It has been rumored that Chicago is windy and cold. I visited this beautiful city in March and wore a sweater the entire trip. The coat stayed in my suitcase. Perhaps I was just fortunate, but except for a rainy evening and a downpour on the morning I traveled to the airport to head home, it was a marvelous trip without much in the way of wind or cold. I visited Chicago and the small nearby town of Lombard during my Illinois adventures.
The highlight of the trip was my stay in the most beautiful hotel I’ve ever seen – the Hotel Allegro. I actually spent several hours roaming the hotel corridors and photographing the amazing details.
The first night, we took the subway from the airport to the hotel. It was fast and efficient and I met some fascinating people and saw an amazing act of generosity. A young man gave every cent he had to a man in need. From the amount of money he handed him, I would say it was his entire week’s earnings. The other man, a complete stranger to this generous guy, prayed for God to bless him with tears running down his face. This was pretty much how my entire trip was. People in Chicago might be in a hurry, but they are willing to stop to help someone in need. And, unlike many drivers in bustling cities I’ve visited, these busy folks are amazing patient with pedestrians who jaywalk or enter the crosswalk when the light is not in their favor!
The first place we visited for dinner was Eataly Chicago, a massive Italian marketplace/dining experience that has several locations in the USA. The next night, we dined at 312 Chicago, which had absolutely incredible food. I also had a leisurely, but average, breakfast in Lombard at the Westin Lombard Yorktown Center’s seafood restaurant, Holy Mackerel!.
I spent most my time in Chicago just wandering through the streets with my GPS and soaking up the atmosphere. The architecture is beyond incredible. I came across the largest Dick Blick store in the US and stopped in to pick up a travel watercolor kit. (I order from them online a lot, but visiting the actual store was a fun, although dangerous for my budget, experience.)
Between wanderings, I also enjoyed a visit to the Art Institute of Chicago’s Ryan Education Center and spent several hours in iconic Millennium Park.
When I finally decided to head back to the hotel, I had my small taste of traditional Chicago weather. I am sure the doormen thought I was a little nuts standing in the rain with my camera, but they were too gracious to comment and I was able to capture the perfect group of photos to use for my digital painting of Chicago.
Disclaimer: None of the places mentioned in this post asked to be mentioned or offered me any compensation. This was a trip for my personal enjoyment and was paid for from my wallet.