Willis Tower will always be known
as the Sears Tower.
At last check, it’s the 12th-tallest
building in the world, and I spent most of my time back at
Cindy’s mentally preparing to brave my acrophobia and
ascend 103 floors to its Skydeck for a supreme view
of America’s third-largest city. I skipped the glass-box
balcony known as The Ledge, but enjoyed picking out
Soldier Field and Wrigley Field, among other landmarks.
The next morning, I was glad to be outdoors — and relieved to be at
street level — for my urban tour. Chicago consists of 77 community
regions (that are themselves made up of various neighborhoods),
so I decided to explore something new and something old. Or, to be
more precise, somewhere hip and somewhere gilded.
After breakfast at Logan Square’s iconic Lula Cafe, we started
down the Hipster Highway, i.e., North Milwaukee Avenue, through
Bucktown toward Wicker Park, past a series of breweries, cafes,
and galleries scattered among auto shops and other family busi-
nesses. Milwaukee Avenue also is home to the Gorilla Tango Theatre,
Collaboraction Theatre Company, and Seanachaí Theatre Company,
three of more than 200 performing arts operations in Chicago.
“You can literally find any kind of theater any night of the week
here,” said Gabe Fries, my bicycle tour guide, and a local actor.
A healthy arts scene has always played a vital role in calculating
a city’s happy-to-live-here index. Recently, innovative green spaces
and car-free cycling routes have been added to the livability equa-
tion. The new 606 bike and pedestrian path melds both virtues.
This 2.7-mile former train artery passes various historical parks,
several schools, and a growing swath of adjacent townhouses, restau-
rants, and boutiques. There are multiple access points, so it’s easy to
get on and off, as I did for a bit of shopping, and a clam-and-artichoke
white pizza and Kick the Tires IPA at Piece Brewery & Pizzeria.
After lunch, it was time to work off some of yesterday’s bar-
becue (or maybe I was just working off the pizza) during a 7-mile
Bobby’s Bike Hike cycling tour of the northern neighborhoods. Our
ride encompassed a prominent queue of stately homes and struc-
tures in Old Town and the Gold Coast, including Hugh Hefner’s
original mansion. We also surveyed an early Frank Lloyd Wright
design, gorgeous private parks, and a wooden alleyway that some-
how escaped the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.
My second day in the Second City ended with a jaunt to
one more neighborhood — Ravenswood — for dinner at Band
of Bohemia, a brewery unlike any I’ve visited before. Ales here are
made with Thai long peppercorns and can accompany a grilled
quail appetizer and spice-rubbed duck entree. Needless to say,
this is not your typical pub grub. In fact, trying to properly describe
Band of Bohemia — its vibe, its menu, its beer — is a difficult task.
Sort of like trying to properly size up Chicago.
But in my last swig of a Noble Raven ale, it came to me that
Chicago remains very much a frontier town, willing to change its
future without sacrificing its past. And that’s an urban concept I
admit is certainly worth boasting about.
Travel writer and photographer Crai S. Bower contributes to more than
25 print and online publications. He also appears as a travel commen-
tator for American Forces Radio and Travel With Rick Steves.
Crai S. Bower; Crai S. Bower; Revival Food Hall
Issue 1, 2017
RIGHT: From cutting-edge cuisine to
hearty pub fare, Chicago has it all. Cozy
up to the bar for a beer and inspired
creations at the Michelin-starred
culinary brewhouse Band of Bohemia.
LEFT INSET: Head to The Dearborn, a
self-proclaimed urban American tavern,
for local burrata paired with farm beets
and heirloom tomatoes. RIGHT INSET:
Don’t miss Graze Kitchenette — one of
15 all-local food stalls at Revival Food
Hall — for a juicy, grass-fed, stick-to-
your-ribs burger on a brioche bun.
Situated in the River North neighborhood, this property
provides an ideal base from which to wander about
Chicago. The Riverwalk is a few blocks away, and just
beyond that is Grant Park and all of its public art and
other attractions.
State and Grand by BridgeStreet has an indoor
swimming pool, fitness center, and fun rooftop patio,
which showcases its best amenity: the location. The
Loop is just south, Navy Pier is out to the east, and the
prestigious Gold Coast neighborhood is up north.
or vimeo.com/184748293
(password: intervalworld).
Accommodations at SGJ and SG6 are available for purchase through the Getaway program, and generally will
not be available for exchange.
The One-Stop Shop For
All Your Travel Needs
Car Rentals
Attraction Tickets
Travel Insurance
Destination Videos
Travel Tips
And More!
There’s no reason to go anywhere else!
Happiness inTraveling
1...,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20,21 23,24,25,26,27,28,29,30,31,32,...51