Summer in the City-Chicago Sightseeing

We finally come to my final installment of the big summer vacation, as my prize from Midwest Living Magazine’s big photo contest.

Of course we had to do the usual sightseeing, touristy stuff that everyone who visits Chicago does. My biggest regret is that we didn’t have enough time to visit my personal favorite place, the Art Museum and Millenium Park, but we were quite a bit north of there and we just ran out of time.

Our hotel is located in what is known as the Gold Coast area, within walking distance of Rush Street, a street known for it nightlife with lots of bars and restaurants.  We were only a few blocks from Michigan Ave and we decided to do the long walk down the street on the first day we were there. Both M and I love Crate and Barrel and knew one of our stops would be there. Sis also wanted to stop at the American Girl Store to pick up something for her daughter.

An iconic view of Chicago’s Water Tower. Both of us paid homage to the home and final resting place of the Marshall Field store.



Traffic on the Chicago River and the beautiful buildings, old and new that line the shores. Next visit will include the architectural tour, since the city has so many great older buildings.



The Chicago Tribune Tower has stones imbedded along the wall from all over the world. This intrigued me so much that I totally forgot to take any photos of the ornate, gothic-styled building. Perhaps on the next trip.


Lots of foot traffic on the street.

Our first full day in the Windy City. We thought we’d travel north to the Lincoln Park Zoo, since it wasn’t too far, but as we were navigating the streets it began raining…pretty hard. We decided to go, instead, to the Conservatory in the park to take refuge from the rain. The inside of the building seemed to let in almost as much water and I kept my umbrella open until it finally let up.

Because it was pouring and we were trying to get in out of the rain, I missed my opportunity to get a picture of the exterior, so I grabbed a picture of the outside from Wikipedia.

Built in the late 1800’s, it shows it’s age from the rust stains on the windows and the rain leaking in from the roof. Still…a beautiful building.

Mature flowering vines climb up to the very top of the building. I couldn’t get too close, but I think it was a Bougainvillea.

My favorite photo of the whole trip. I love the soft green of the ferns and spanish moss in contrast to the man-made metal of the pipes and chains that they grew on and around.





More views from the Conservatory.

The next day was dry but not too hot; in fact it was perfect weather to go to the zoo. All the city summer camps and summer schools thought so too; the zoo was full of children in matching t-shirts.


It’s easy to see why the zoo is a popular spot for field trips. Even though you pay for parking, the zoo itself is free. Love this shot of two buddies or perhaps two brothers. Sweet… 

I was fascinated by this handsome lion. Just look at his eyes.

The lion didn’t roar but made these sort of barking sounds.

After barking several times, he licked his chops and promptly fell asleep.


The gorilla passed by us, quite close, as he went into the gorilla house for some lunch. I’d never been that close to one before. His size was rather alarming.


Mama and baby zebra. Sister kept a lookout while I hoisted myself up on the fence to get a better view and to take a picture of the young one.

A few other animals at the zoo. Yes, the sea-lion is swimming upside down.

Lunch at the zoo means annoying sea gulls begging for food.

I always have mixed feelings about visiting zoos. It is fascinating to see real live animals that you can only read about or see on tv, but I leave feeling saddened about the caged animals, living life in confinement. I realize that they probably were raised this way and know no other life, but it still makes me sad.

That afternoon we went and saw Billy Elliott, the musical at the Oriental Theater. What can I say, a great show and another really beautiful old building. M and I could not believe the talented kids that were in the show.

The Oriental Theater, an old movie theater, like many of the old theater houses, is what I call an atmospheric theater, designed to create an atmosphere of a far away romantic place. In this case, the interior was decorated in a very ornate Eastern Indian style, much like the Fox Theater in Detroit has an  Arabian Nights decor, and even the State Theater in our own Kalamazoo is styled after a Spanish Villa. My interior photos did not turn out well, so I borrowed a couple from this website.  

Our final morning, before heading home was to visit Chicago’s Chinatown. I hadn’t been there in many years, but remembered that it was a good place to pick up a few inexpensive souvenirs. It’s small, only a couple of streets, but a great place for tourists like us.


I was attracted to the lovely blue parasol the lady was carrying.

Looking for a restaurant; too many choices. 

More lovely architecture and lots of wonderful tiles on the sides of the buildings.

So ends my adventures in the metropolis of Chicago. I do have one more “bonus posting” of a few of the pocket gardens we saw on the first day while walking toward Michigan Avenue.  Another reason to visit that area of Chicago again: the architecture and the gardens.

If you wish to get a bigger view, just click on the photos to enlarge them.


About Jill-O

a girl who likes lakes, trees and critters; making an attempt at living the artistic life.
This entry was posted in Chicago, gardens, photos, summer, theatre, travel and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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