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yk's I ((L)) Chicago Nov 2010 Trip Report (+ 24 hrs in Dallas)

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Nov 6th, 2010, 09:16 PM
  #1
yk
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yk's I ((L)) Chicago Nov 2010 Trip Report (+ 24 hrs in Dallas)

First of all, I Chicago!

Second, thank you to the Fodorites who have both directly and indirectly helped me with my trip-planning. I have asked plenty of questions and received many helpful replies; at the same time, I have also read numerous Chicago trip reports which were each a gem on its own.

Who?
yk & Mr.yk (in our late '30s)

Why?
Each fall, we normally take a 1-week trip to Europe. We were thinking of Amsterdam this year, however, I was unable to find tix that are under $1000. Well, how about a domestic trip then? Even though we have been to most major US cities, we managed to skip over Chicago every time (well, I've been to Chicago once, for about 12 hrs during an Amtrak layover).

At first, we were going to spend an entire week in Chicago. But I was also planning a separate weekend visit to Dallas (to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary - we were married in Dallas). In the end, I booked an open jaw ticket with us flying from Boston to Dallas for 24 hours, then Dallas to Chicago, and Chicago to Boston. Our tickets were about $350pp, which was definitely cheaper than 2 separate r/t tickets to Chicago and Dallas.

When?
First week of November, 2010

Our Interests?
Art & Architecture, classical music

I'm going to focus this trip report on Chicago. I may add a few words on our short stay in Dallas at the end, if anyone is still reading by then.

Instead of giving you a day-by-day description, I'm going to post the TR by topics. But here's a brief run-down of what we did in Chicago:

Five Museums
• Art Institute of Chicago
• Museum of Contemporary Art
• Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows
• Shedd Aquarium
• Museum of Science and Industry

Seven Architecture-related tours
• FLW's Home and Studio tour
• FLW's Robie House tour
• Robie House neighborhood walking tour (U of Chicago campus)
• Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF) River Cruise
• CAF Tiffany Treasures tour
• CAF Downtown Deco tour
• IIT campus tour

Outdoor attractions
• Millennium Park
• Grant Park
• Navy Pier

Three evening shows
• Billy Elliot
• NPR's Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me live taping
• Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream by the Lyric Opera of Chicago

I'm sure those of you who have been to Chicago (or local Chicagoans) know that it is an expensive city. We were able to save quite a bit of money with some of these yk's Money-saving tips
• Many museums have free community days. Here's a list: http://www.explorechicago.org/city/e...Free_Days.html
• If you have Amex, it's worth going through this list of "Sweet Deals" http://www.choosechicago.com/pages/s...lslanding.aspx
• Chicago's Office of Tourism website also has discount vouchers for dining, entertainment etc: http://www.chicagoofficeoftourism.or...ons/index.html
• For shows, try Hottix.org which sells tickets at half-price, and don't forget Goldstar.com
• We stayed at an apt I found on VRBO, which not only is cheaper than most hotels, we also saved money by cooking dinner in the apt on most nights.
• Once we've bought our plane tickets (~ 3 months ago), I subscribed to Groupon Chicago. Through its daily deals, I purchased the CAF household membership at half price, as well as a couple of restaurant coupons at half price.

Safety
Since we haven't been to Chicago, I've asked quite a lot of questions about walking around in Chicago and in nearby neighborhoods. Overall, we felt safe during our entire stay. Sure, there are some areas along the Blue Line and Green Line that are sort of an eye sore, but we didn't encounter any problems on the subway or buses. We also walked around in the IIT campus in Bronzeville, the U of C campus in Hyde Park, rode the Green Line out to Oak Park (and back). All were fine during the day.

We walked in the Loop many times at night and felt very safe there too. We also walked through Millennium Park and Grant Park around sunset and had no trouble whatsoever.

Transport
We got around Chicago by the "L", by buses, and on foot. We each got a 7-day CTA pass for $23. We ended up taking 14 rides so we got our money's worth with the pass.
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Nov 7th, 2010, 03:33 AM
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Great trip report, yk! I've made two very brief trips to Chicago and have always wanted to go back.
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Nov 7th, 2010, 04:49 AM
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Chicago gets my vote for the most interesting-looking city in the U.S. The architecture is amazing, seemingly everywhere in town. Maybe it has just been the areas I've roamed around, but each block was absolutely filled with buildings that you just wanted to linger at and let your eyes enjoy the meal.

