travel

Chicago: Four Ways to See the City’s Architecture in One Afternoon

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Travel—Each city seems to have it's own energy, personality, and style. And Chicago is no different.

Located in the central United States on Lake Michigan, I learned recently that Chicago is also referred to as "The Paris of the Prairie," a kind of calm cosmopolitan city with mid-western charm.


I visited last week for only the 4th time, but it was the first time I really got out and did any sight seeing. Having heard that Chicago's architecture was fabulous, I set out to see as much of it as I could in one afternoon.

4 Ways to See Chicago's Architecture

If you're trying to squeeze in a lot of architecture in a short period of time, I recommend these four ways to see the sites.

1.  By boat! I had heard nothing but rave reviews of the Architectural Cruise by Chicago Line Cruises. On their website, it says:

Critics say that no other city has influenced and embodied the state-of-the-art in high-rise design and modern architecture as prominently as Chicago:  virtually every major architect has a signature building here.

I highly recommend this fascinating and informative 90-minute cruise, which comes complete with it's own tour guide and even free cookies and lemonade.

2. By Ferris Wheel! Another architectural feat, the Chicago Ferris Wheel is one of the city's most recognizable landmarks. The 7-minute journey, which only costs $6, gives you a bird's eye view of Lake Michigan and the Chicago skyline.

3. By foot! Walking around the city gives you yet another perspective of the amazing architecture, getting you up close and personal with fun and sometimes quirky designs such as...

A larger-than-life-sized statue of Marilyn Monroe.


A statue of Bob Newhart sitting outside the entrance to the Navy Pier.

And a visual reminder of putting your foot in your mouth.

4. By highrise! Some of the world's tallest buildings are in Chicago. Enjoying dinner at the Signature Room on the 95th floor of the John Hancock Building is a perfect way to watch the sunset.

And to see the city lights.

But however you choose to see Chicago, whether by boat, ferris wheel, walking, or from the 95th floor of a highrise building, just make sure to get out and take in the architecture (and afterward, follow it up with some deep dish pizza from Gino's East Side and some Garrett's Popcorn!).

What are your favorite big cities? What is it that you like about them? What are your favorite sites to see in them? Tips? Recommendations?

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An active part of the Mom It Forward team, Jyl primarily writes about parenting, social good, and all things travel related. In a past life, Jyl was an award-winning copywriter and designer of corporate training programs for Fortune 100 companies. Offline, Jyl is married to @TroyPattee; a mom to two teen boys and a beagle named #Hashtag; loves large amounts of cheese, dancing, and traveling; and lives in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. Topping her bucket list is the goal to visit 50 countries by the time she's 50.

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