[travelousness] Chicago, USA

Chicago, USA | Redesigned By M

I’m back from my summer vacation y’all! (And no, I’m not a Southerner, but writing and saying y’all is so much simpler sometimes!) Did you miss me??? Haha – you don’t have to answer that! But, I missed YOU and blogging! Feels good to be typing on my laptop again talking to myself, but pretending like I’ve got a vast audience in front of me hanging on my every word. Ah, blogging!

Let me start off by telling you that Chicago was HOT, HOT, HOT!! Literally! The temps clocked in between 89-95 every. day. And if you don’t recall from my last post that indicated my hiatus from blogging, I was sick as a dog the few days prior to departure. Unfortunately, I wasn’t 100% healthy when I boarded the plane, so I spent the week in Chicago coughing uncontrollably, sniffling, blowing my nose, lightheaded, and exhausted. The bright side was that I didn’t have all over body aches! Yay, score!

Still, I aimed to have a helluva trip despite my less than stellar health conditions because I know I have, like, two readers who love my Travelousness posts and I wanted to make sure I had some stuff to write about. The things I put myself through for you two faithful readers! *wink*

The main theme of this trip to Chicago was architecture. When I was reminded that Frank Lloyd Wright spent a great deal of his life and career in this town, I had to see everything FLW related. Let’s get started!

The Itinerary

This trip took place August 20-27, 2013.
Thanks to my rocking friend, Cari, who hosted us for the entire week!

Day 1
Arrived at O’Hare Airport via Sea-Tac Airport around 6:30PM.
Traveled to friend’s apartment via subway and bus.
Dinner at Aroy Thai on Damen and Lawrence.

Day 2
Architectural Boat Tour of Chicago.
Window shopping on the Magnificent Mile.
Dinner at Grand Lux Cafe in downtown.
Watched fireworks show at Navy Pier.

Day 3
Baseball game: Chicago Cubs vs Washington Nationals
Dinner with my uncle (who was also visiting at the same time!)

Day 4
Tour of Frank Lloyd Wright’s home and studio in Oak Park.
Dinner at Portillo’s for an Italian Beef Sandwich.
Dessert at Ghirardelli.

Day 5
I took a sick day 😦
Mr. M spent the afternoon at the Museum of Science and Industry.
Dinner with friends/hosts at The Fountainhead on Damen and Montrose.

Day 6
Tour of The Robie House
Explored Millenium Park
Dinner with other friends at Penny Noodle in Wicker Park.

Day 7
Day trip to St. Louis, MO, via Amtrak.
Visited City Museum and the Gateway Arch.
Returned to Chicago via Greyhound Bus.

Day 8
Tour of The Rookery at noon.
Went home for a long nap because it was blazing hot today.
Departed Chicago O’Hare via subway/bus in the evening.

The Architecture Boat Tour

Chicago Architecture Boat Tour | Redesigned By M

This 90-minute tour is a great introduction to all the beautiful skyscrapers of downtown Chicago. It is organized by the Chicago Architecture Foundation and the guides are volunteers. The tour is so filled with information that you have to keep up with the guide or get lost quick. They speak on the assumption that you know all the architectural terms as they don’t take the time to explain what filigree or ionic columns are. Some terms are obvious, such as exo-skeletal frames and steel and concrete construction. It is a fantastic tour, nonetheless, although I will probably never remember the names of all the architects who worked on each building or the dates which they were built. Seriously, it was like being back in college again.

Cost: $40pp.

Etc: Find them on the river at Michigan and Wacker. You don’t need to book ahead, unless you’re pressed for time. We were able to get on the next tour just half an hour later.

More Info: www.architecture.org

Frank Lloyd Wright

If you don’t know who Frank Lloyd Wright is, get to know him because he is an iconic American architect. Everyone in the design world knows who he is. He is best known for his masterpiece “Falling Water,” which was built as a residence for a department store owner. It is still standing in Pennsylvania and I totally intend to see it one day.

Frank Lloyd Wright Historic District, Oak Park, IL | Redesigned By M

We started our discovery of Frank Lloyd Wright at his home and studio in Oak Park. The website recommends that you buy your tickets in advance, but like the Boat Tour, if you’re not pressed for time, you can take your chances by buying your tickets in person at the site. We were able to get in the next guided tour 1.5 hours after we arrived. During that time, we took a tour of the historic Oak Park district where we saw more of Wright’s work as he was commissioned to design many homes in this area.

Frank Lloyd Wright Home, Oak Park, IL | Redesigned By M

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Frank Lloyd Wright Studio, Oak Park, IL | Redesigned By M

The Robie House was easy to get a tour for as well, only having to wait half an hour for the next one. While at the Robie House, we were able to secure a booking for the guided tour of The Rookery.