People who built things in that town cared what they looked like.
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Nov 7th, 2010, 05:38 AM
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I live on the outskirts of Chicago. I love, love, love to read trip reports on the city because they often open my eyes to new places to go, new sights to see. I always spend a girl's weekend downtown at Christmas time and it is coming up. We like to go to new places and try to do it without breaking the bank. Can't wait to read more of your report especially about the architectural tours. Chicago is a great city, so glad you loved it.
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Nov 7th, 2010, 07:48 AM
  #5
yk
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What we like about Chicago
• OMG, the architecture! We love everything from the historic buildings from the late 1800s (birth of skyscraper), to the art deco period, to mid-century International style, to post-modern and contemporary architecture. Chicago has it all.
• Altho DT Chicago feels a lot like Manhattan, we find Chicago DT much LESS claustrophobic than Manhattan. There is more open space and room for us to look up at the buildings. In Manhattan, the streets feel narrower and the buildings are more jam packed and it's hard to have a good look at the tall bldgs.
• DT Chicago is less crowded (both pedestrian and vehicular traffic) than Manhattan. Streets are cleaner.
• Public transport is easy to navigate and gets us to every place we want.

We were in Chicago for about 5.5 days, and we felt we barely scratched the surface. We definitely will go back to visit!

Where we stayed
We rented a 1BR apt through VRBO. It's located within the loop, near State/Madison. I know many people here prefer staying north of the river in Streeterville, however, for us, this within-the-loop location was PERFECT. All the subway lines are within 2 blocks away; lots of bus lines run up/down State Street. Millennium Park, Art Institute, CAF office are all within a 5-10 min walk. All our evening entertainment locale are also within a 5-10 min walk.

I think for visitors who enjoy shopping and eating out (esp dinner), the Streeterville/Mag Mile location would be better for them. But since those aren't as crucial to us, we really much prefer where we stayed.

The only issue with our apt location is street noise. We can hear the L (tracks are only 1 block away) and there are always garbage trucks coming around at 5am. Since we are suburbanites, the noise kept waking me up the first couple of nights. However, towards the end of our stay, I was sleeping thru all the noise.
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Nov 7th, 2010, 01:56 PM
  #6
yk
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Another thing we LOVE about Chicago is the LAKE! Such a wide expanse of water; for us living on the Atlantic seaboard, it's hard to imagine we're looking at a lake and not the ocean. We love that one can see the water from almost everywhere in the city, and so much green space is right along the lakeshore.

Guidebooks and Maps
I only used the Fodors 2010 Chicago guidebook, which was pretty good. I particularly like the architecture section in the guidebook. However, the map that's enclosed in the Fodors book is pretty useless.

For maps, I found 2 free ones at the visitors center that are excellent. One is a CTA transit map for downtown Chicago. It lists the "L" as well as bus lines. The other map is the official map published by Visit Chicago.

Let's talk about FOOD next. We are not foodies, so we didn't dine at the hottest or most famous restaurants on our trip. And since we're on a budget, we ate all but one dinner at "home," but we did eat out for lunch every day. We spent about $120 on groceries, which provided 6 breakfasts and 5 dinners.

Park Grill at Millennium Park
http://www.parkgrillchicago.com/grill/index.asp
We ate lunch here after visiting the Art Institute. DH had a Wisconsin roasted pumpkin soup (with apple chutney) and a local beef burger. I had Dungeness crab gumbo and an Asian-inspired king crab salad (with a sweet garlic-chili vinaigrette). We thought the food was very, very good; though the service (mostly the bus boys) was a bit haphazard. Our lunch was $43, utilizing a "buy one entree, get second entree half-off" coupon from Chicago Tourism website. (http://www.chicagoofficeoftourism.or...ons/index.html )

