Chicago, Chicago…

We have landed in Gardner, IL and have been able to park our rig right outside my brother’s house for the week.  Since the closest campground is 35 miles away, we are thankful we do not have this daily commute.  They live in a new subdivision at the end of the road so it is somewhat less obtrusive to have a 38′ rig in the neighborhood than it could be.

We had a few hours to spare one day so we decided to hop on the Amtrak in Joliet (about a 30 minute drive from where the family lives) to go to downtown Chicago.  The temperatures have dipped in this part of the country and the Windy City is well, windy, so it was a brisk day to walk.  We got some exercise in, spending 4 hours walking downtown, seeing some sights we had not seen for many a year or not at all.  Terry once worked for Harris Bank downtown so he was anxious to see how the area had changed.

Chicago Art Institute

As we headed towards Millennium Park we passed the renowned Chicago Art Institute.  It would have been nice to spend the afternoon pouring over the fabulous works of art inside but with just a new hours in the city, a quick photo was to be all we had time for.  Our focus was on exploring Millennium Park.

What was once an industrial wasteland in the heart of Grant Park, with unsightly railroad tracks and parking lots, has evolved into the most significant millennium project in the world, Millennium Park.  Work on this project began in October, 1997 and opened to ceremony in July, 2004, four years behind schedule.  Many feel that this 25-acre park with world-class art, music, architecture, and landscape designs was worth the wait.

The most prominent feature in the park is the stunning Jay Pritzker Pavilion, one of the most sophisticated outdoor concert venues of its kind in the U.S.  It was designed by Frank Gehry, one of the world’s greatest living architects.

Cloud Gate, an interactive sculpture that sits in the center of the park, was designed by Anish Kapoor, providing distorted views of those peering into her depths.

Crown Fountain, brainchild of Jaume Plensa, is a 50-foot block tower of flowing water (no water on this day), depicting the faces of 1000 different Chicagoans.

On a warm sunny day it would be delightful to wander Lurie Garden and the abstract sculptures in the Boeing Galleries but with just a few hours in the city, we had to be selective.

One of the sculptures of the Boeing Galleries

What would a visit to the Windy City be without a photo of Marilyn Monroe in her infamous subway-grate pose?

Seward Johnson, New Jersey based artist known for his gigantic pop art icons displayed in public spaces, created this 26-foot statue that is prominently featured in Pioneer Court, along Michigan Avenue.  It will be on display here until spring 2012.

Unfortunately, it was time to head back to the train depot.  Along the way Terry got in a few photos that I have posted below.

Chicago skyline and fall colors from Jay Pritzker Pavilion
Lovely little downtown park
Chicago River view
Chicago Board of Trade
Wrigley Building
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