We adore Chicago. It reminds us of Philadelphia and New York City, except cleaner than the former and more manageable than the latter. We would consider settling here one day if it weren’t for the high crime rate.
Millennium Park/Grant Park
Home to iconic structures like “Cloud Gate” (aka “The Bean”) and Buckingham Fountain, this park reminds us of NYC’s Central Park. With beautiful greenery and art throughout, it is definitely worth a stroll through! The juxtaposition of nature with skyscrapers in the background offers a refreshing “escape” from the rest of the city.
The Art Institute of Chicago
My (Nhi’s) heart skipped a beat as I stepped inside the Art Institute. I’m just infatuated with the Impressionism era — my work office featured Monet and my home Van Gogh. The museum has an impressive collection of Monet along with sculptures, Asian, and American arts. We spent most of our time visiting and re-visiting the Impressionism exhibits.
Fun Anecdote: I (Nhi) didn’t pack comfortable shoes. By the time we walked through the park and the institute, I was dying from pain. Walking barefoot didn’t help as the gravels felt like pins and needles. Further, there were pieces of broken glasses on the sidewalk. So Thanh told me to wait for him. After some time, he came back with Croc shoes to save my feet. :)
John Hancock Center
I (Nhi) contemplated making the 94th floor my office. Just imagine! Breathtaking view from every corner and a convenient cafe just steps away. So marvelous. Since we were on vacation, we took the opportunity to sip a cup of coffee and take it all in. Of all the observatories we’ve been to, this is easily our favorite.
Water Tower (Wow Bao)
The Water Tower Place is probably one of the fanciest shopping malls I’ve (Thanh) seen. Since we weren’t in the shopping mood, we didn’t fully check it out. The highlight to us was the Wow Bao eatery on the first floor. It features fresh Chinese steamed buns with a variety of savory and sweet fillings. While we personally still love our recipe the most, the buns were a great snack! We liked the Mongolian beef and chicken teriyaki fillings best.
Unfortunately, most attractions were closed due to construction during this time (early June 2014). Otherwise, it seemed like a nice place for some ferris wheel and miniature golf fun. It also has a nice theater for Shakespeare plays as well as acrobatic performances. The pier itself was absolutely freezing, but was equally relaxing. It offers an excellent scenery of boats, sea gulls, and an endless blue of Lake Michigan.
Visit Chicago! Parking here is outrageously expensive. We recommend that you leave your car at the hotel and take the public transportation to hit up the list of attractions.