If you only have one or two days to spend in Chicago you can still get a lot done and see many wonderful things. My suggestion is to buy the Chicago City Pass to do it. And then get the 24 or 48-hour Chicago Trolley & Double Decker Co. pass with unlimited on and off privileges to get you everywhere you want to go to use your City Pass (and you learn a little history and some trivia while you are on your way.)
The Chicago City Pass allows access to:
Shedd Aquarium – VIP ENTRY
Skydeck Chicago – FAST PASS
The Field Museum – VIP ENTRY
Museum of Science and Industry – VIP ENTRY OR 360 CHICAGO – EXPRESS ENTRY
Adler Planetarium – VIP ENTRY OR Art Institute of Chicago – FAST PASS
I am a fan of the City Pass. I have used them in Southern California, New York, London and Chicago. In New York (8 days) and Chicago (two days) I was a solo traveler. In London (two days) I was with my husband, and in Southern California (a week) it was the first family vacation we had ever taken. So the pass is flexible and good for lots of traveling scenarios. (I am not sponsored by or affiliated with City Pass in any way.)
So let’s get started on my 48-hour journey of Chicago, Day 1.
I had to see “the Bean.” I always wondered why this was in Chicago and not in Boston. But I came to find out that this sculpture in Millennium Park was actually titled Cloud Gate by artist Anish Kapoor and was a 66-foot long, 33-foot high, 110-ton elliptical sculpture making it one of the largest of its kind in the world.
I also stopped to see some other amazing things in the park, including the Crown Fountain which was definitely being utilized, and I luckily found some relief in being misted on as I walked past. I also took a peek at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion and its enormous stainless steel ribbons that soar 120-feet into the sky.
Then I meandered my way to The Art Institute of Chicago. Millennium Park and the Art Institute are in close proximity, so walking between the two is a breeze!
If you are not into art, I don’t want to bore you. So I am going to post a more in-depth post about my time and what I saw there, and then link to it. I want to tell you, you are going to see some amazing works of art there, and I highly recommend you visit. If any of the following names are familiar, then you won’t be disappointed: Monet, van Gogh, O’Keefe, Remington, Lloyd Wright, Lichtenstein, Tiffany, Seurat, Degas, Renoir, Gauguin … you get the picture. But in case you don’t, here is a small mosaic of photos I took while there:
And then there was lunch. I have dined at a couple of art museum cafe’s and they never fail to impress. Food as edible works of art.
And the courtyard fountain view from my table was pretty spectacular as well:
After the Art Institute I got back on the Double Decker and took it to my next stop, Skydeck Chicago. If you don’t like heights, then this is a stop to skip. If you like to see the city from up high, then this is one of the best ways to do it (so is the 360 Chicago Observatory, formerly John Hancock Observatory.) While waiting for my turn to go onto the LEDGE, I learned some interesting facts about the town I was visiting. The one I have to share with you is the origin of the phrase, “he slipped me a Mickey.”
It says, “An 1890’s Chicago tavern owner managed to get his name in the dictionary along with the explanation ‘Mickey Finn: a drink of liquor doctored with a drastic purgative or a stupefying drug.’ Finn, a former pickpocket in the red-light Levee District, owned The Lone Start Saloon and Palm Garden at the southern end of Whiskey Row. There he administered a knock-out drink to customers, probably laced with hydrate of chloral. The ‘Mickey Finn’ helped turn-of-the-century Chicago become known as a place where anything went.”
So there you have it. Today’s Mickey is Roofies. Ah, progress.
I waited some time to get my turn to crouch and take my picture in the lucite box that overhung the “Ledge” of the building.
See what I mean about “if you don’t like heights…” Anyway, I also got a shot of the mechanism that sends that lucite box out and then brings it back in. I looked closely at this before I got in that see-through box. Basically you are putting your life in its mechanics.
After my time at Skydeck, I got back on the bus. I took a number of shots of buildings we drove by. I am going to post them without mention of what buildings they are. If you know, please put them in the comment section of this post!
I also had to take a couple pictures of the legendary Chicago Theatre that opened in 1921. I love old marquees!
The rest of my site-seeing this day included more drive-by photos. I took a couple of the Navy Pier and Wrigley Stadium (you can definitely find better shots via Google), and other less exciting pictures, well, maybe not exciting for you but I did get to take my picture in a hot dog hat. I also meandered on Magnificent Mile and found the Sweet Spot in my Heart for Chicago!
Also spied a “Dear Hot Dog” book and ate my first Chicago-style hot dog. I am not a fan of Chicago-style pizza, so I am glad that I found this version of the hot dog tasty and delicious. I will definitely be eating those again!