Lou Mlanati's Pizzeria near Grant Park
http://www.loumalnatis.com/
We ate our only dinner out here, after we visited Shedd Aquarium and Grant Park. We arrived around 5:30pm and were seated right away. However, by the time we left at 6:30pm, there were a lot of people waiting for tables (and this was a Monday night). Even though I'm not a pizza fan, I really enjoyed the deep dish pizza we had here. We shared a "Lou" which has spinach, mushrooms, and sliced tomatoes as toppings. We also split an antipasto salad. We cleaned our plates. Dinner was about $30.
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_6942.jpg

Signature Room at the 95th (atop John Hancock Bldg)
https://www.signatureroom.com/Cuisine/Lunch/
We ate lunch here and it was our most expensive meal on this trip; however, it was worth every penny. The food was decent and the view is just breathtaking! They offer a lunch buffet for $20 but we decided to order a la carte. We split a squash ricotta bruschetta. DH had a blackened salmon burger while I had a pastrami sandwich. We then shared a choc fudge cake with PB brittle on top and caramel sauce. Our bill was $55.

Interior space: http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_6974.jpg
Art Deco light fixture: http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_6976.jpg
The view:
North http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_6983.jpg
East http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_6984.jpg
Directly below (you can see the Mies Lakeshore Drive twin bldgs) http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_6987.jpg

Wow Bao at State & Lake
http://www.wowbao.com/
We grabbed a quick lunch here after taking one of the CAF walking tours. I thought their Chinese buns are excellent - the skin is just the right consistency! Between the 2 of us, we had 8 buns (5 different flavors). I particularly like the whole wheat edamame flavor. We also tried the Chocolate bun which was interesting. Apart from the buns, DH had a bowl of Thai Curry chicken w/rice, and I had (cold) spicy peanut noodles. Those were good too but not as much as a standout from the buns. If we were in Chicago longer, we definitely would return for more buns. Our lunch was $25.
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_7114.jpg

Medici on 57th in Hyde Park
http://www.medici57.com/
This is a convenient location for lunch during our visit to Hyde Park/Robie House/U of C campus. We both had chicken sandwiches: grilled chicken for me, buffalo chicken for DH. The food was fine but really nothing to write home about. They do bake the bread on premise. Our bill was $20.

Puree's Pizza & Pasta in Oak Park
http://www.pureespizzaandpasta.com/
This is located just 2 blocks from FLW's Unity Temple. We ate here simply because I had purchased a Groupon offer from them for half off ($5 for a $10 GC). The food was not bad at all. DH had a tuscan chicken panini and I had a fried cod fish sandwich. Both came with a side salad. Overall, a very good deal for $5.25 + $10 GC.

America's Dog at Randolph and State
http://www.americasdog.com/
This was sort of a pre-show evening snack. Again, I purchased a groupon GC ($3 for a hotdog + fries + drink). We each got a "Chicago Dog" and shared the fries and drink. The Chicago Dog is topped with mustard, relish, onion, sport peppers, tomato, pickle & celery salt. I must say we weren't particularly impressed by America's Dog, but at least we can say we have tried the Chicago-style hot dog.
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_7138.jpg
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Nov 7th, 2010, 02:12 PM
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Sounds like an interesting trip so far, thanks for reporting, keep it up.
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Nov 7th, 2010, 08:04 PM
  #8
yk
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Thanks for all your comments. I'm going away for a few days starting tomorrow, so I won't be able to continue this until next weekend. But I promise I'll be back to finish the trip report and post more photos then.
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Nov 7th, 2010, 08:24 PM
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It's hard to walk bt Wow Bao without ordering a bun to go...in the entrance to the Watertower Place shopping center on Michigan Ave as well as one in the Loop.Yum.
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Nov 8th, 2010, 06:14 AM
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Chicago is also one of my all time favorite cities. We are only a 4 hour drive from there so we try to get there for long weekends a couple times a year.

I am glad you had a great time - I was quoted in the Fodors Chicago guide!!
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Nov 8th, 2010, 09:27 AM
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I love Chicago and am enjoying your report (great suggestion on joining Groupon in advance)..
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Nov 8th, 2010, 01:28 PM
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Glad you had a good trip, yk! Man oh man I love Groupon, and that's a great idea to get them in other cities before you go.
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Nov 10th, 2010, 05:43 PM
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Wait wait don't tell me - fantastic!

