Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Chicago Chicago! 5 Must do things in Chicago.

Chicago River
Did you know that the Chicago River is color green because of the clay floor and the algae that grows on that clay?  Well, that's what the guide said during our architectural boat river cruise which by the way is a must- do while in Chicago. 

Here's my five must do things while visiting Chicago:

1. The restaurants! Its a foodie's haven. "Chicago cooking" has been buzzed about in the last couple of years as one Chicago resident described it as "daring, snout-to-tail, chef-driven." 
Blackbird chef Paul Kahan was the first to defy the foie gras ban way back which led to the city repealing the law. Must try are: Purple Pig food from rising star chef Jimmy Barrios who opened Batali's New York restaurants (note: no reservations so best to go off-hours), top Chef winner Steph Izar'ds Girl and the Goat, Maud's Liquor Bar by Chef Jeff Pikus, Boka in Lincoln Park, Naha on Clark, the new Italian-fare Balena. To book a table try 

Anish Kapoor's Cloud Gate sculpture 
2. Take the  Architectural River Boat cruise. Actually, it  should be the first on your list to give you an orientation of the City, its history and architecture. Note that it was scorching hot this June with temperature as high as 100! So, best to go early to avoid the lines and also wear a hat and sunglasses.

3. The Millenium Park to see the modern  art sculptures laid out in the 9-hectare garden and the iconic Cloud Gate (right photo), the gigantic, biomophic  sculpture made by Anish Kappor. It took him two years to complete this biomophic piece referred to by Chicago residents as 'the bean'. It is huge! 33 x 66 z 42 feet and apparently weighs 110-tons and made up of 168 stainless steel plates welded together with a mirror finish. 

with Eileen, Torpedo Los by Lichenstein behind
4. The Museums - top of my list is the Art Institute of Chicago on South Michigan Ave.  I was lucky to catch the retrospective show of Roy Lichenstein (until September 3), the largest exhition so far of the pop artist mounted with more than 160 of his works up. I heard it took four years to mount this exhibit. Also check out the Museum of Science and Industry on Lakeshore Drive. The museum has four floors and special exhibits so allot at least 4-5 hours!! I was able to see the interactive exhibits You! The Experience, Genetics and the Baby Chick Hatchery and Fast Forward and missed Mythbusters Explosive Exhibition and Smart Home: Green + Wired
If you have more time, go visit Sheld Aquarium which has the largest shark exhibit and tank and the natural history museum,  Field Museum

5. And lastly, go check out the theater scene which now rivals New York. Clybourne Park was first staged by Steepenwolf before winning a Tony for Chicago-playright Bruce Norrisand now playing in New York. Theater! I watched the Million Dollar Quartet, a fun musical about the story of Sun Records producer Sam Philips' last night on December 4, 1956 with his four bankable talents - Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and his then new discovery Jerry Lee Lewis. To get discounted tickets, visit

Last tip, bring your running shoes and run along Lakeshore Drive or Michigan Ave to the Water Tower. Enjoy!

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