Anna’s review of our Chicago trip – December 10-14, 2014

chicago-skyline-night

Where did you stay?

We recently visited Chicago as a four-day stopover before heading to Toronto. Chicago is a great city with many historical sites, great restaurants and of course, shopping! I recommend staying near the Magnificent Mile because most of the interesting sites were within an easy walking distance.

What did you do?

We spent 4 nights in Chicago and spent the majority of our time in the city. The key sites we saw were Cloudgate and the Crown Fountain during a chilly walk around Millennium Park, the Art Institute of Chicago, enjoyed spiced cider at the Christkindlmarket (a German Christmas market) and dinner at the famous Gibson’s steakhouse.

A suggestion about Gibson’s – Go with an empty stomach because the portions are huge!

On our last day, we took the train to Oak Park where Frank Lloyd Wright’s Chicago home and studio is located.  While I didn’t particularly love all of Wright’s designs for his home (too dark and closed-in for me) the bright, airy studio and surrounding neighbourhood made the trip.

Frank Lloyd Wright's Oak Park home & studio     Frank Lloyd Wright - Unitarian Church interior

Highlight

Food! We went to a number of great restaurants. A standout restaurant for me was Avec restaurant just outside the Chicago CBD. They serve a Mediterranean rustic menu in tapas style on small plates for enjoying yourself or sharing among your group. It’s very busy and noisy but oh! do they serve great food. They don’t accept reservations but you can show up, get on the waiting list and then find a drink at a nearby bar.

Lowlight

Cold, grey weather! As a Canadian I should be ashamed of complaining about the cold weather since it is supposed to be in my blood and all. I can tell you that I found it difficult to deal with the overcast and grey days with limited sunlight. Brisbane has completely spoiled me.

Interesting fact

The Art Institute of Chicago holds the largest collection of Impressionist paintings outside The Louvre in Paris.

How to get there

From Brisbane you can take Virgin Australia to Los Angeles (approximately 12.5 hours), and then Virgin America or another US airline on to Chicago (approx 4-4.5 hours).

If you are interested in great food, architecture and culture, Chicago is fantastic city to visit. I would visit again in a heartbeat!