State Street & The Loop, Chicago
The center of the Windy City is called the Loop because of the elevated railway (the L) that makes a loop around it. It is in the Loop that you’ll find most of the working offices, theatres, movies, hotels and restaurants and malls, on Michigan Avenue, along the Magnifiscent Mile for example.
This picture was taken from John Hancock Center's Observatory.
The Chicago Theatre is one of Chicago's true landmarks. The famous vertical "CHICAGO" sign on State St. is one of the most recognizable symbols of the city.
It opened in 1921 and played host to some of the biggest names in live and film entertainment for almost 50 years. The theatre began to fall behind in popularity and fell into disrepair, finally closing in 1985. It was then rescued from demolition with help from the city and reopoened a year later with a performance by Frank Sinatra.
The architecture is incredible. It was built for $4 million in the French Baroque style and every little detail is beautiful. The 3,600 seat theatre, the sign, and the 29-rank Wurlitzer pipe organ is now a National Historic Landmark.
If you don't have time for a show, there are tours available every Thursday at noon for $5. Between May 1 and September 30, Tuesday tours at noon are also available. Some Saturday tours are also scheduled if you look at the website, and group tours are available through special booking. Tours run 45 min. to an hour.
Check the website for a schedule of events and more info. The box office is open Monday - Friday from noon to 6pm, or try Ticketmaster.
"Boss" Richard J. Daley, the most powerful man in 20th century Chicago politics, the man who for many typified all that was Chicago (both good and bad) called this modest bungelow at 3536 S. Lowe Street home. This is where the current mayor, Richard M. Daley, grew up and where city matriach Eleanor "Sis" Daley lived her until her recent passing. Little known fact: Sis and Chicago shared the same birthdate: March 4.
This is talk of preserving the house as an historical landmark.
The Marshall Field's Building is home to one of the world's most famous and innovative department stores and Chicago's most famous store, Marshall Field's. It is a 13 story building completed in 1914 by Burnham & Co. The building is full of beautiful architecture inside and out, including fountains and mosaics. It was named a National Historic Monument in 1978.
A popular feature of the exterior are the clocks on the State St. corners of the building. They are made of steel and full of very elaborate details.
See my shopping tips for details on the actual Marshall Field's store.
A Pablo Picasso sculpture was unveiled in Chicago on August 15, 1967 at Daley Plaza (then Civic Center Plaza). It is 50 ft. high and weighs 162 tons. The sculpture is made of steel fabricated by the US Steel Corp. in Gary, Indiana, and was assembled in Gary, disassembled, and reassembled at its present location.
Picasso was approached by Chicago architect William Hartmann in 1963 to produce a sculpture that would fit in with the Civic Center building. When a scale model was agreed upon, 3 charitable foundations paid for the fabrication. Hartmann took a check for $100,000 to Picasso who immediately refused it, saying, "This is my gift to the people of Chicago." Picasso never saw his finished sculpture in person.
The sculpture, which has no official name, was once controversial, but has become a well-known city landmark.
In the first half of 1999 I was fortunate enough to live for 5 months in downtown Chicago and must confess I did really spend quite a few hours of my life watching the live performances at the Blue Chicago Nightclubs. LOL.
All Blue Chicago clubs are located on Clark Street, Chicago's downtown.
Officially announced there's only two clubs but on reality there's also (there was in 1999) a 3rd club right on the basement of the Blue Chicago Store.
The one located on the basement is not being publicized that much for liquor drinks are not licensed to be sold and for it's pretty much used for performances to younger visitors.
Back then, in 1999, the $7 dollar cover charge allowed free-entrance into the 3 clubs.
For general reference my personal 3-top must-visit "landmarks" in Chicago are Sam's Wines for Wine, Goose Island Brewery for Beer and Blue Chicago's 3 nightclubs for Music.
Besides those 5 months of 1999, I've also visited the city of Chicago in 2001, 2002, and twice in 2004. Every time I go to Chicago those 3 places referred above are the ones I never want to miss :)...
The Prudential Building is one of Chicago's most famous skyscrapers. It was built in 1955 and stands 41 storeys tall. At the time of completion, it had the world's fastest elevators. There was also a very popular observation deck which became obsolete as Chicago grew taller.
Behind One Prudential Plaza is the newer and taller Two Prudential Plaza, or 2 Pru. It was completed in 1990 and at the time of completion was the world's 2nd tallest reinforced concrete building. The top of the building features a pyramid-shaped peak with an 80 ft. spire. The building has 64 floors and stands 995 ft. It has won several awards for its design.
The Chicago Temple is a functioning Methodist Church and is the oldest church in Chicago having been founded in 1831. The current church was built in 1924 and was, at the time, the tallest building in Chicago. It's a bit of an oasis in the center of the many much taller buildings that have since been built around it. It occupies a corner across the street from the Daley Plaza. Go in and have a look at the beautiful stained glass and woodwork in the worship area. Of particular note is the Sky Chapel which is located on an upper floor and is accessible by elevator. It was a gift to the church from the Walgreen family (of drug store fame). Ask the security guard which floor to get off in order to see the chapel.
I highly recommend taking the elevated train platforms (Purple and Brown lines?) because they circle completely around the most interesting areas of Chicago's, with one of the stops just 20 paces away from the historical 'Chicago' Broadway sign ( camera died before I got that money shot), as well as many other important sites inside and near the Loop (wikipidia the loop to learn more about the loop!)
i.e. Chicago Stock Exchange - A Gothic city like building.
MORE HUGE TOWERS TOO
Chicago Loop Alliance offers free 3 audio tours:
- Theatre (10 theatres),
- Art (17 art structures)
- and Landmark (23 landmarks).
You can experince them online or download the audio to your MP3 player, print out the pdf. map and you are ready to begin.
The MP3 tours are pretty big, so make sure you have enough memory left on your player to upload them:
- Theatre tour is 21.3 Mb,
- Art tour is 31.4 Mb,
- Landmark tour is 46.4 Mb.
NOTE: Tours are not available in other than English language.
We went on a Landmark Tour the other day. Spent 2 hours and have not even finished it. It was OK, learnt some interesting facts. Like: Macy`s department store is 2nd largest in the world and Harold Washington Library was the largest library in the world when it opened in 1991.
When in New York City you find Macy's, in London you find Harrods. And in Chicago you find Marshall Fields. Their Christmas window displays are beautiful. You have to literally stand in line to get a chance to look at the displays.
A great alternative to Michigan Ave. as far as shopping because it does get crowded on certain parts of Michigan Ave. It is alot quieter down here especially on the weekend. The Theatre District is here also.
Every December in Daley Plaza a German style Christmas Market is erected. For 2008 the Christmas Market is open from 27th November through to 24th December, and is open daily from 11:00 to 20:00 Sunday to Thursday and 11:00 to 21:00 on Friday and Saturday.
The market was first held in Chicago in 1996, originally in Pioneer Court, but was moved to Daley Plaza in 1997. The market is a replica of the Nürnberg Christkinldsmarkt which dates back as far as 16th century.
Marshall Field's Department Store
Huge department store on State St., much like that of Macy's-fame. But this is better than Macy's (I've been to Macy's). Ok, yeah, it's still just a department store inside, but outside it's all decorated at Christmas, and there's always the large clock on its corner. Get some Frango mints while you're here!
Whether you go to Marshall Field's for the shopping or for the displays or for the magnificent interior, you should go. The shopping is probably higher priced than most department stores, but this is a very prestigious store!