My husband and I enjoyed a whirlwind weekend earlier this
month in the so-called Windy City, where it wasn’t particularly windy and where
our son Joe is in a computational neuroscience graduate program at the
University of Chicago.
This time we didn’t get to the school or his
neighborhood in Hyde Park, which is about eight miles south of the heart of
downtown. But we did walk for miles, hoofing it from the zoo – where admission
is free, imagine that – south through downtown and past the Navy Pier to our
hotel in the financial district called The Loop, where elevated trains
|Joe, Summer and Jim on Chicago River boat cruise|
on May 11 with Navy Pier in the background.
|Gorilla at the Chicago Zoo,|
which has free admission.
Chicago is my kind of town: extremely walkable, with plenty
to see and do, a cool mix of old and new architecture, a concentrated downtown
core, lots of museums, skyscrapers that aren’t overwhelmingly imposing, and a
massive lake along which people can walk, run, beach, boat or just relax. Yeah,
the per capita murders are way up there, but that just means don’t go where you
shouldn’t. We’ve never had a problem.
Glad Joe is a direct flight away in such a great place to visit.
I always like to check out new places to eat, and enjoyed
rack of lamb at The Gage near Millennium Park and lobster bisque and scallops
at Devon. We lucked out with the weather, and on Saturday we checked out the
farmers’ market, the zoo, and the beaches and walkways along Lake Michigan.
|I call it the Wilco buildings they're on|
of the Yankee Hotel Foxtrot album cover.
I had just finished reading “Devil in the White City,” Erik
Larsen’s non-fiction account of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair (and a serial
killer preying on young women), which really made me appreciate architect
Daniel Burnham. He was the main man behind construction of the fair and later
the person responsible for, among many wonderful things, the parks and trails
that let people enjoy Chicago’s miles of lakefront.
For my third consecutive year I rode along the river on the
Chicago Architecture Foundation’s boat cruise. Last May we shivered in hats and
gloves. This time I ended up with a sunburned nose. Each time, though, it was
a fun way to see the city’s lively riverfront and the wide variety of offices,
residences and hotels, from the Wrigley Building to Trump’s tower.
My husband and I ride the El like pros now, taking the
orange line to and from Midway, where our Sunday night flight was a bit
delayed. We didn’t have as long a layover, however, as the Duke women’slacrosse team.