I love the architecture too. I went on an architecture tour the last time I was there (biz trip with an extra day tacked on) and would have loved to have had more time...

Great report as always...
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Nov 15th, 2010, 01:13 PM
  #14
yk
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MUSEUMS

• Art Institute of Chicago

http://www.artic.edu/aic/

The museum is huge and it is impossible to see everything on 1 visit, esp with the new Modern wing addition. We were there for about 3 hours and (quickly) saw most of the galleries we'd wanted to see. Their Impressionist paintings collection is impressive.

The galleries in the Renzo Piano Modern Wing are fine, but the building itself isn't particularly memorable. I suppose it serves it purpose? Being unobtrusive to the art work it displays? After been to several Renzo Piano buildings, they seem to look very much alike.

Some of the more memorable and unique exhibits at the Art Institute are:

Marc Chagall's America's Windows have just been reopened on Nov 1, after a 5-year restoration.
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_6922.jpg
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_6924.jpg

The reconstructed Chicago Stock Exchange Trading room
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_6925.jpg

The Thorne miniature rooms. 68 period rooms are on display here, with exquisite details in the most minute scale. http://www.artic.edu/aic/collections/thorne

We actually did not have time to see the European Old Masters galleries. Oh well, next visit!

Shedd Aquarium
http://www.sheddaquarium.org/

We visited the Shedd Aquarium on one of its free community days. Bus #146 goes directly to the Aquarium from downtown.

The free entry is only limited to the exhibits on the first floor. Basically, all the newer exhibits on the lower level require a paid ticket. Since we aren't huge aquarium fans and we only have 2 hours before closing, the free exhibits were good enough for us.
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_6933.jpg
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_6929.jpg

Museum of Contemporary Art
http://www.mcachicago.org/index.php

We visited MoCA on Tuesday - admission is free all day every Tuesdays. The museum is not that large, and most of the gallery space is devoted to the current Luc Tuyman exhibition. It was okay but I don't think I "get" his paintings.
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_6988.jpg

Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows
http://www.navypier.com/things2do/ri...th_museum.html

The museum (always free), located at Navy Pier, is much larger than I had expected, with a wide range of styles on display. Also on display are stained glass windows by Tiffany Studios and some art glass windows by FLW. I particularly like a set of windows that are based on a painting by Alphonse Mucha.
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_7003.jpg
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_7004.jpg

Museum of Science and Industry
http://www.msichicago.org/

We took the #6 Jackson Park express bus to MSI from the Loop. The ride is 25 minutes and the bus stop is 1 block north of the museum entrance. With an Amex "Sweet Deals" coupon (mentioned above in the money-saving tips segment), we got a 2-for-1 admission entry.

The MSI is ENORMOUS, with lots and lots of exhibits. We began our visit at the coal mine. It is a guided 30-min tour which I found extremely well-done. We learned about how coal mining techniques have evolved over the years; but it remains a dangerous occupation. All the machinery in the exhibit came from a closed-down coal mine in Illinois. Most are still operable and our tour guide often turns them on so we can appreciate the noise and the environment the miners have to work in. We also got to ride the rail cars for a short distance. The complete darkness and the noise of the cars were quite unnerving. I highly recommend taking this tour - and try to do this as early as possible, because each tour is only limited to 20 people, and the tour is offered 4x/hour.
http://www.msichicago.org/whats-here...its/coal-mine/

We then spent about an hour at the Science Storms gallery. There are lots of hands-on experiments to play with. We also checked out the Great Train Story, the Transportation Gallery, and Yesterday's Main Street. Hanging from the ceiling of the Transportation Gallery are a Boeing 727, a 1940 Spitfire, and a 1941 Stuka
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_7157.jpg

We were at MSI for 3 hours, but we could have easily spent an entire day there. There are plenty of exhibits we didn't have a chance to see on this visit.
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Nov 15th, 2010, 01:27 PM
  #15
yk
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The Outdoors

Millennium Park
http://www.millenniumpark.org/

Totally awesome! I have seen plenty of photos of the Park, but it's still amazing to be there and see "the Bean" with my own eyes (formally known as "Cloud Gate")!
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_6863.jpg
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_6865.jpg

The Gehry-designed Pritzker Pavilion
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_6881.jpg

http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_6892.jpg

Grant Park
We walked from Shedd Aquarium to the Buckingham Fountain. I really love the green space plus the unobstructed great view of the lake! The fountain is already drained for the season.

