On my one day of sightseeing in Chicago, Illinois.
I go to see three iconic spots in the Windy City.
I woke up early the next morning and got ready for my day of exploration. On today’s agenda was the Art Institute of Chicago and The Navy Pier. I decided to head towards the Art Institute first since their hours were 11am–6pm and then I would proceed to Navy Pier, since the hours were from 10am-10pm.
Feeling good about my decision, I ordered breakfast at the hotel. But I realized quite quickly that it was a mistake. I should have gone out into the city and had breakfast somewhere local, such as the Wild Berry Cafe which was on the way to the Art Institute. It was way too expensive to eat at the hotel. A basic trifecta, a belgium waffle, your choice of meat, and eggs, was $60 but at a restaurant it’d normally be $15-$20. Needlessly to say, I cried when I got the bill. #lessonlearned
When I finished breakfast, I mapped out a route to the Art Institute and found out that it was within walking distance of the hotel. I decided that I’ll make up for the breakfast slip up by taking myself on a mini walking tour of the city. As soon as I left my hotel and turned the corner of the street block, I was already enjoying the art of the city.
I ended up taking a considerable amount of pictures of skyscrapers on my mini tour. Can you tell that it was my first time in the big city? I’ve never seen buildings so high in real life. I drifted through the city with awe and wonder.
While taking in the sights of the city, I spotted a hole in the ground. I knew what it was because of television. It was a stairway that led to a subway. I didn’t go near it or peaked down the hole because I didn’t know what to expect when I looked down so it seemed safer to avoid it. Even seeing the underground public restrooms was a first for me.
I took a stroll through the garden and as I mentioned before about Chicago, it’s curious to be in nature while being surrounded by towers.
At the end of my garden walk, I ended up at The Nichols Bridgeway, which led over a busy street straight to the Museum’s doors.
“The [Nichols] bridge begins at the Great Lawn of Millennium Park, crosses over Monroe Street and connects to the third floor of the West Pavilion of the Modern Wing, the Art Institute of Chicago‘s newest wing.” Source
- Saturday–Monday 11 a.m.–6 p.m.
- Thursday–Friday 1–8 p.m
- Admission $20-$35
- Plan your visit to the Art Institute today
Since I didn’t enter the Institute through the main entrance or even on the first floor. I had to figure out how to get from the third floor of the Modern Wing to the front desk. I felt a bit fantastic, it was as though I had snuck in through the back door and learned the secrets of the wing before purchasing a ticket.
When I finally did make it down stairs I went into the gift shop. The store had tons of interesting items such as
plates with abstract art
Pop art books and figurines of famous artist
Keychain Dolls made out of yarn
And Table top replica of sculptures
After exploring all the shop had to offer, I went to the front desk to purchase my ticket to see the rest of the collections and exhibitions featured at the institute. At the ticket counter I found out that I could purchase tickets to other attractions around the city. I bought a ticket for the Centennial Wheel at Navy Pier, considering that I would be going there later that day. I chose to only do two things for the day so as to not overwhelm myself and truly enjoy the city at a leisure pace.
If you don’t have a lot of time to explore the institute, here’s what you can see in an hour. I received a guidebook for the museum with the purchase of a ticket and set off of the first room.
I enter the Charles White Exhibit first
Then went on to Roman Art
Then to America Art and History
Here is me looking stylish
At this point I did hop in and joined a tour group, but they were going a bit slow so I left them and
I went into Asian art next
At this point I decided to take a rest and enjoy this amazing view
While sitting all stretched out on the floor, I noticed a group walking by with Jessica from the.hook.nook. and Vincent from Knot.Bad. I had met both of them yesterday as part of the Our Maker Life event.
We walked around the Asian art room for a bit more than I parted with them and headed upstairs to the Deering Family Galleries where it was filled with nothing but Medieval and Renaissance art, arms, and armor.
I spent about 20 minutes aweing at every piece of metal I saw. The different styles for time and country, war and jousting, was so unique. Not to mention the details that every piece held. AMAZING. Ya’ll I could spend all day just walking around this section of the museum.
However, I was starting to run on an empty stomach, so I headed down the stairs through the French Art section towards the cafeteria.
