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Category: Illinois (page 1 of 2)

In Case You Missed It…Chicago


SUE the T-Rex at The Field Museum

willis tower looking up

Willis Tower








Every couple weeks we’ll be collecting links from past posts grouped together by location; we thought it handy to have everything in one convenient location as you plan your upcoming travels. We just finished a short series on Chicago, so here’s your recap:


Wrigley Field

Chicago Itinerary: What to do in Chicago with Two or More Days: An itinerary for what to do in Chicago to help you plan out your trip, know what attractions to see and which ones to skip. Includes several tips and recommendations to make your trip truly enjoyable.

Chicago Architecture Cruises: Enjoy architecture? Why not check out all that Chicago has to offer via a river or lake cruise? Two different Chicago architecture cruise options are highlighted here for the architecture lover.

Wrigley Field: If you have time during your visit to Chicago, check out the historic and nostalgic Wrigley Field and take in a Cubs game!

 Willis Tower: No trip to Chicago is complete without a trip to the Willis Tower, the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere and an iconic building in the Chicago Skyline. This is a guide to help you plan your visit.

Cloud Gate (AKA The Bean)

Cloud Gate (AKA The Bean)

The Field Museum: The Field Museum in Chicago is a fun place to explore, learn about various parts of the world, and soak in some history.

Glazed & Infused: Glazed and Infused is a specialty donut shop serving some of the best donuts in Chicago. A must for any donut and food lover.

Millennium Park: Millennium Park is a beautiful place in the heart of Chicago, full of art, architecture, and immaculate landscaping with many free year-round events.


Millennium Park

IMG_0868No trip to Chicago is complete without a stroll through Millennium Park; it is a beautiful place full of various art pieces, interesting architecture, lots of tourists, and immaculate landscaping that provides some green around the city concrete.

I would venture to guess that every trip we made into the city, we would at least stop by Millennium Park. Situated on Michigan Avenue between Randolph Street (to the north) and Monroe Street (to the sought), Millennium Park would always catch my eye on our walks. Its location lends itself for a pass through, and it’s not something we usually “plan” to visit, but I love it for the breath of fresh air, especially if its on your way!

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Glazed and Infused: A Chicago Treat

One of my favorite things in all of this world is the donut (or doughnut). It is one of the greatest creations to me;  I am a sucker for donuts; I love them. I feel I cannot get enough of them…until of course I indulge and then an hour later my stomach is about to explode and I am functioning at 20% normal productivity. The donut  can be overlooked as a nice treat. I mean think about it, practically on every street corner in a big city or even a few miles apart in smaller cities, there is a donut shop. Confession time: almost every donut shop looks great to a donut-holic like myself. The donut has a general stereotype as they are fairly easy to produce and you can practically buy them anywhere.

I fully admit there are many donuts out there produced by people that are giving donuts a bad name. They are not very good and after you eat them you are thinking “Why did I just waste 600 calories on a sub-par donut?” But let me tell you something, when I have a donut that is good, it is just a thing of beauty.

Why all this talk about donuts? Because Chicago, known for amazing baked goods and donuts, has an awesome donut shop that is making handcrafted specialty donuts that will blow your socks off. The place is known as Glazed and Infused. Everyone now is channeling their inner Matthew McConaughey and his “Alright, alright, alright,” from the cult classic Dazed and Confused.

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The Field Museum

In the heart of Chicago’s Museum Campus, is The Field Museum. It boasts that “with 4.6 billion years under one roof, The Field Museum is your passport to travel around the world and back in time”. Regardless of what you think about their claim, it truly is a fun place to explore, learn about various parts of the world, and soak in some history.

The Field Museum was originally a product of the World’s Columbian Exposition that took place in Chicago in 1893.  The Field Museum’s current home was completed in 1921 and is a magnificent structure. Built in the architectural style of Grecian and Roman designs, the detail in the columns, walls, and arches, composed of fossilized limestone is beautiful. Although there have been additions and renovations made to the building to accommodate the pieces and exhibits acquired, you can’t help but appreciate the building itself.

The Field Museum hosts 17 permanent exhibitions and an additional 8-10 special and traveling exhibits. My personal favorites are SUE the T-Rex and Inside Ancient Egypt. I’ve visited a few times and while I can breeze through most sections, either because they aren’t of interest to me or they are geared toward a younger audience, I also have to stop by those two. SUE the T-Rex is just awesome; its incredible to think about a creature that big and powerful! Growing up, I loved ancient Egypt, visiting that section always rekindles my young (and mostly Indiana Jones-inspired) desire to be an archaeologist and dig up treasures from the past.

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Willis Tower – A Visitor’s Guide

One of the iconic buildings of Chicago is the Willis Tower, formerly and more notably known as the Sears Tower. A trip to Chicago for any first time visitor is not complete without a visit to this architectural marvel. Like a visit to Rome is not complete until you have been to the Coliseum, the Willis Tower is one of the top tourist attractions in the city.willis tower

Facts: Located a block east of Union Station and along the river, stands the tallest building in the city and in the Western Hemisphere. The Willis Tower stands at 1,450 feet tall (1,730 feet if the twin antenna towers are included) and 110 stories tall. The tower goes 43 feet below street elevation and took three years to build. The tower features a revolutionary construction method at the time called the “bundled tube design.” It is essentially nine tubes, bound together. The docents told us to think of it like a pack of pencils with each tube rising higher than the rest. While the tower itself has more than a 100 different companies using it as an office building, visitors are only there for one maybe two reasons: mainly the Skydeck (observation deck) and possibly the restaurant.

The Skydeck is the highest public viewing area in the US and on a clear day (hope you are lucky), you can see four states (Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan). Back in 2009, the building added four observation pods which are affectionately known as “The Ledge.” They are these glass boxes that are made up of three layers of half-inch thick glass that has been laminated into one seamless unit.the ledge


Visiting: The Skydeck is open every day of the year to accommodate visitors. Always be sure to check the website for hours, but in general they are open from 9:00 AM to 10:00 PM April through September, and 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM October through March. When planning your visit, the last entry is 30 minutes prior to close. The Skydeck does have several offerings prior to the “main event” of getting to the top. There are several different exhibits that talk about the tower and the city as well as a movie that tells the story of the building and surrounding architecture. All of this is well and good and gives you a greater appreciation for the building and all that went into making this massive structure and it will provide a fuller experience but is time consuming.
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