Less Bluster, More Bustle. Finding Your Way in the Windy  City

Less Bluster, More Bustle. Finding Your Way in the Windy City

Nov 29, 2017

My first introduction to the city of Chicago was the 1995 film While You Were Sleeping. B-roll of the city’s skyline flashed through the movie, and the clickety-clack of the “L” ran through its soundtrack. A silver caterpillar cruising over bridges, past the Chicago River. Home to two and a half million people, the city boasts some of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Parks, hotels, river walks and cruises: enough to fill a day, a weekend, or even a couple weeks of fun filled romping around The Windy City.

Located in the heart of downtown Chicago, Millennium Park boasts world-class architecture, the most sophisticated outdoor concert venue of its kind: an award-winning center for art and music designed by Frank Gehry. Bordered by Michigan Avenue to the west, Columbus Drive to the east, Randolph Street to the North, and Monroe Street to the South: a virtual hotbed of activity any way you walk. Conceived as an outdoor space by then-mayor Richard M. Dayley, the plan evolved from a 16-acre park to the 24.5-acre triumph in the tradition of the city’s original founders.

Rising 1,353 above the streets of the Windy City, The Ledge is a transformative viewing experience. Not for the faint of heart, it’s glass boxes extend 4.3 feet beyond Willis Towers’ Skydeck on the 103rd floor, providing a rarely seen view of the city. The original Sears Tower architecture firm (Skidmore, Owings and Merrill) designed The Ledge so that the fully enclosed glass boxes retract into the building, allowing access for maintenance - and to keep the glass as crystalline as possible. Standing 110 stories tall, the tower itself is a world renowned feat of architecture. Being out on a glass ledge, over a thousand feet above the deck, you’ll never see Chicago with the same eyes again.

Cloud Gate Photo by Adam Alexander PhotographyCloud Gate Photo by Adam Alexander PhotographyNinety minutes isn’t that long. A typical Hollywood blockbuster runs exactly that - excluding credits and previews, of course. And yet, so much can happen in an hour and thirty minutes. Daily during the sailing season, discover the luxury of Chicago’s finest fleet, and hop aboard for 90 minutes of amazing. Choose Chicago’s First Lady and the Chicago Architecture Foundation to experience a river cruise from the Riverwalk, just three blocks north of Millennium Park. Complete with open-air decks and interior salon room, full bar service, and catering based on your group attendance, you can experience the city in a brand new way. Choose a private cruise for your company, wedding party or social engagement and travel beneath the city’s magnificent skyline alongside a CAF-certified volunteer docent providing stories of The Windy City’s original architects. Magic on the water, in just 90 minutes.

Chicago Skydeck Photo by Adam Alexander PhotographyChicago Skydeck Photo by Adam Alexander PhotographyMany modern cities exist solely because their original inhabitants needed a place near the water to survive, a great many years ago. Chicago is no different, and in fact, the history of the city side by side its greatest river makes for some of the most fascinating reading out there. The Chicago Riverwalk offers an in-person look at the city from one of its most unique angles. Dining opportunities, public art exhibitions, local musicians and special events are hosted throughout the season. Tours of the bridges, birding walks with Audubon Great Lakes, and the McCormick Bridgehouse and River Museum offer up some of the city’s most incredible activities side-along its historic landmarks.

Chicago Riverwalk Photo by Ranvestel PhotographicChicago Riverwalk Photo by Ranvestel PhotographicNow accepting reservations in the heart of Chicago’s effervescent Gold Coast is the “new” Talbott Hotel (U.S. News and World Report’s Best Hotels in Illinois 2017). Built in 1927, the European-style boutique property recently underwent an extensive $20 million renovation to emerge with a fresh new look with updated interiors throughout - all without compromising the impeccable service, opulent accommodations (think plush beds with luxurious linens, marble accented bathrooms, a waterfall shower and Jonathan Adler amenities), unexpected delights and grace of a bygone era upon which it has stood the test of time.

Photo courtesy of City of ChicagoPhoto courtesy of City of ChicagoThe amenity-rich property boasts a new state-of-the-art fitness center, complimentary high-speed wireless Internet, pet-friendly accommodation, hotel room service, dry cleaning and laundry service.

The Talbott Hotel, Chicago Photo by Laure JolietThe Talbott Hotel, Chicago Photo by Laure JolietMere steps away from the iconic Magnificent Mile on Michigan Avenue, the Talbott Hotel is fabulously appointed for meetings, weddings, and more. Worthy of a special mention is its brand new signature eatery - 20 East, distinguished by creative, quality-driven menus and a modern take on classic American fare. Playful presentation matches its inventive flavor, open for breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner. Everything you want for a taste outside the ordinary.

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