My Kind of Town...
Chicago Travel Blog› entry 60 of 62 › view all entries
I rode the train into the city as a bitter cold wind threatened rain. After walking east through a canyon of towering skyscrapers, I found Millenium Park. The 24.5 acre park is Chicago's center for art, music, architecture, and landscape design and is one of the city's most popular attractions. A freezing drizzle stung my face and head as I dashed across Michigan Avenue to ogle a giant kidney-bean shaped sculpture by the British artist Anish Kapoor. Dubbed 'Cloud Gate', the 110-ton elliptical sculpture is forged of seamless, highly polished, stainless steel plates that reflect the city's skyline in a rounded mirror-like fashion. Measuring 66-feet long and 33-feet high, the sculpture is the largest of its kind in the world.
After circling the Cloud Gate for a few quick pictures I bee-lined into random streets. I never cared much for big cities but Chicago is somehow different. Its wide sidewalks provide ample space for pedestrians and even room for trees to grow. The surprisingly few people along them seemed open, friendly, and happy to offer directions. They steered me to the Old Navy store on the corner of Washington and State Streets. I sought a winter jacket but eager Old Navy displayed a summer inventory. I found a warm sweatshirt and put it on immediately after paying for it.
After another cup of coffee inside a heated Dunkin' Donuts I made my way to the Sears Tower. Though I have a fear of heights, no trip to Chicago would be complete without visiting the Skydeck on the 103rd floor.
From 1973 to 1998, the Sears Tower stood as the world's tallest building - preceded by the World Trade Center in New York and surpassed by the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia . The Skydeck sits 1,353-feet above street level. The building is said to sway up to eight inches and fortunately I didn’t feel it. What struck me the most was realizing that I don't fly my airplane this high. Taipei 101 in Taiwan has since become the world's tallest skyscraper.
From the Skydeck I was able to plan my walking route on the city streets far below to the Union Station. I caught an afternoon train to Hinsdale - about a 45-minute ride - in the southwest suburbs and returned to my step-sister's home.