Looking north towards downtown http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_6934.jpg
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_6938.jpg

Buckingham Fountain
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_6940.jpg

Navy Pier
We were there in late afternoon, and since it was a nice day, we walked OUTside along the pier to its very tip. My guess is the pier extends a good half-mile out into the lake?

One of the bldgs on Navy Pier:
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_6992.jpg

Great view from the tip of the Pier
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_6994.jpg
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_6999.jpg

If the weather were warmer, I have no doubt we'd enjoy spending more time outdoors in other parks in the city!
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Nov 15th, 2010, 01:50 PM
  #16
yk
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Evening Shows

• Billy Elliot at the Oriental Theatre

I don't think I need to say much, if anything, about Billy Elliot. We bought our tickets at the Hottix box office on Randolph Street, and got orchestra seats for $54 each.

Billy Elliot has been playing in Chicago since April 2010, but I believe it is closing at the end of November.

The Oriental Theatre is quite an interesting spectacle, as the decor is inspired by India.

Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!
We love this NPR show, so we were thrilled to attend the live taping at the Chase Bank Auditorium. Tickets are often sold out way in advance, soon after they are released. The auditorium seats 500, and 40 out of the 500 tickets are given to Goldstar.com to be sold at 1/2 price. I was lucky enough to snatch 2 of the half-priced tickets as soon as they became available on Goldstar. Since there is no assigned seating, there is no downside to getting them at half price.

Details about getting tickets can be found in this WBEZ blog post:
http://www.wbez.org/donhall/2010/09/...schedule/38039

Doors open at 7pm for the 7:30pm taping. If you want a seat in the front rows, you'd need to be there early. We arrived around 6:30pm and there was a long line in front of us already. But even if you get a seat in the last row, you still can get a decent view of the stage.

The taping takes almost 2 hours for the 1-hr show. But the 2 hours flew by as we were just laughing and cheering and clapping the entire time. It was great to finally put a face on Peter Sagal and Carl Kasell. The panelists we had were Charlie Pierce, Mo Rocca, and Roxanne Roberts. The phone-in not-my-job guest was Elvis Costello.

The hosts and panelists stayed behind for autographs and photos after the taping, but we didn't approach them.

Anyway, we had a GREAT time. We'd definitely go again next time we visit Chicago.

http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_7149.jpg

Benjamin Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream at Lyric Opera of Chicago

We absolutely loved this performance - it's the company's premiere; 50 years after AMND was first performed. The cast was fantastic and the production was good too. The opera house is bigger than I had expected (3500+ seats), every inch is clad in gold color and totally art deco (built in 1929)
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_7179.jpg

----------------
Next installment will be on architecture tours; which I won't be able to post until tomorrow.
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Nov 15th, 2010, 03:22 PM
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yk, I am so jealous that you got to go to WWDTM - and with Mo Rocca to boot! I am definitely filing that info away for my next trip, whenever that is.
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Nov 16th, 2010, 11:45 AM
  #18
yk
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ARCHITECTURE
Loop/Downtown area


We took 3 architecture tours in the Loop/DT area, all led by Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF).
http://caf.architecture.org/

As I mentioned in my OP, we took advantage of a Groupon deal and joined CAF household membership at half price ($37 instead of $75). With the membership, all walking tours are free. For the boat tour, we get a buy-1-get-1-free discount. If we didn't have a membership and purchased each tour individually, we would have paid $130 for the 3 tours. With the discounted membership, we ended up paying $69 total.

