In the summer of 2013, my friend Alejandro and I, during one of his visits to the United States, spent a day in Chicago. We didn't try to cram in all the typical tourist activities or visit any of its great museums. We just spent the day wandering around downtown. Although the day was overcast, we had an enjoyable day, and Alejandro had a chance to see a bit of the "Windy City".
The Chicago skyline as seen from one of the parks along Lakeshore Drive
Michigan Avenue is one of the major streets in downtown Chicago. It is also the city's most upscale shopping area, and is nicknamed "The Magnificent Mile."
The John Hancock Building stands along Michigan Avenue. When it was built in 1968, it was the second tallest building in the world.
The Chicago Water Tower, which was built to pump water from Lake Michigan, was one of the few buildings in the central district to survive the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.
Two of the city's early twentieth century skyscrapers overlook the Chicago River. To the left is the Wrigley Building, built by the chewing gum magnate. Across the street is the Tribune Tower, headquarters of the Chicago Tribune.
Millennium Park was planned to celebrate the second millennium, but due to cost overruns and construction delays, it did not open until 2004, One of the most popular sights in the park is the large metallic sculpture called the Cloud Gate. However, it is commonly referred to as "The Bean".
Looking down a side street from Michigan Avenue, you can see the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower). For 25 years it reigned as the tallest building in the world.
Chicago's most popular tourist attraction is Navy Pier. It began as a municipal pier, and later was a training center for the Navy. In 1995 it was revamped as an entertainment, dining, shopping and cultural center. Frankly, I find it a bit of a tourist trap, but we went inside. Alejandro was able to buy some Chicago souvenirs at the shops.
A final view of the high-rise buildings along the Chicago River.