Let me start with this, Chicago was never on my list of places to visit, yet this summer I went and was very pleasantly surprised. It is a thriving, well-developed city of fine dining, art, museums, shopping streets and parks, which can never get you bored.
I would love to share with you guys some of my impressions and give a little guide of what you can do there by telling how I enjoyed spending my day in the city.
The flight from Bulgaria is not a short one and jet lag was unavoidable. We landed at 5pm local time totally exhausted and hungry, so we decided to go for some American style ribs place on the way to the Swiss Hotel where we stayed. Being so tired I will be honest I don’t even remember the name; I just know it was in Downtown. Afterwards we went straight to the hotel and by 9pm we were asleep.
The first morning as expected I woke up around 6am wondering what am I going to do so early. I looked through the window and realized that our hotel is literally on the Lake, so I went for an early morning walk to explore the surroundings.
It was amazing, it was really warm, the morning breeze from the Lake could be felt, I grabbed a cup of coffee from Starbucks and went for a refreshing walk along the river.
Breakfast we had at the Geneva style hotel buffet, which had a choice of morning energizers.
After the morning, we went for a walk on Michigan Avenue (Chicago’s most prestigious shopping district, its north side is also known as the Magnificent Mile), where you can find all kinds of luxury boutiques, multiband and department stores. After our little shopping trip we sat down for a nice lunch at Cheesecake Factory, for those who are not familiar with the name, it is an American restaurant chain and is absolutely delicious, I am in love with their filet mignon.
Late afternoon seemed like the perfect time to visit some tourist attractions and luckily our hotel turned out to be located walking distance from quite a few of the popular site-seeing spots. Millennium Park, which is Chicago main green area, is home to many famous art works including Cloud Gate, Crown Fountain, The Bean and McCormick Tribune Ice Rink, drawing visitors all year around. Likewise, the park presents events, concerts and sports days, which are open and free for all those who would like joining. In the manner, going to Chicago and not visiting Millennium Park is a pity.
Chicago is home to some of the first skyscrapers and their modern architecture is considered the city’s landmark. I personally, don’t see anything special about looking at a tall building as nowadays they can be seen in almost every slightly bigger city.
However, there is one skyscraper that I am a big fan of and this is Tribune Tower. What makes the building so unique and worth seeing is the neo-Gothic construction with an exterior façade which includes a collection of bricks from some of the most famous historic buildings in the world. Fragments from the Great Wall of China, Notre Dame de Paris, Great Pyramid and many others historically important constructions can be observed at Tribune Tower. It is definitely a must to go and see it.
The summer evenings in Chicago are beautiful, so you should definitely dine outdoors; there are plenty of choices. A personal favorite spot of mine is Navy Pier; it has plenty of restaurants, rides and shopping. I was also very lucky to watch the fireworks from the pier, as they started as soon as we sat at the Riva restaurant that has a view towards it.
Another place that caught my attention was the rooftop lounge at Trump Tower, it is on the 16th floor and it has an amazing terrace featuring Lake Michigan, I would strongly recommend trying the mini burger there. For Trump Tower it is a bit tricky with the tables, because is on first come, first serve basis, but is almost always full. In case you want to make a reservation is $100 charge per person just for the booking, consummation is not included.
The good thing is that Downtown Chicago has quite a few rooftops, which offer stylish lounges and panoramic view, so even if Trump Tower is at its full capacity, The Wit Hotel, Vertigo Sky Lounge and Cindy’s Rooftop Bar are a perfect alternative.