Sitting Pretty in the Windy City; Skyscrapers, Shopping, Bars, Jazz, Eateries, Museums and Monuments. Yes, Chicago Has So Much Going on It's Bound to Be Your Kind of Town - and Now It's Even Easier to Get There

Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland), May 31, 2014 | Go to article overview

Sitting Pretty in the Windy City; Skyscrapers, Shopping, Bars, Jazz, Eateries, Museums and Monuments. Yes, Chicago Has So Much Going on It's Bound to Be Your Kind of Town - and Now It's Even Easier to Get There


Byline: REBECCA WRIGHT reporters@dailyrecord.co.uk

The wind's definitely blowing in the right direction if you fancy a visit to the Windy City this summer because now you can fly direct from Scotland to Chicago.

Arriving in downtown Chicago - known as the Loop - one of the first things I noticed was the incredible architecture.

Grand art-deco skyscrapers (the city is home to some of the first skyscrapers after architects were given free rein to build following the Great Fire of 1871) jostle with modern glass buildings like Trump Tower and the "corn on the cobs" of 1960s Marina City.

But once I'd lifted my chin back up off the floor, the next thing that struck me is just how friendly the locals are.

Over the course of my four-day trip, I lost count of the times people said, "Welcome to Chicago" or, "Enjoy Chicago", or just stopped on the street to say hello and wave.

Once I got my bearings, I found that getting around town was simple - like most US cities, Chicago's on a grid pattern - and you can walk or take a cab to most of the attractions in the Loop.

To go further afield, you can use the "L" (elevated train), which rattles away above the streets. A single ride is $3. But one of the best ways to get to know the city is by taking to the water. I hopped aboard Chicago's First Lady for a Chicago Architecture River Cruise.

Harry - our volunteer guide - was hugely knowledgeable about the city's history and its buildings, reeling off facts and figures about the number of floors, the materials used and the names of the architects' firms involved.

Another must-do is a walk around the busy Millennium Garden, which features impressive public works of art such as Anish Kapoor's Cloud Gate - known to the locals as The Bean. With its mirrored surfaces reflecting the city skyline, it's a popular spot for taking pictures and enjoying a bit of people-watching.

A stroll around Navy Pier and the area by its side gives you an excellent sense of the city perched on the huge expanse of Lake Michigan.

As for the rest of the city's sights, I invested in the excellent value City Pass, which allows you entry to five of Chicago's best attractions at half the normal price of $93.

Once I'd got my pass, my first stop was the Art Institute of Chicago with its giant bronze lions flanking the entrance.

Inside, there's a vast collection including works by American artists Georgia O'Keeffe and John Singer Sargent, as well as the classic American Gothic by Grant Wood. My next port of call was Willis Tower, formerly Sears Tower, the 11th-highest building in the world. The skydeck allows you incredible 360 degree views of Chicago and on a clear day you can see four states.

I wasn't up to it but, for the brave, there's a special glass ledge overhanging the building you can stand on and look down 1353ft. All that sightseeing makes you hungry and Chicago's got a great restaurant scene. It has now earned itself a reputation for Michelin-quality food.

Most of the fancier restaurants are in the west Loop, with places like the Girl and the Goat and Alinea causing big waves. …

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Sitting Pretty in the Windy City; Skyscrapers, Shopping, Bars, Jazz, Eateries, Museums and Monuments. Yes, Chicago Has So Much Going on It's Bound to Be Your Kind of Town - and Now It's Even Easier to Get There
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