Me and Seb outside the Art Institute
When I offered Seb a place to crash if he ever came through the US, I had no idea he'd take me up on my offer so soon! I'd barely returned from Paris when I started making plans for his arrival in Chicago. It was a good thing he planned to stay for a week...I had so many things for us to do, I had no idea how we'd fit them all in.
First, I took him downtown to give him a sense of the city...just to have him feel the buzz. His second day in the Midwest was a Thursday, and luckily for us the Art Institute is free on Thursday evenings, so we spent a couple hours perusing the American Art collection. Seb is an America enthusiast, and he was eager to see examples of American Art, since so much of what he has in Paris is so different.
View of the Sears tower from in front of the Art Institute...down the Historic Route 66
Conveniently, the Art Institute is right next to the famed Millennium Park, so after a few hours we made our way there. Seb was impressed by the "face" fountains (I'm not sure what their actual title is, but anyone who's seen them knows what I'm talking about! They're giant structures that have video images of faces on them and periodically the "faces" spout water), and of course by the giant bean. Since it was nighttime, the reflections of the city were spectacular and mysterious, with the black sky in the background instead of a flawless blue one. We spent some time taking artsy pictures of our reflections, and moved on down Michigan Avenue--the Magnificent Mile.
We walked along, admiring Chicago's famous architecture, and made our way to Water Tower Place.
The bean and the city.
This was the only survivor of the Great Chicago Fire, and still stands proudly today. Nearby is the Hancock Building, a notable part of the Chicago skyline. We rose in the elevator to the 96th Floor Lounge where another friend-from-another-city (Michael from New York) sat with his girlfriend enjoying the panoramic views. We joined them for a pricey but delicious martini, political conversation, and spectacular views. On one side of the room, it seemed as though someone had pulled a shade down over the floor-to-ceiling windows..upon closer inspection though, we realized it was simply lake-side, and the blackness was due to the extensive void created by Lake Michigan to the east.
After our martinis, we took the El (the elevated train, comparable to the metro in Paris or the tube in London or the subway in New York) back to the North Side where we'd parked for free by the DePaul University campus. We headed back to my apartment, stoked about what we'd see and do in the next few days.