In October 2015, I headed to my girlfriend’s home town of Chicago for the first time to attend a family wedding. I didn’t really know what to expect. I’d heard a lot about the city, but that was mainly through my girlfriend and her mum’s biased views on a place that they already held pretty close to their heart. I’d heard from a few people and websites it was like New York but better, but also that I shouldn’t mention to anyone from there that it’s like New York. I was told the hot dogs were some of the best in the world, but don’t dare try to order any with ketchup. Basically, I was told a lot of things, but I wanted to really get a feel for the place myself. We mainly stayed out of town around family, but I’ve put together some of the photos I took on the few occasions we went downtown.
The first trip to the city was on a cold and cloudy day, which actually isn’t as gloomy as it sounds when you’re coming from Glasgow. I was instantly hit with the whole “it’s like New York” vibe, but that feeling is quickly taken away as soon as you’re crossing one of the many bridges that cross the Chicago River.
I also really enjoyed the sculptures and interactive artworks at Millennium Park, especially the Crown Fountain and the Cloud Gate (NOT the Bean). This park seems to blend nature into design in a way that Central Park doesn’t quite do (again with the New York comparison), and yet it seems to be just as much as a refuge from the immediate urban lifestyle that surrounds it.
Another highlight was blagging a window seat in the Signature Lounge at the John Hancock building. We also hit up The Green Mill lounge one night, but I didn’t take my camera with me that night. I really recommend looking it up and experiencing it while you’re out there!
Another day, we headed north to visit the Lincoln Park Zoo before taking a walk along the coast of Lake Michigan.
Like most large cities, there’s areas of deprivation close to areas of immense wealth, and their contradiction with each other often overlaps in a surreal way. It’s easy to feel a million miles away from poverty before you turn the corner and realise it’s a problem that’s always going to be closer to home than you think.
To be honest, I felt my time through in Chicago was too short at just over a week. I’d love to go back and properly explore the city, and really look forward to my next visit!