The Bronze Cow

I remember well the “Cows on Parade” public art display that hit Chicago two decades ago. I only saw a few of them at the time (and a few more since), but perhaps the interest in public art displays/scavenger hunts that flamed in me during the STL250 Cakeway to the West installation year began as a spark back then. I didn’t know until our most recent visit to Chicago, however, that a bronze cow in on display outside the Chicago Cultural Center to commemorate the event (and now I’m thinking St. Louis needs a bronze cake, but I digress).

If you look into its eyes, you will see the Chicago Picasso sculpture in one, and the historic Chicago water tower (the only public building to survive in the burn zone of the Great Chicago Fire), in the other. And don’t think that the irony of a herd of cows taking over Chicago, a city fabled to have burned because a cow kicked over a lantern, is lost on me!

Chicago Cultural Center

I’m always trying to find new things to do when we visit Chicago, so when we were up there last month, I decided we should visit the Chicago Cultural Center, located at 78 East Washington Street (which is also the corner of Washington and North Michigan Avenue):

It was built in the late 1800s as the city’s central library. That fact is still rather obvious:

The architecture of the building is fantastic, but what it is probably most known for are the two stunning Tiffany glass domes:

There are so many other fantastic details, including mosaics, lamps, and beautiful quotes everywhere:

I’m so glad we finally had a chance to walk through this beautiful and historic building!

Lincoln Park Zoo

When we visit Chicago, I always try to plan one last special activity that we can all do together on the way home. This year, I decided we should visit the Lincoln Park Zoo in the city, something I haven’t done for probably 35 years!

There’s something magical about seeing exotic animals amid the skyscrapers of a big city:

Even when those skyscrapers are partially hidden by fog. I was hoping for a better view of the skyline, but what we saw was lovely in its own way.

We didn’t stay long, because at this point, Ryan had been out of town for a full week, and we were all anxious to get home. But we really enjoyed having a chance to see another Chicago landmark before we hit the road!

Markel Family Combo Breaker Getaway–Day Two

Last Thursday was one of my favorite days of any trip up north…the day we took the Metra into the city of Chicago!

Those first moments in downtown Chicago are always a thrill for me!

Our big activity this year was going to the Sears Tower Skydeck. (Yes, I hear some people are calling it the Willis Tower these days, but it will always be “Sears” to me!) Not only were we thrilled with the views from all four sides of the Skydeck, we also walked out onto the “Ledge” for an even more amazing, and slightly terrifying, view!

After we had our fill of Chicago views, we made our way to Buckingham Fountain, where we had lunch, and a nice lady offered to take a picture of the six of us:

We then started walking toward Millennium Park, and found this cool dog along the way. I think he’s a companion to the dog we saw on the Wendella dock last year!

Bunny was thrilled to have an opportunity to feed some pigeons:

And we took some pictures at The Bean, as has become our tradition:

We then walked across Michigan Avenue to the Chicago Cultural Center, which used to be the central library in the city, and is home to beautiful mosaics and Tiffany glass domes:

Outside of the Cultural Center, we stopped to see the Bronze Cow statue, a gift to Chicago to commemorate the 1999 Cows on Parade display:

We of course had to stop at Marshall Field’s of Blessed Memory for a box of Frango mints:

And then back to Ogilvie Transportation Center to catch a train back to Geneva. We even found seats on the second floor!

After dinner in the hotel room, we indulged in the chocolate torte cake that I mentioned yesterday. It was as good as I remembered, and the children loved it!

After we spent a little more time relaxing, we headed to the outdoor pool, and stayed in the water as the stars came out. It was a lovely evening for a swim!

Back in the room, we watched a little more Food Network, but not a lot, because we were all exhausted from our busy day, and knew there was more fun to come!

Tasty Tuesday–Chicago’s Best Foods

Of course, one of the best things about visiting any city is finding out what foods that location is famous for and trying them for yourself. Chicago is no exception, and foods that I grew up with as just food are now special treats when we travel. I’m sure people could argue all day about constitutes a Chicago food, but here are my favorites…Chicago-style pizza, Chicago-style hot dogs, Rainbow cones, gyros, Eli’s cheesecake, and Italian beef:

Ryan thinks I should have added the Italian combo to my list, but I really don’t like Italian sausage that much, so the best I can do is mention it. Also, not pictured, but extremely delicious and addictive…Chicago-style popcorn. I could eat that stuff by the (cheesy Christmas) tinful!

Flashback Friday–Beautiful Chicago

As much as I love St. Louis, I still think Chicago is the most beautiful city I’ve ever seen in person. Here’s a look back at some of my favorite Chicago photos that I’ve taken over the last few years:

Chickadee Thursday

Today was a big day, because we spent hours exploring downtown Chicago. One of the highlights of the trip was our journey to the top of the Sears Tower (I hear they’re spelling that different in Chicago these days, but it’s still Sears Tower to me!), which you can see in the background of this picture of Chickadee in front of beautiful Buckingham Fountain!