Walking Tour of Chicago, IL, USA
The exciting city of Chicago has long been recognized as a “true” American city, built with the blood and sweat of average Americans. It is a conglomeration of a multitude of ethnic neighborhoods, many of which still retain their cultural flavor. It has blossomed into a center for the Arts and Sciences and its many fine museums draw tourists from around the world.
This walking tour begins in Grant Park which is the city’s centerpiece on Lake Michigan. The park provides great views of the city to the west and contains the marvelous Buckingham Fountain.
After strolling the park, head west (toward the city) on Jackson Boulevard, passing the Chicago Board of Trade, the world’s oldest commodity exchange, to the Sears Tower which is located on South Wacker Drive, a right off the boulevard. Go up to the 103rd floor Skydeck for stunning views of the entire city.
After the visit, continue north on Wacker Dr. Note the Chicago Mercantile Exchange on the left. It is one of the world’s largest financial exchanges. You’re can actually observe the trading of futures and options from the 4th floor gallery. Continue on what is now North Wacker Drive and then turn right on Washington Street and walk all the way to Michigan Avenue. Cross the major thoroughfare into Millennium Park (really just a continuation of Grant Park). Check out the noted architect Frank Gehry-designed Pritcker Pavilion, with its very modern and unusual band shell. Wander the gardens and promenades of the park before returning to Michigan Ave and turning right (north).
The downtown part of Michigan Avenue in Chicago is known as the Magnificent Mile — a treasure trove of high-end shopping and one of the best known venues of this type in the world.
After crossing the Chicago River, look for the Wrigley Building on the left. It was modeled after the Giralda of Seville, Spain. The Tribune Tower, a little further ahead on the right has a façade which incorporates stones from some of the world’s greatest structures, such as, the Great Wall of China, the Pyramids, and the Kremlin.
Further up Michigan Avenue is the Chicago Water Tower, one of only a few buildings to survive the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Its juxtaposition next to skyscrapers is dramatic and noteworthy. A bit further down the avenue, on the right, is the John Hancock Building. If you didn’t view the city from the Sears Tower, you have another opportunity here. The Observatory is on the 94th floor.
Continue up Michigan to Oak Street and take a right. Cross Lake Shore Drive to the Oak Street Beach, a great place for a picnic or a swim, or just to people-watch and relax.
When finished at the beach, follow Lake Shore Drive south along the Lake Michigan coastline. About ½ mile ahead, on the left, is the Navy Pier, originally an amusement park, now a complete family activity center.
Returning to Lake Shore Drive, take a left and continue south past Millennium Park and into Grant Park again. When you reach Roosevelt Road, you are approaching a cluster of world-class science museums. Learn about the natural sciences at the Field Museum; see a huge variety of aquatic animals at the John G Shedd Aquarium; and explore the heavens at the Adler Planetarium. When you reach the latter, there is an excellent view of the magnificent Chicago skyline. The view is even better at night.
Return to Lake Shore Drive, turn right and walk back to Grant Park where the walking tour began.