Further Afield – Chicago

The US city I’ve spent the most time in with travel and work. Initially I loved it, perhaps even more than New York, but over time the novelty wore off and while a great place to visit I couldn’t live there (due to weather, food, segregation, transport and size). Had lots of memorable times there though, looking back through my photos reminded how cool a place it is…

Chicago Lakefront Trail
The typical US city grid layout is terrible for running, stop start on every block, but the trail along Lake Michigan is majestic, literally tens of km of high quality running / cycling tracks north and south from downtown. My favourite routes were through Millennium Park, along past the Aquarium and Adler Planetarium, and either around Northerly Island or Soldier Field stadium and back.

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Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF)
One of the main reasons I thought about moving to Chicago was being part of this. Chicago is home to arguably the greatest modern city architecture in the world, including the world’s first skyscrapers, seminal buildings by Frank Lloyd Wright, Mies van der Rohe, and Frank Gehry, amazing Art Deco, and four of the ten tallest buildings in the US. CAF offer a huge range of tours to understand and enjoy the city, from their flagship River Cruise tours to walking and cycling tours. Their base on S Michigan Ave has a great architecture bookshop and one of the best scale of models of a city I’ve seen (if not quite up to Singapore’s standard).

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Oriental Institute Museum
Tucked away on the University of Chicago campus, this is home to an impressive collection of artefacts from Egypt, Nubia, Persia, Mesopotamia, Syria, and Anatolia.

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Baha’i House of Worship
One of seven Baha’i temples in the world, this is beautiful oasis of tranquillity, about 45 mins north of downtown Chicago.

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Oak Park
A very affluent suburb, home to a number of early Frank Lloyd Wright houses and his studio.

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Cloud Gate
Better known by locals as The Bean, this Anish Kapoor sculpture had become an icon of the city. Best visited jet lagged first thing in the morning to have it to yourself.

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John Hancock Tower
Like the Rockefeller Centre in New York this may not be the tallest building in the city (that would be the Willis Tower, better known as the Sears Tower) but arguably offers the best viewing experience.

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Field Museum of Natural History
Pretty standard natural history museum but has an impressive T-Rex called Sue!

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Art Institute of Chicago
Where Barrack Obama took Michelle on their first date to make himself look sophisticated. The Art Institute isn’t quite New York’s Metropolitan Museum but comes close, with an equally eclectic collection. Worth noting that your bag needs to be checked before looking around the museum, but that annoyingly no food or drink is allowed in the bag…

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More architecture
So many amazing buildings…

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