Frank Lloyd Wright Robie House, Chicago | Redesigned By M

I do recommend booking ahead for The Rookery because there is only one tour per day and there are no tours on certain days. The other tour, which we didn’t do, was the Emil Bach House. This house was undergoing interior reconstruction during our time in Chicago, so only the exterior was available for guided tours. This tour was free, so we opted not to do this one as we were pressed for time. There are limited tours for the Emil Bach House, so book ahead for this one as well.

Frank Lloyd Wright The Rookery, Chicago | Redesigned By M

Cost: $35 for a Universal Pass or $15 for each location.

More Info: www.gowright.org

Millennium Park

Cloud Gate, Chicago | Redesigned By M

Photography Credit: Mr. M

Mr. M and I have seen Millennium Park before on a previous trip when we stopped in Chicago for a 6-hour layover. It was pissing rain that day so it was miserably wet and didn’t enjoy the city to its fullest. Not that a day outside in 95 degree weather was any more enjoyable.

Millenium Park Fountain, Chicago | Redesigned By M

Fountain at Millenium Park
(above) Summer time | (below) Winter time

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Millenium Park, Chicago | Redesigned By M

Museum of Science and Industry

Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago | Redesigned By M

Photography Credit: Mr. M

I was sick the day Mr. M paid a visit to this museum. The first thing he had to say about it was, “This place is HUGE!” He absolutely loved it, though. His favorite part of the museum was the enormous train set that traveled from Chicago to Seattle.

Other Sites of Chicago

And just a few more snaps of the city…

Wrigley Field, Chicago | Redesigned By M

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The Loop, Chicago | Redesigned By M

The Loop

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The Loop, Chicago | Redesigned By M

The Loop

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Downtown Chicago | Redesigned By M

Downtown (some people just don’t know how to get out of others’ photos)

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Bloomingdale Home, Chicago | Redesigned By M

The interior of Bloomingdale Home was slightly disappointing after seeing this gorgeous Arabic exterior.

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Magnificent Mile, Chicago | Redesigned By M

Just a couple of cool buildings on the Magnificent Mile.

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Chicago at night | Redesigned By M

Photography Credit: Mr. M

Day Trip to St. Louis

As if soaking in all the architecture in Chicago wasn’t enough, we had to make a side trip to St. Louis to see the Gateway Arch. Yes, we traveled 11 hours by train and bus just to see an arch!

Gateway Arch, St Louis | Redesigned By M

Photography Credit: Mr. M

Thanks to our hosts who tipped us off about the City Museum, or else we would never have known about it! It’s basically a giant indoor playground or jungle gym for kids AND adults made out of salvaged materials. It’s pretty much the most mental thing I’ve ever seen.

City Museum, St. Louis | Redesigned By M

That’s really all the time we had for in St. Louis. These two sites easily filled up seven hours, if you include eating and all that important stuff we humans like to do.

What a great trip! And would you believe I didn’t bring anything home with me? I might’ve tried to scour flea markets and thrift shops if I hadn’t needed to take that stupid sick day. It was good that I did though because all the lightheadedness left me after that day and I had my wits about me for the remainder of the trip. Bugger that I can’t get rid of this pesky cough, though!

Did you enjoy looking through my adventures in Chicago and St. Louis? Let me know if you have any questions should you plan a trip there. I’m happy to answer what I can.

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Redesigned By M

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17 Comments

  1. Thanks, Anjana!

  2. Lucky you! I love Chicago! I hope to visit before the summer is out. The architecture is amazing!

  3. Thank you for this great photographic tour to Chicago !!

  4. Never knew much about Chicago but you’ve shown how amazing it is. Thanks. It’s on my wishlist of places to visit.

  5. I hope you do! Do you live nearby?

  6. I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  7. I find photos really help to show the beauty of any place. I hope you get to check it off your bucket list one day soon! ~M.

  8. Oh man those FLW structures are awesome! And I live in Pennsylvania so not too far from that one. I remember the professor lecturing a whole hour about it at college (went to college here in Pennsylvania). Anyway, really beautiful photography and thanks for sharing more FLW pictures because I needed to see some really neat design.

  9. He was an incredible architect! It was so great to be able to see all his work in person and not on slides in a classroom. How lucky you live near Falling Water! I bet it’s just breathtaking to see in person. ~M.

  10. City Museum is amazing and a great reason to visit St Louis! I wish more people knew about it!

  11. Relatively … I’m from Toronto, so just a 1.5 hour plane ride away. I went to Chicago for the first time in April and absolutely loved it!

  12. Amazing pics, M! Chicago is on our travel bucket list…

  13. It was an experience I’m glad I didn’t miss! Kinda glad it’s not so well known, though. There’d be too many crowds otherwise!

  14. Thank you! I’m glad to have finally checked it off ours.

  15. That’s really close! I visited Toronto last year and loved my time there. The Distillery District and Kensington Market were my favorites. 🙂

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