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Published: October 8th 2010
The Magnificent Mile
A sign showing the Magnificent Mile
We weren’t looking forward to the nightmare that is US customs and immigration, but we discovered at check-in that these are actually cleared in Canada and then you effectively fly domestically. We were hence spared the queues from hell when we got to Chicago.
Our arrival in Chicago wasn't without some grief however as the traffic from the airport was a horrendous and it took us about two hours to get to our hotel. We took an airport bus, which we initially thought was a mistake, however it was a fixed price so it saved us from the stress of watching the meter clocking up in a taxi whilst we crawled along.
After only a couple of hours walking in Chicago we also realised how psychotic their taxi drivers are. Red lights definitely don’t apply to them. They could easily teach the London taxi drivers a thing or two, if that can be believed.
There are various debates about what counts towards the official height of a building, namely whether you can include radio masks, spires or whatever. Suffice to say that the precise details are way too tedious to get into. There are two towers in Chicago
Hancock Tower View
The view from the top of the Hancock Tower at dusk
to go to the top of: the Sears Tower and the Hancock Tower.
We started by going to the top of the Hancock Tower, with its observatory on the 94th floor. At that height, the difference between it and the Sears Tower was way too marginal to give a dam, and we preferred it by far. It wasn’t anything like as busy, it had loads of space to walk around, the queues to get to the top were a lot shorter, as were the ones to get down, and we didn't have to suffer the compulsory "tour".
There were some dubious photo opportunities at the top. In one the children can stand in front of a false picture of the view and pretend that they are outside cleaning the windows. In the other, they can lean against a false girder and pretend that they are outside with nothing but that girder between them and the ground 94 floors below. Yes, yes very tacky, but we took the pictures anyway.
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