Our Attempts at Seeing the Entire Chicago Landscape

I’m encouraged by stories of reemergence because sometimes strength or purity can be born through burning. At the suggestion of J’s cousins, we took an architectural boat tour on the Chicago River and heard stories about the tall glass, steel, and concrete buildings all along the river—products after the fire. It was unfortunate that some of the city burned because someone supposedly knocked over a lantern, but I wonder what Chicagoland would have looked like if it never encountered a fire. Rose and Rick’s house would still be there, on the other side of the river, but would Chicago still have petitioned to host the World’s Fair in 1893? Would the city still have its distinct surrounding neighborhoods? Would it still have the same colorful arts & culture, with the alleyway art shows and intimate blues clubs? I’m not sure, especially since I’ve only experienced a small portion. There’s still way too much to see. I’ll eventually crave that springtime chill and come back; it will only be a matter of time before I start to feel too comfortable in this balmy, gold-lit, SoCal.

Cloud Gate at Millenium Park

Cloud Gate

A staircase, a window, and some rocks indoors at the Art Institute of Chicago

At the Art Institute of Chicago

The Fern Room at the Garfield Conservatory

Fern Room at the Garfield Conservatory


Places visited/experienced

The Art Institute of Chicago | It’s impossible to walk through this expansive museum in one day.
Garfield Park Conservatory | I could almost taste the sweetness in the air contained within the Fern Room’s humid conditions. Open another door, and you might feel the dryness in the arid conditions maintained in the Desert Room.
The Willis Tower/Skydeck | As an acrophobic, I reluctantly went because this was one of J’s bucketlist items. Learning from our guide during the boat tour that the Willis Tower sways around 18 inches in all directions on windy days did not help my vertigo while I rode the elevator to the 103 floor.
Wendella Architecture Boat Tours | Our tour guide, Vince, was both really informative and funny. I just felt bad that I was the only one laughing at his jokes.
Millenium Park
Activate 2016 | Once a month, the Chicago loop alliance holds an art show in an alleyway somewhere in the loop. Instead of distantly observing the art, the viewer becomes an active participant in the art-making process.
Grant Park
Maggie Daly Park
Lincoln Park
Chicago B.L.U.E.S Club | A dark, intimate venue in Lincoln Park, where the people are friendly, and the music is excellent.

Jay Pritzker Pavilion at Millenium Park

Jay Pritzker Pavilion

A view of one side of the city from the top floor of the Willis Tower

From the top floor of the Willis Tower

A rectangular glass art installation in the Fern Room at the Garfield Conservatory

An art installation in the Palm House


A view of Lincoln Park. Blue skies, water, green trees

Lincoln Park

Cacti at the Garfield Conservatory

Cacti in the Desert House

Another art installation in the Show House at the Garfield Conservatory