass.
With CityPass you can choose to visit this place or the Adler Planetarium. The Art Institute of Chicago is the largest art museum in Chicago no doubt. If I have to choose I’ll choose this museum, but my preferences doesn’t have to be the same as yours. It is a museum of modern and classic art and it’s huge, with about 300,000 works in its collection. It is considered one of the best museums in the world.
The Field Museum. Included in CityPass.
Right at the end of Grant Park is The Field Museum. It is a museum of science and natural history. It is one of the most important museums in Chicago. You can see exhibitions of every kind from anthropology and natural science, mineralogy, history or dinosaurs. An access pass to the museum costs about $ 30. It is huge, so it will take time. There are some days of the year when admission is free. They are posted on their website so keep that in mind. They also have a mobile application that lets you define tours in the museum.
Shedd Aquarium. Included in CityPass.
So close to The Field Museum is Shedd Aquarium. It is a huge aquarium where you can see exhibitions about the underwater life of the Amazon, the Pacific and Caribbean seas. Also it has aquariums where simulate water conditions of more than 80 locations worldwide. You can see whales, dolphins and sea lions or watch a performance in the amphitheater. They have also thematic exhibitions that change from time to time.
Adler Planetarium. Included in CityPass.
Very close to The Field Museum and Shedd Aquarium. Another planetarium more. Although it is spectacular it is not one of my preferences if I only have one day in Chicago. I mention it because it is included in the CityPass and is next to the aquarium, nothing else.
Museum of Science and Industry. Included in CityPass.
Considered one of the largest science museums of the continent. It’s a museum of science, technology and industry so be prepared for all kinds of machines, models, simulations, robots, automation, etc. One of the exhibits that attracted the most attention is the authentic German submarine U-505 and you can get inside. You can see also one of the first trains in the United States, or an exhibition of robots and robotics. There’s variety and it is interactive which makes it an interesting visit. The downside? it is far from downtown, about 5 miles south so you have to move by car.
I think you have more than enough for a day or two so you just have to choose what to visit.
Congratulations on your journey and I hope what it has given you is worth the effort we have made. Feel free to share your experience with us! It is important for us and helps a lot!.
But as I said at the beginning in the first post of this series, think we have crossed only 8 states and some of them just through a little corner!, there always be a reason to return….
“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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