I had a busy today, in terms of “keeping busy.” However, my schedule was very relaxed today. No rush, lots of time to relax, etc. So this should be a bit shorter post – less detail.
This is my last full day in Chicago which means it is the day to do the #1 thing I planned for this city: the Art Institute of Chicago. Today’s hours were 10:30am-5:00pm, so I figured I should wake up at 9:30 and I’d get there in time. I woke up at 11:15.
I was at the museum by noon. That’s including 20 minutes of commuting time.
The Art Institute of Chicago is enormous – over one million square feet. It’s located in Grant Park and basically I can describe it this way. When I saw a famous artist’s piece and reflected on how I had seen some of his/her work before, I quickly noticed I was standing in an entire room devoted to that artist! An entire room of Toulouse-Lautrec, rooms of Picassos, Degas, Seurats, and Richters. An entire museum’s worth of impressionism, Italian Renaissance, 17th century Flemish, Medieval armor, contemporary modern, everything. And not just rooms and rooms of contemporary modern – we’re talking rooms of “American contemporary abstract since 1960.” And this is all just what is on display currently. I don’t think I could count the number of Monets I saw on my fingers and toes. Today my smartphone battery lasted 7 hours, but I’m sure that’s largely because I was using it constantly. The Art Institute has an outstanding app which is basically a free guided tour, categorized by theme, room, amount of time you have to spend there, etc. By far the most impressive museum I’ve ever seen. Well worth the $23 admission price and I’d gladly pay that again to go back tomorrow. The only negative was I wanted to see Edward Hopper’s “Nighthawks” but it is on loan.
After this I took the bus up to Navy Pier, which is the #1 attraction in Chicago. Wrigley Field is #3, but I don’t know what #2 is. Navy Pier is basically like a carnival/shops on a mile long pier.
I stayed for about 15 minutes then bought a water taxi ticket. It happened to be going exactly to my next planned destination (saving me 45 minutes of bus time) and I was looking forward to actually being in a boat on Lake Michigan. It was everything I expected and I was soon down at the Museum Quarter. I read online that there are good sunset views near the Adler Planetarium.
Today I carried my camera with its 35mm f1.8 lens and didn’t bring my camera bag. That means no tripod. It was a great move, though, because it was about 90 degrees with 90% humidity today. It was nice to not be carrying extra weight. Anyway, I found a grassy area and relaxed/stared into space/watched the boats for a while. After sunset, I walked back toward downtown and planned to jump on the “L” back to my room. However, I decided to keep walking back up to the Chicago River for some night pictures and food.
Today, I got an avocado wrap and grain muffin at Pret A Manger (take out packaged foods), a Veggie sandwich and amazing banana milkshake from Potbelly, a sandwich chain, and finally a salad from Chipotle.
Tomorrow I pick up a car and head north to W’sconsin. Part of me wants to go an hour out of my way to see if Iowa is anything special. I better not – crossing the border doesn’t tell you much about a state. It wouldn’t be fair to Iowa if I did that.