Chi-Town // Day 3
A new day and more to see! The forecast had called for thunderstorms and showers, and I decided to make this a museum/indoor day. Of course, when I was on my way downtown, the skies opened up.
To avoid getting drenched, I ducked into Vanille Patisserie for some macarons and to stay dry. Eh, mostly for the macarons (the brown one is nutella and the blue vanilla).
Once the rain had stopped, I strolled down the Magnificent Mile or Mag Mile, which is basically high-end shopping on Michigan Avenue. Definitely didn't need to buy anything, especially since I didn't have room in my suitcase...but it’s fun to window shop though!
Walking in the main downtown area puts the city in perspective. The skyscrapers are numerous and loom above. The rain clouds caused fog to hang at the upper levels of the buildings.
And then I came to the river! The Chicago River weaves it's way through the city and, fun fact, runs backwards!
Just a few streets after the crossing the river, I found Millennium Park. It's home to Wrigley Square...
the Jay Pritzker Pavillion...
the Crown Fountain...
and most the famous Cloud Gate sculpture more commonly known as the Bean.
I'll be quite honest, I was disappointed by the Bean. I think there was too much hype about it and I thought it'd be bigger, but it's one of those things you have to see once. It's still fun! Be sure to go in the early morning before it is teeming with tourists taking ridiculous selfies.
Right next door to Millennium Park is the iconic Art Institute of Chicago, voted #1 museum in the world in 2014.
When I first entered I didn't know where to go. Typical me, I couldn't decide weather to start with the Charles Ray exhibit, classic Greek statues, or American Art....and then I saw the Impressionism are and went straight there.
With every turn I saw an artist or a piece I had studied. I wanted to cry (in a good way). When I first entered the room, I immediately see A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grand Jatte by Georges Seurat. Cool. Wow. I never thought I'd ever see this piece in real life.
The rest of the walls were lined with Renoir, Monet, Degas, Gaugin, Van Gogh, Manet, Pissarro, Cézanne, and more Seurat, just to name a few.
I scurried about and soaked it all in. There’s mainly paintings, but there’s also relics and artifacts from various time periods.
This place is massive; I spent at least 3+ hours there and that was me going fast...granted I do like to ponder the pieces and take a closer look, but still.
There were a few more favorites to see like El Greco, Pollock, Picasso, Dalí, Matisse, Kandinsky, Lichtenstein, Malevich, Mondrian, O’Keefe, Hopper, J.M.W.Turner, Inness, Eakins, Botticelli, Bierstadt, Whistler, and Homer (these last three are some of my favorites).
I almost cried when I saw this Turner because we had focused heavily on him in London
and this Seurat sketch because I saw the final product at the National Gallery in London.
It’s SO SO SO rewarding and important to experience the things you’ve studied. It reinforces the ideas with the tangible. And you feel like you know something. That's cool too.
When I initially bought my ticket for the art institute, the lady selling convinced me to combo it with the Sears Tower aka Willis tower featuring Skydeck Chicago. This is the one where you jet up to the 103rd floor and can stand on a glass balcony.
Word of advice, don’t go on a sunny, Sunday afternoon — just don't. There were a lot more lines than I would like. Thank goodness I bought my combo ticket because I shaved off 30 minutes. I would have left, but I was already committed and had been waiting in line for a decent amount of time.
Eh, but it was worth the view. The glass balcony was a little terrifying at first (especially coming from someone with a mile fear of heights) but a neat feature!
I ended the day with another stroll through downtown and a walk along the Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park.
Another really, really good day.