Archive for December, 2018

Visiting Chicago

Friday, December 7th, 2018

Chicago riverThe third most populous city in the United States with more than 2.7 million inhabitants, Chicago experienced a blistering development in the late nineteenth century.

After more difficult times later on in its history, with some mixed segregation, prohibition, gang war and economic crisis, the city have witnessed a new prosperity since the beginning of the 90s. While continuing to encourage the construction of skyscrapers and architectural innovation, the municipality has the concern to always offer more green spaces.

Chicago still suffers from its sulphurous criminal record and is still facing a significant homicide rate: in 2016, there were just over two murders a day. Nevertheless, this figure should be put into perspective. First remember the size of the population of the city. Second, note that these crimes are mostly related to settling scores and are confined to low-income residential neighborhoods. On the other hand the city center is perfectly safe.

Finally in recent years, the main city of the state of Illinois regularly reaches first place in various studies, highlighting both its economy and its tourist attractiveness.

Willis Tower

If you are visiting, take the height to discover Chicago from the Skydeck, the observation point located at the 103rd of 108 floors that are part of the Willis Tower. If you usually avoid paying for attractions, then unlike the CN tower in Toronto, the price is reasonable there: just $23. And frankly, you will not be disappointed by the experience and the view! Highly recommend.

Completed in 1973 with a height of 527 meters, the Willis Tower was the tallest building in the world for 25 years (1973 – 1998) and the United States for 40 years, before being exceeded in 2013 by One World Trade Center in New York.

As can be seen by perusing online photos, downtown Chicago has an impressive number of towers: there are more than 80 buildings over 165 meters high, plus a dozen or so others, currently under construction. And the styles are very varied: from Art Deco to international style, neo-gothic and modernism, there is something for everyone!

Among the city’s most iconic skyscrapers, we will mention the Willis Tower of course, but also the magnificent Trump International Hotel and Tower, the dark John Hancock Center, the Marina City binoculars, the remarkable Aqua and the amazing Lake Point Tower.

Chicago also has older buildings, such as the imposing Merchandise Mart, the red Reid Murdoch Building, the Tribune Tower, the Wrigley Building, the Jewelers’ Building, and so on. In short, there is so much to do in this eclectic city!

The architecture of Chicago is also represented indoors, for who knows how to push the right doors. Two places that are particularly worth mentioning are the Chicago Cultural Center and the Rookery Building.

Many of these buildings are located along the Chicago River. This is one of the main attractions of the city. It gives it an undeniable charm and the recent development of a beautiful walk which runs partially along its bank, makes it even more attractive. Also note that no less than 38 mobile bridges line the river!

As stated above, the municipality has made significant efforts to bring some green to its residents. One of the best proofs is undoubtedly the Millennium Park, a large public park inaugurated in 2004, wedged between skyscrapers and Lake Michigan. It is also here that we find the famous Cloud Gate, affectionately nicknamed The Bean. This sculpture is one of the other symbols of Chicago. The park also includes a scene hosting various shows, a small amusement park, and various works, more or less contemporary, like the fun Crown Fountain.

One of the best ways to discover Chicago and its outdoor architecture while having the chance to take a step back from the city, is definitely to take part in one of the many cruises on the Chicago River. These are often a little expensive but honestly, if the weather is collaborating, it’s really worth it!

Among the many offers to get on a ship, Wendella Boats and its Wendella’s Signature Lake & River Tour provide a great experience. This lively 90-minute cruise covers the vast majority of the city’s main buildings, and finally ventures into Lake Michigan, offering a magnificent view of the city.

To discover the city, a cheaper alternative to the cruise is to take the “L”, the iconic Chicago metro. Largely airy, it winds through the heart of the city center and provides a very unique point of view.

If you really love the city, why not investing in some of its real estate, as prices are stil very low compared to the national average. Check with a top broker like Kale Realty to see what’s currently on sale as you may find a good bargain. This type of investment will give you a good reason to come back and revisit the city once in a while.