Architecture River Cruise
http://caf.architecture.org/Page.aspx?pid=574

Based on what I've read on the forums, no first visit to Chicago is complete without a river cruise. Well, I was expecting some sort of touristy commentary (think Seine cruise in Paris), but instead, we had detailed descriptions of almost every single building that lines the river. Our guide did not stop talking for the entire 90 minutes. For each building, he told us the year it was built, the name of the architect(s), the building style, and the significance of the building. It was immensely educational.

One word of warning though - you really need to sit on the open top deck in order to appreciate the architecture. Although it was a clear sunny day when we went, it was quite chilly, and we were pretty much frozen solid at the end of the 90-min tour even though I had wool hat/scarf/gloves & down jacket on.

Marina City (Bertrand Goldberg; 1962)
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_6946.jpg

Left: Wrigley Building (1919); Right: Tribune Tower (1925)
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_6947.jpg

River City (Bertrand Goldberg; 1987)
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_6956.jpg

Willis Tower
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_6958.jpg

Merchandise Mart (1930)
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_6960.jpg

Left: 330 N Wabash (Mies van der Rohe; 1973). Right: Trump Tower (Skidmore, Owings and Merrill; 2009)
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_6963.jpg

Lake Point Tower (1968)
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_6968.jpg

Aqua Condo (2009)
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_6970.jpg

View from the lake
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_6966.jpg

Tiffany Treasures
http://tours.architecture.org/tourbb...aspx?TourID=74

On this 2-hour tour, we stopped at 4 buildings that have works by Tiffany studios in them. The first stop was the Art Institute where we were taken inside the Fullerton Hall. Louis Comfort Tiffany was consulted on the glass dome inside the hall, but it is unclear how much he really participated in the design. The colors of the glass are rather subdued and the design is of geometric patterns.
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_7041.jpg
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_7040.jpg

Second stop is the Marquette Building (Holabird & Roche; 1895), where there is a glass mosaic mural inside the atrium. The glass comes from Tiffany studios, and the mosaic panels tell the story of Jacques Marquette’s 1674-5 expedition of Illinois.
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_7048.jpg
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_7050.jpg

The third stop is Chicago Cultural Center (Shepley Rutan and Coolidge; 1897) which houses the largest Tiffany glass dome in the world.
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_7056.jpg
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_7058.jpg
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_7063.jpg

Adorning the walls are glass mosaic tiles
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_7065.jpg
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_7060.jpg
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_7052.jpg

Our final stop is the original Marshall Field's flagship store, now a Macy's. The store's ceiling (1907) is the largest Tiffany favrile glass mosaic in the world, encompassing over 6000 sq ft with more than 1.6M mosaic pieces. It took 18 months to complete, requiring artisans to lie on the back on a scaffolding to install the glass pieces (just like the Sistine Chapel!), at a cost of over $200k.
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_7069.jpg
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_7073.jpg
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_7075.jpg

Downtown Deco
http://tours.architecture.org/tourbb...aspx?TourID=87

This is a fast-paced, 2.5-hr long tour on which we visited numerous buildings (both exterior and interior lobbies). I don't remember all the buildings we visited, but here are some highlights.

Chicago Board of Trade (exterior and lobby interior)
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_7077.jpg
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_7091.jpg
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_7092.jpg

One LaSalle Street
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_7106.jpg
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_7102.jpg

Carbide and Carbon Building
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_7113.jpg
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_7107.jpg
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_7109.jpg

Our very own DIY Loop tour
Since there are numerous other buildings not covered by the 3 tours we took, we wandered around the Loop on our own, referring to the Architecture section of our Fodors Chicago guide book.

Chicago Symphony Center (with a huge Muti banner)
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_6888.jpg

Reliance Building (Burnham, Root & Atwood; 1890)
It has been meticulously restored back to its original appearance in recent years. The mosaic floor and wrought-iron elevator grilles are all reproductions based on original design.
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_6897.jpg
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_6898.jpg
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_6895.jpg

Daley Center - designed in the International style that was started by Mies van der Rohe. In the middle of the plaza is a large sculpture by Picasso, unveiled in the mid-1960s and caused quite a bit of public outcry at that time. The water fountain on the plaza was dyed orange in celebration of Halloween.
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_6903.jpg
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_6906.jpg

