Day 2 in Chicago
What up, November! So very excited for the adventures that lie ahead in the coming weeks. Plus, it’s officially HOLIDAY SEASON. Bust out the nutcrackers and the NOG. But before I get ahead of myself — more from Chicago:
Day 2 in the Windy City was supposed to start with a trip to the Sears/Willis Tower Skydeck, buuuuuut the wait was something like 2 hours. And – hello – I don’t have near that sort of attention span. So, instead we hopped onto one of the big barge-type boats for a guided narration of Chicago’s diverse architecture heritage along the river.
But first — the trek to coffee. We’d caught The Dark Knight on the hotel TV the night before, so we were living those Gotham city vibes as we walked through downtown in search of the perfect cafe.
We found it a few blocks away from the Westin: Two Zero Three, a coffee-bar-by-day-wine-bar-by-night sorta place, located inside the Virgin Hotel. It had that hipster vibe most local coffee shops seem to carry, with chalkboard walls, neon signs, and overpriced espresso. AKA, my kind of scene.
After coffee we walked over to the docking area, just past Trump (bleh) Tower.
Those colors. ❤
The tour itself was about 90 minutes long, taking you up towards the entrance to Lake Michigan, and then back along the river and through the heart of the city. All the while, a Chicagoan decked out in Cubs gear was giving us a play by play of the many buildings, their architectural style, and their overall history along the riverfront. Not bad at all for $35.
This is the Chicago Harbor Lock, one of the entrances into the Great Lakes. It was designed and built in the 1930s to help reverse the flow of the Chicago River, a major effort to clean up what was once a river full of sewage and industrial pollution. A far cry from what it is today (or so we were told).
Navy Pier, in the distance.
This guy is Lake Point Tower, the only skyscraper to be built east of Lake Shore Drive. I guess there’s some sort of city ordinance that prevents buildings to be built east of Lake Shore Dr., but they got around it by a technicality: Lake Point Tower is built on landfill, not land. How ridiculous is that?
This skyscraper is the first of its kind along the Chicago River. It’s inverted! Smaller on the bottom, and bigger on top.
And here we have the Sears/Willis Tower. If you look towards the top, you can see little structures jutting out. Those are the “the Ledge” — glass boxes that extend 4 feet outside of the building, from the Skydeck on the 103rd floor.
Mark and I visited the Skydeck a couple years ago… here are a few old snapshots from that trip:
Back to the river tour!
This is the old Chicago Post Office, where they shot both Batman Begins and the Dark Knight. It’s been empty for a while now, but apparently some bajillionaire just bought it with the intention of turning it into office buildings. I kind of dig the run down feeling, though.
And there ya have it. If you ever find yourself in Chi-town, looking for an easy and affordable way to spend the afternoon, I’d highly recommend the Chicago River Architecture Tour!