Navy Pier, Devon and Independence Day Fireworks
Chicago Travel Blog› entry 4 of 50 › view all entries
July 4th, 2005 – by: Vikram
Happy Independence Day America! And my last last day in the Windy City!
I made sure to make the most of it. Started off by driving to Oak Park to see some of Frank Lloyd Wright's works. We liked that centre, but the guided tours seemed a bit expensive. So we drove around the area by ourselves. (I'd bought the DK Eyewitness Top 10 Chicago that had a map of the top 10 houses in the area). I must admit I did find this an anticlimax somewhat, probably because Frank's style of archi's been done to death now. I mean, half the houses in the neighbourhood I live in look like Frank's knockoffs. The drive to Oak Park however was quite startling I must admit. I got to see "da hood" side of Chicago, almost took me back to so many 80s and late 90s gangsta movies I'd see. Very interesting.
From here, went to a place where every self respecting Indian visiting (or living in) Chicago would go to - DEVON STREET.This is indeed a carbon copy of the Edison locality in New Jersey, in terms of Indianising it to the core. But it was still a nice experience walking on a street that's absolutely Indian! Lots of good resnts in the place, squeezed into one of them for brunch.
Looked around the area, and hit the downtown again. Visited Magnificent Mile again. Not just cos it's ace, but I needed me some more FCUK. And from there, walked a/c downtown and into NAVY PIER.
NAVY PIER is all that it promises, and more. I loved the place, but visitors beware! Don't fall for the hype. It's nowhere as big or colourful as Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. And for all that hype about the Chicago Ferris Wheel being the 2nd largest in the world, it looks like a matchbox in front of the London Eye. Really truly!
But that aside, I loved the Ferris Wheel.Was also a good time for me to relax. The Navy Pier Beer Bar was another delight. Again, reminded me of fond times of beer and garlic sprinkled/flavoured finger chips by Fisherman's Wharf. I rode the Ferris Wheel, went into the Stained Glass Gallery and generally ate to my heart's content. The freshly squeezed lemonade there they make is undoubtedly the best I've had in the US. Close to the "nimbu paani" we guys make back home. Thirst quenching to a hilt!
So, got that out of the way, went on the "Seadog" 30 mins power boat cruise. It's great in that the design of the boat and the speed makes it all v exciting. The boat driver/conductor are kitsch delights in themselves. The way they'd go "arrrrr...ruff" was cheesy yet VERY funny. That tour lasted for 30 mins by which time it was already 6:30pm. I had to get back as I didn't want to get caught in the fireworks rush.
Took the CTA back to me mate's flat, and from there, we went to... any guesses??
With dinner done, ice cream at that Cold Slab (Cold sthg, I don't remember) but that Black Forest ice cream they make is PURE heaven. I don't know when I last ate it that good. We had dessert on Sherman drive itself, watching the students, kids and elders walk by. Such a multicultural society this Evanston is!
And it was decided that we'd stay here for fireworks too. Fireworks were by the harbour, and more EvanstonGLORIOUSness I should say. The fireworks lasted for a good 45 mins (here in Dallas, it's about 30mins I think, max!).The place was filled with students, felt great. And the nice part of this position is that you could see the fireworks in Evanston (we were a few feet away from the area where the fireworks were being shot. A step further and I'd be glittering in the sky, LOL!), the fireworks @ Navy Pier and the Sears Tower.
The whole thing ended @ 10pm, and I caught my flight out of O'Hare by 6am next day morning.
Overall it was SUCH a beautiful experience. I always thought my experiences in Boston and SFO were the best. Looks like Chicago's becoming a strong contender.
I've got a lot of stuff to do yet - visit the Science Museum, the Art Gallery, Grant and Millenium Parks and more Magnificent Mile (and cc swipes!) that I'm planning for further visits. But excellent city, well planned, well populated and there's Evanston ladies and gentlemen - my future home!
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