Friday, November 22, 2013

The Best View of Chicago

We had a cousin of Abdulhamid's visiting with us a few weeks ago, and naturally when anyone comes this close to Chicago, they ask for a day of sightseeing there.  Sometimes we take the train because Chicago is a city that is easy to get around using the transit system.  Because there were 5 of us, we opted to bring our car this time.  Parking in downtown Chicago is extremely expensive by Milwaukee standards, but 5 train tickets would have been much more.

We parked at Millennium Park, which is very near the lakefront.  It's a nice central location to see a few sights.  There's a parking garage underground.  Then you can take the elevator to street level and exit right at the ice rink.  Of course everyone gets a thrill out of the several story high face that changes every few minutes.  People are always looking for the camera thinking they can put their own face up there, but these are recorded faces.  During summer this is a splash pad, but in fall, it was just a concrete rink.  We walked up and around to see Cloudgate, more affectionately called "The Bean".  About a hundred people were already finding their reflections and snapping photos.  Omar, who is 8, just wanted to climb under it and see how many reflections he could find of himself.  It's a fun way to spend 15 minutes.  We had to drag Omar away though.  It turned out to be way more fun once he got involved with another group of kids and they all began to roll on the ground, chasing reflections.  A group of 3 pretty girls were holding signs which said "Free Hugs" and we found many people taking them up on the offer.  It's just a fun place to people watch.  If you stand still and listen, you will hear many different languages.
Cloudgate catches reflections of the city and the people nearby

The trees were in fall color

You can have a lot of fun with the indentations in this silver bean

From here we had to have Giordano's Pizza, which is just across the street, north of the park.  You have to wait for a table and preorder your pizza because it takes 45 minutes to prepare.  It's deep dish with loads of cheese and toppings stuffed inside like a pie.  I love it and eat it every chance I get.  Usually one slice is plenty.
Best pizza around!
Around the city currently are a bunch of painted fireplugs- an art display.  We saw a few of them.  You can read more about them at the Great Chicago Fire Hydrant website.  Each hydrant is about 5 feet tall and painted by an artist.  Lots of fun trying to find them!



We caught a taxi to what I now know is the very best place to see the overhead view of Chicago, the John Hancock building.  We had been to Sears tower with a number of guests in the past, but it is expensive.  There are usually long lines.  I read on trip advisor  that you could go to the top of the John Hancock and see more of the lakefront, but also the rest of the city.  You can purchase a ticket for the observation deck, but we went to the Signature Lounge for free.  It's the 96th floor.  There's a restaurant on the floor below in case you are really hungry.  We ordered coffees and cheesecake for about what we might have paid for tickets to the observation deck, but we could relax, walk around the lounge area, and enjoy the whole experience much more, in my opinion.  And if you're a woman, you MUST go to the women's bathroom to take a look at the view.  I saw very few ladies actually using the toilets.  Everyone was instead lining up against the glass for a beautiful view.  I heard the men's toilets had no view at all.  My niece went here at sunset and took beautiful photos of the sunset and the buildings as they started to be lit.  I think even if you're a Chicago native, you'd enjoy the view.
View from the ladies' room

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