Blogs from Chicago, Illinois, United States, North America


North America » United States » Illinois » Chicago March 11th 2021 11th March - North Grant Park and Millennium Park Grant Park's beginnings dates back to 1835, when citizens, fearing commercial lakefront development, lobbied to protect the open space. As a result, the park's original area east of Michigan Avenue was designated "public ground forever to remain vacant of buildings." After the Great Fire of 1871, the area became a dump site for piles of charred rubble, the first of many landfill additions. In 1901, the city transferred the park to the South Park Commission, which named it for Ulysses S. Grant,18th President of the United States. Renowned architect Daniel H. Burnham envisioned Grant Park as a formal landscape with museums and civic buildings. However, construction was stalled by lawsuits to protect the park's open character. Finally, in 1911, the Illinois S... read more

North America » United States » Illinois » Chicago October 27th 2019

Chicago was a city that I had always wanted to revisit. I went when I was 16 years old in a travel camp, but I didn't remember much from the trip. I was happy to discuss the trip with my friend Kenny and also visit Milwaukee. As the trip got closer, I had a lot going on with moving to North Carolina and starting a new job. I was able to push back the start date to the following Monday which gave me an extra day when I got home to finish packing and then drive down with my dad. I arrived at LaGuardia airport and noted how fascinating it was to see how the construction has evolved over time since my days of working at Terminal B. The TSA precheck line was decently long and ... read more

North America » United States » Illinois » Chicago July 19th 2019

We’re waiting to go to the airport hoping the flight can leave on time. A number of flights have been cancelled this week because temperatures have been too hot for planes to take off. But it’s only 35 so far today, not as hot as expected so fingers crossed. We have met up with Alison and Lance from the American Queen so did a river and lake architectural cruise this morning. A real relief out on the breezy water. The skyline is spectacular from the water with lots of parks and amenities, including a science museum and aquarium on the water front. No condos or hotels are allowed in order to give people access to the shore, although there is a 6 lane highway between them and the shore, accessed via underpasses every so often. It’s ... read more
One of many iron bridges
About as much room as on the Ohio
A dramatic design

North America » United States » Illinois » Chicago July 18th 2019

A couple of coincidences happened today. At breakfast over the road at the Hilton who should walk in but our dinner buddies on the American Queen, Allison and Lance, fellow NZers. They are staying at the same hotel and catching the same flight home on Friday night. We are hoping we will get away as a number of flights have been cancelled because of the heat and it’s meant to get hotter. This morning we woke up to an impressive thunder storm and torrential rain. fortunately we had our trusty Kathmandu raincoats with us. Not like the first day we were here when a couple of nice security guards gave us their ponchos when we were caught short at the outdoor concert arena. Free concerts or outdoor movies alternate at Millennium park but unfortunately at about ... read more
Outdoor concert arena designed by Frank Gehry.
‘Jeanne’ by Manet
‘Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte’ by Seurat

North America » United States » Illinois » Chicago July 17th 2019

I have always loved the work of the architect Frank Lloyd Wright for his clean, modern lines so no trip to Chicago would be complete without doing a tour of his work there. We met at the Rookery building downtown so named because of the previous City Hall built on that site - an allusion not only to the crows and pigeons that inhabited it but also to the politicians. The name stuck. The new building in 1888, was one of the earliest buildings built with a steel skeleton frame. Frank Lloyd Wright was asked to update the interior in 1905. Two very knowledgeable guides, Joan and Bill, shared so much information with us - they have to be certified to talk about specific buildings. After a tour of the Rookery we headed out to Oak ... read more
Looking up the spiral staircase
A lancet window in the Unity Temple to let in light

North America » United States » Illinois » Chicago April 2nd 2019

I woke up feeling pretty well rested from my amazing stay at Comfort Inn. I took advantage of the free breakfast and then took the free shuttle to the Syracuse Hancock Airport. My first flight went smoothly. The flight was packed, but it was only two hours to Chicago, if that. No biggie. Then I got to O'Hare. This is were things got stressful. I did some research and learned that the international flight terminal is separate from the other terminals, and the usual express rail that transports you there was down for renovations until the fall of 2019. Not to worry, I read. There would be plenty of shuttles and buses for us travelers. I got off my flight and decided to immediately get to my gate. At first, O'Hare seemed so beautiful and cool. ... read more
Chicaco O'Hare
Chicaco O'Hare
Chicaco O'Hare

North America » United States » Illinois » Chicago September 19th 2018

My mom is the youngest of five children. All but two of them live within a half-mile radius of my childhood home. I have one uncle who lives in Durham, NC and another who lives in Chicago, IL. When my husband and I were able to travel to Illinois a few weeks ago for a work conference, we extended the trip by a few days so we could spend time with my uncle in his neck of the woods. He is an author of religious studies and travels quite frequently for his work. As such, he manages to come visit us every now and again, though it had been years since we had visited him up north. In the interim since we had taken that trek, he moved from his home in the suburbs to an ... read more
John Hancock Building
Waiting to Board the CTA

North America » United States » Illinois » Chicago June 17th 2018

Well we had set the alarm to go off at 3.20am which is a crazy way to start a holiday but we had a 7.03am flight to catch and as are going to Chicago, it’s an international flight with extra security. Breakfast was not open but they let us grab a muffin and some bananas. The shuttle to the airport was not operating so they put us in a taxi for the short 10 minute ride to the United Airlines terminal. We had a good run through security and immigration, and interestingly we did not go through Canada immigration but through USA even though we were in Canada? The good news is that means when we arrive in Chicago it is a domestic flight so no security when we get there. We had breakfast at Tim ... read more
Amazing architecture here
Chicago streets are really pretty
Downtown Chicago

North America » United States » Illinois » Chicago May 18th 2018

Friday, May 18th. We had fun today. We had a relatively short drive from Port Washington to downtown Chicago. Once again we altered our plans and decided to explore downtown before driving out to the suburbs to meet our friends. We drove along the coast and entered the Millennium Park Garage. It was below the Harris Theatre and adjacent to the Millennium Amphitheater. From there it is a short walk to the river. We took a 1.5 hour "Architecture Tour" on the Chicago River. It was very informative and relaxing. That is until the rain started. The city has seen a lot of development over the last 100 years and the architectural trends are apparent. Plus, it is not over. New projects along the river are still underway. One issue of note was the "river walk" ... read more
Millennium Park
Chicago River Architecture Tour

North America » United States » Illinois » Chicago May 13th 2018

Hyde Park, Chicago, IL We’ve been using our current campground as a home base while we explore two very different areas - the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and the City of Chicago. Mostly it works, especially for the shorter trips to the Lakeshore areas for beach walking and hikes. I have to admit, though, that managing our Chicago experiences has been difficult at times, mostly because of the logistics. There are just two ways to get to Chicago - commuter train and car. The Train is cheaper, but you are bound by their schedule and on the weekends, that schedule can really be difficult to work with because there are many fewer trains running. Driving takes less time and works on your timetable, but, including gas and parking, ends up being expensive. The frustrations of finding ... read more

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