(Chicago Flag)


(Map of Illinois)

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2011:

After I got off work Sunday I drove to Chicago for a short get-away.
I stayed at the Sofitel Chicago Water Tower hotel just off the Magnificent Mile.
All of the images below are thumbnails and can be clicked on for a larger image.

Sofitel Chicago Water Tower Hotel Chicago Water Tower

4 minute video of my accommodation in Chicago at the Sofitel Chicago Water Tower Hotel.




MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2011:

It was a short walk to the John Hancock Center from my hotel.
The John Hancock tower is a is a 100-story, 1127-foot tall skyscraper at 875 North Michigan Avenue.
The observation deck is on the 94th floor and it offers fine views of the city.
John Hancock Tower Looking south from the top of the John Hancock Tower Trump Tower & Willis Tower from the top of the John Hancock Tower

The building is currently the fourth-tallest building in Chicago and the sixth-tallest in the United States.
Super wide angle shot looking south from the top of the John Hancock Tower Lake Shore Drive looking north from the top of the John Hancock Tower Rock 'n' Roll McDonald's from the top of the John Hancock Tower

11 minute video of the John Hancock Observatory.

Next I walked down Lake Shore Drive and over to Navy Pier.
John Hancock Tower from Lake Shore Drive Lake Michigan along Lake Shore Drive Chicago's Navy Pier

Navy Pier is a 3,300-foot long pier on the shoreline of Lake Michigan.
Navy Pier is Chicago's number one tourist attraction.
The Pier and its grounds encompass more than 50 acres of parks, gardens, shops, restaurants and entertainment.
Chciago's Navy Pier Chicago skyline behind navy Peir Large Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier

From Navy Pier I took a Chicago River cruise.
As we entered the river from Lake Michigan Chicago's second-highest building, the Trump International Hotel & Tower
dominates the skyline. In the middle picture below is the Kinzie Street railroad bridge, a Chicago Landmark.
Lower right is the Merchandise Mart.
When opened in 1930 it was the largest building in the world with 4,000,000 square feet of floor space.
The Chicago River & the Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago's Kinzie Street railroad bridge Chicago Merchandise Mart

We cruised under the Willis Tower, formerly the Sears Tower, which is currently the tallest building
in the western hemisphere. It was the tallest building in the world, surpassing the World Trade Center
towers in New York, and it held this rank for nearly 25 years.
The Willis Tower The Willis Tower The Willis Tower

After returning to Navy Pier after the river cruise, I took another cruise.
The second cruise was on Lake Michigan looking back on the Chicago skyline.
The Wrigley Building Chciago's Navy Pier Chciago's Navy Pier

21 minute video of my cruise on the Chicago River.

Chicago's skyline is one of the world's tallest and easily ranks among its most magnificent.
John Hancock Tower rising behind Navy Pier The Chicago skyline from Lake Michigan The Chicago skyline from Lake Michigan

Centennial Fountain is located on the north bank of the Chicago River at McClurg Court.
Every hour, for ten minutes, the fountain shoots a massive water arc across the river from a modernist tiered waterfall.
The Chicago skyline from Lake Michigan Chicago's Centennial Fountain Chicago's Centennial Fountain

4 minute video of Chicago's Centennial Fountain.

I walked along the River Walk to Michigan Avenue.
It is here that my two favorite Chicago buildings are located, the Tribune Tower and the Wrigley Building.
The Chicago River The Tribune Tower The Wrigley Building

This part of Michigan Avenue is also known as the Magnificent Mile.
I crossed the Chicago River and walked down Michigan Avenue to Millennium Park.
Wrigley Square is a public square located in the northwest section of Millennium Park.
The start of the Magnificent Mile The Chicago River Wrigley Square in Millennium Park

Cloud Gate is a public sculpture by Indian-born British artist Anish Kapoor, is the centerpiece of the
AT&T Plaza in Millennium Park. The sculpture is nicknamed "The Bean" because of its bean-like shape.
Made up of 168 stainless steel plates welded together, its highly polished exterior has no visible seams.
It is 33 by 66 by 42 feet and weighs 110 tons.
Cloud Gate in Millennium Park Cloud Gate in Millennium Park Cloud Gate in Millennium Park

5 minute video of Chicago's Millennium Park.

Next I walked down Columbus Avenue to Grant Park.
In the center of Grant Park between Columbus Avenue and Lake Shore Drive is Buckingham Fountain.
Dedicated in 1927, it is one of the largest fountains in the world.
Looking back on Millennium Park Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park

2 minute video of Chicago's Buckingham Fountain.


Next I walked over to the Willis Tower and visited the SkyDeck.
The skyscraper is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Chicago,
and over one million people visit its observation deck each year.
The Willis Tower View from the 103rd floor of the Willis Tower View from the 103rd floor of the Willis Tower

6 minute video of Chicago's Willis Tower SkyDeck.

MY EMAIL SENT ON SEPTEMBER 24, 2012
Hello folks,

I am spending three days in Chicago. I drove up here yesterday after I got off work. I got to my hotel in downtown Chicago about 6:30. I am staying at the Sofitel Chicago Water Tower Hotel. It is in the Magnificent Mile area just a couple blocks over from the John Hancock Tower. So this morning the first thing I did was go to the top of the 100 story John Hancock Tower.

The John Hancock Tower is the fourth tallest building in Chicago. You get a nice view of the city from the top. In the picture below you can see the three tallest buildings in Chicago. From left to right #3 - Aon Center (formerly Amoco Building), #2 - Trump International Hotel & Tower and #1 - The Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower).

You get a nice view of Lake Shore Drive from the other side of the building looking north along Lake Michigan.

After leaving the John Hancock Center I walked over to Navy Pier. I walked along beautiful Lake Shore Drive. The picture below is looking back on the John Hancock Building.

From Navy Pier I took a couple of boat cruises. The first was a Chicago River cruise. Below is looking down the Chicago River toward the Trump Tower.

Below is further down looking onto the Willis (Sears) Tower.

The second cruise was a skyline cruise on Lake Michigan. The picture below is looking back on Navy Peir.

As you can see it was a beautiful day here in Chicago today. Below is the famous skyline.

After the cruises I walked along the River Walk back to the center of town. I passed the Centennial Fountain on the way. They shoot this gusher of water across the river every hour.

Below is a nice picture of the Wrigley Building, one of my favorite buildings.

From here I walked down Michigan Avenue for a few blocks to Millennium Park.

One of the most popular attractions in the city is the Bean.

You can see your reflection in the Bean along with the Chicago skyline.

From here I walked down to Grant Park and visited Buckingham Fountain. The picture below is a great shot of the fountain with the Chicago skyline in the background.

From here I walked over to the 110 story Willis Tower and went to the top. Below is Lake Michigan from the top of the building. The red building blocks the view of Buckingham Fountain.

The Chicago skyline can be seen in the picture below.

It was about 5:00 when I got down from the Sears Tower. My hotel is quite a ways away over by the John Hancock Building. My feet wouldn't be able to withstand the walk over there so I got on the open-top tourist bus and drove around the city a bit before getting off at the Chicago Water Tower about two blocks from my hotel. Below is a picture of my hotel.

I wanted to stay at the Trump Tower but it was quite pricey. I am spending all day tomorrow here and driving home on Wednesday.

Tim
Click on email photos for the large full-size photograph.




TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2011:

I wore myself out on Monday after walking all around the city.
Tuesday was a more restful day. I stayed pretty close to the hotel and went to see a movie.
Tuesday evening I went back to the John Hancock Tower to see the view at night.

88 minute complete video of my entire visit to Chicago.

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2011:

Wednesday morning I drove home.

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