Chicago Trips - Summer and Fall 2011

Chicago is pretty close to us, only about a 4.5 hour car or train ride. Riding the train is great, way more relaxing and fun than driving. Meet new people, get food while moving, listen to music, watch movies, or just sleep.

Chicago is famous for its architecture, particularly the skyscrapers. The Great Fire burned much of the downtown area, making rebuilding necessary. Architects from around the world came to design new buildings. There is an Architectural riverboat tour, where they point out various buildings along the river and tell their stories.

Chicago is along Lake Michigan, and while it doesn't have the full character or waves of an ocean, it can be pretty as well. The Lakeshore Trail is a very popular walking, running, and biking trail. Navy Pier, a large pier converted to a sort of amusement park and shopping mall, sticks out into the lake.

Chicago Skyscrapers

Getting up high in the city allows you to see a lot of great views that you wouldn't see from the street level. But sometimes looking up from below gives you a great look at the tall buildings as well, if you can find an open space to look up from a distance. For example, under the metal bars at the auditorium in Millennium Park, as shown in the second of the three images below. Note that in the image to the left, you can see these bars over the grass about a third of the way up, on the left.

In the first of the three images below, two of the buildings are so tall that we can't even see the tops of them, despite looking down on most of the other buildings. The one on the left is the Aon Center, and the one on the right is the amazing Aqua building.

Lakeshore Trail

Look at all those runners out on the trail in the picture on the left! I don't think I could even ride my bike out there with all those obstacles. Usually it's not so crowded with runners, but this was in the morning, some kind of runner rush hour. In the picture in the middle of the three below, Christina and I were off of the trail, we went down a dock to look at the boats. I couldn't believe people were playing beach volleyball in late October! The bike trail is sandy in this area, as you can see at the bottom of the picture. I think it was probably paved, just covered in sand blown by the wind. We have certainly felt a lot of wind in Chicago, definitely justifying the nickname "The Windy City".

Macy's New Year's decorations

From Macy's on State Street is the second largest department store in the world and is recognized as a National Historic Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. There is another picture from inside Macy's in the last section below.

Millennium Park

There are two skating rinks in the park, this one is further down Randolph Street and is not as crowded as the one out on Michigan Avenue. Here's the auditorium from a different angle, "the bean" shown from a distance, and Sandra and Christina on the curvy, cool bridge that goes over the top of Columbus Drive.


For some reason, in downtown Chicago there is a giant sculpture of Marilyn Monroe in her famous pose where the wind from the subway grating was blowing up her skirt! We were really surprised by the view around the back of it! I've read that she was actually larger than current beauty standards, and I wonder if she really looked like this, or if it has been sculpted to fit the current ideals?


Here are a few more pictures that are interesting but that didn't fit into the sections above. To the left is the amazing Aqua building, an award-winning skyscraper that has very unique-looking balconies. This building is very tall and the balconies are very scary up high. There is a picture of people on one of those balconies on my WOW! page. Below, from the left, an Escher-like shot of escalators inside Macy's, a view down the inside of Macy's, and a shot of miniature flower gardens on pedestals in Millennium Park.