I grabbed a beef burger with fries as my meal. I opted to eat in the sunny outdoors in the courtyard.
There were no regrets. I found a lovely spot with a view of a fountain.
Halfway through my meal I noticed that there were no bugs. Okay, so let me explain, usually, in Florida, the minute you stepped out the door with anything edible there would be swarms of different kinds of bugs trying to get at your food. If you wanted to eat outdoors in there, you’d have to have a screen around the eating area to keep all the bugs out. But here in Chicago everything was out in the open and there was no fear. That was one of the best parts of this trip.
After lunch, I left the museum and made my way to Navy Pier. On the way there I had the benefit of walking through a different section of Millennium Park.
This path took me by the Crowd Fountain,
to the Cloud Gate,
past the Mcdonald Cycle Center,
back to the Park Entrance.
Once again, I opted to walk the city instead of using transportation. I used the maps app on my phone which gave me walking directions to the Pier.
I walked through a gorgeous downtown neighborhood, through a sketchy underground parking lot, out to a walkway along the water. There were a number of people walking and biking along the path.
This route took me past a marine, a park, through a tunnel lined with art, over a bridge, through a park with street art, and finally to Navy Pier.
- 600 E. GRAND AVENUE, CHICAGO, IL 60611
- Hours are somewhere between 10am-10am depending on the time of year
- Admission is free, you only pay if you would like to go to any of the attractions
- Plan your visit to the Navy Pier today
When I arrived, The Pier was crowded with families who were visiting the Pier that weekend from all around. It turns out that people come from all over during the summer time.
I got a ticket for the Shoreline Architecture River Tour. They have timed tours. I waited for about fifteen minutes to get on the next boat. When I got on onboard, I took a seat and kicked off my shoes. Wearing knitted socks while touring the city during summer isn’t the best idea.
After the boat tour, I got in line for the Centennial Wheel. I traded in my museum ticket to ride the ferris wheel. The view from the top offered a different perspective of the city.
After further meandering around the pier, it started to get late, and I was exhausted. I decided not to walk back to my hotel. However, I did discover another way to experience the city that did not involve walking. I took a water taxi. There was a stop close to the pier that would drop me off relatively close to where I was staying.
The taxi was another tour within itself.
I got out at Streeterville and walked past Gleacher Center, Graham School.
On the way back, I saw this grate that went from the sidewalk to the other side of the road. I was terrified that I might drop something and would fall through the holes and be gone forever.
I walked across bridges, up three flights of stairs, down the sidewalk, across the road, back to home.
I entered the main lobby as the sun started to set. I took the elevator up to the 21nd floor and entered my room. I finished “unboxing” my swag bag, packed up my things, and took a moment to gazed out the window. As I looked across the city, I saw the city all aglow, lights flickering here and there in a nightly dance, and I said goodbye to the city.
I was very thankful that Chicago was my first solo experience of the big city. The area I was in was not only safe but full of things to do. I would very much like to visit Chi-Town again.
My Packing list:
Thanks for reading all the way to the end. Here is what I brought with me on this trip. It was a 3 night weekend trip. The reason I brought a carry on with me is because I knew I would end up bringing a lot of yarn and accessories back with me from the event.
- White Tee + Stretchy Pants + Vans (Airplane Outfit)
- White Tee + Black Jeans + Vans (extra outfit)
- Blue Dotted Dress + Flats (after party outfit)
- Romper with Leggings (lounge outfit)
- Black Tee + Knee length denim capris + Knitted Socks + Vans (sightseeing outfit)
Things to pack in smaller bag
Things to pack in larger bag
- Sleeping Tee
- 3 Tops
- 3 Bottoms
- 2 Dresses
- Light Cardigan
- Sweat Pants
- No Show Socks
- Knitted Calf socks
- Toiletry Bag
Craft Bag (wip):
Disclaimer: I did write this adventure two years after the actually trip. Please let me know if any of the information concerning the pieces from the Art Institute is incorrect. Thank you!
Thanks for reading! Tell a friend if you learned something new, felt inspired, or just enjoyed reading my story. Exploration posts come out every other Friday. In the meantime, check out my upcoming destinations, join the journey by subscribing to our newsletter, and support OMK making a donation below. Until next time!
– Olguine Brutus
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