James R Thompson Center (Helmut Jahn; 1985) which really does scream the 1980s. Outside the entrance is a sculpture by Jean Dubuffet. The 17-story high glass atrium is quite a sight.
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_6908.jpg
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_6909.jpg

Bank One Plaza (next to Chase tower) where Marc Chagall's Four Seasons mosaic mural is.
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_6913.jpg
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_6912.jpg
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_6919.jpg

Carson, Pirie, Scott building (Louis Sullivan, 1899); now known as the Sullivan Center. It is most notable for its elaborate curved wrought-iron entrance.
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_7036.jpg

Rookery Building (Burnham and Root; 1888). FLW redesigned the building's atrium in 1905.
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_7087.jpg
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_7082.jpg
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_7081.jpg
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Nov 16th, 2010, 02:04 PM
  #19
yk
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FLW's ARCHITECTURE in Oak Park

We visited Frank Lloyd Wright's home and studio where he lived & worked for 20 years from 1889-1909.
http://gowright.org/visit/home-and-studio.html

[We took the Green Line to Oak Park station. From the station, it's a 15-min walk to FLW home & studio.]

We took the guided interior tour. The home and studio have been painstakingly restored back to what they were like in 1909. Apparently, the properties have changed hands many times and the studio was chopped up into 3 apartments at one point. They have done a fantastic job restoring the space. No photography is allowed inside though.

Exterior: http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_7008.jpg
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_7007.jpg

The FLW Preservation Trust also offers an audio walking tour of the neighborhood; however, we didn't have time for it. Instead, we did a quick walk-by of some other FLW houses on our own. Here are a couple that are one block away on Chicago Avenue:

Left: Thomas Gale House (1027 Chicago Ave); Right: Walter Gale House (1031 Chicago Ave)
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_7010.jpg

On Forest Avenue are a couple more
Arthur Heurtley House (318 Forest Ave)
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_7012.jpg

Nathan Moore House (333 Forest Ave)
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_7013.jpg

Also in Oak Park is FLW's Unity Temple (1909). It charges $9 for touring as it desperately needs money for repairs, restoration and upkeep. I really like the geometric interior, as well as the laylights and light fixtures.

Interior: http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_7022.jpg
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_7032.jpg
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_7020.jpg

Laylights:
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_7031.jpg

Exterior: http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_7014.jpg
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_7015.jpg
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_7034.jpg
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Nov 17th, 2010, 09:31 AM
  #20
yk
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 23,650
ARCHITECTURE in Hyde Park

The star attraction in Hyde Park is FLW's Robie House. We arrived early enough to take a self-guided audio tour of the neighborhood, followed by an interior tour of the house.
http://www.gowright.org/research/wri...bie-house.html

The 40-min walking tour focuses on the University of Chicago campus, which surrounds Robie House. Right across the street from Robie House is the Graduate School of Business Harper Center (Rafael Viñoly; 2004). The building clearly pays homage to FLW's Robie House - especially with its cantilever design. It also steps back from the street with a viewing terrace which provides a fantastic spot for looking at Robie House.
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_7162.jpg

Other UofC buildings we looked at include the Oriental Institute, the gothic buildings surrounding the Quad, Ida Noyes Hall (Shepley, Rutan & Coolidge; 1916),
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_7164.jpg
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_7165.jpg

and the Rockefeller Chapel (1928).
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_7169.jpg
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_7172.jpg
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_7168.jpg

It is worth noting that Robie House (1908) is the oldest building among all these more "traditional-looking" ones.

The interior tour of Robie House is a bit disappointing. The house has been undergoing restoration for several years now and it's still ongoing. On the first floor, most of the interior has been stripped clean; what's left intact are the art glass windows, built-in furniture, and laylights. On the second floor (main level) is the living room and dining room, again quite bare. What our guide constantly reminds us is to see how forward-thinking FLW is when it comes to how our living space should be. It should be open and flowing, a total contrast to the box-like Victorian homes which most people were living in then.
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_7158.jpg
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_7175.jpg
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_7176.jpg
http://i406.photobucket.com/albums/p...0/IMG_7159.jpg
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