Chicago is a wealth of magnificent architecture, indoor and outdoor art, jazz and excitement. Interesting galleries and museums abound. The open parkland of the waterfront stretching for miles is itself a work of art, a vision that was sustained from the early 1900s by planners through many changes in politicians.
Our first taste came on the bus trip to Chicago when we stopped for a tour of architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s Meyer May House in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Moving on in a downpour that we’d thus far avoided, we found the windy city wet and cold. Fortunately the weather improved for the day in Oak Park where the focus was once again the work of Wright, including his house and studio. Many of the houses in the area, which we saw on a neighbourhood walk, were designed by him in his unique prairie style.
Our hotel, the Palmer House, with its high interior domed lobby, is a jewel situated in the Loop, an area defined by the elevated transit that surrounds the downtown area. We could walk from there in our free time to many of the city’s highlights. Millenium Park, another visionary creation of this city where outdoor art intrigues, was just a few blocks away. As was the Art Institute of Chicago.
On such a short trip, one can only scratch the surface, but with our architectural tour from a river cruise of the many styles of buildings to walking in Millenium Park, to visiting the Art Institute, a jazz club, the top of the Hancock Tower and a city tour that included Wrigley Field, we had a stimulating introduction to a major cultural centre built where the Chicago River entered Lake Michigan and now flows inland at the behest of those who did not want the sewage to contaminate their drinking water.
Oh yes, and the food was good, too! And the camaraderie.