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Chicago - A Weekend is Not Enough PDF Print E-mail
Written by Debra C. Argen   

Chicago Skyline Architecture Cruise View From Chicago RiverChicago, the third largest city in the United States, offers visitors much to experience. As lovers of architecture, the Chicago skyline beckoned to us like a candy shop calling to children with its diversity, and its rich culture of museums, theatre, and attractions, had us wishing that we had an extra day or two to spend in this fascinating city.

Trump International Hotel and Tower ChicagoEdward and I stayed at the luxurious Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago, a stunning 92-story architectural beauty, which opened in January 2008 and is destined to become one of Chicago's iconic landmarks.

The 339-room and suite hotel is a sumptuous home away from home that offers opulent guestrooms, a fine dining restaurant, Sixteen, where we enjoyed Australian Executive Chef Frank Brunacci's creative cuisine complemented by outstanding Chicago skyline views, Spa treatments at The Spa at Trump Chicago featuring 23,000 square feet of pampering, a Health Club with a wide selection of exercise classes, a 75-foot indoor heated swimming pool where we swam with a view, well-equipped Business Center, and two bars: Rebar on the Mezzanine level where we enjoyed creative cocktails and people watching, and the Bar at Sixteen on the 16th floor of the hotel.

Nestled on the banks of the Chicago River and steps away from shopping on The Magnificent Mile on Michigan Avenue, Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago is located 40 minutes from Chicago O'Hare Airport and is perfect for business as well as leisure travelers.

Suite Bedroom with a view
Suite Bedroom With A View

Read about Trump International Hotel &Tower Chicago in the Hotels and Resorts, Restaurants and Spas sections, and in Chefs' Recipes where Executive Chef Frank Brunacci shares his signature recipe for Duck Percik.

Trump International Hotel and Tower ChicagoTrump International Hotel & Tower Chicago
401 N. Wabash Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60611, United States
Toll Free:       +1-877-458-7867
Toll Free:       +1-877-45-TRUMP
Telephone:    +1-312-588-8000
Fax:               +1-312-588-8001
Email:           
This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
www.TrumpChicagoHotel.com

Go Chicago CardThe city has many interesting places to discover, and from the hotel's convenient location, and using the Go Chicago Card that includes admission to dozens of attractions as well as discounts on shopping and dining, we were able to make the most of our time.

These days when time, as well as value, are more important than ever for travelers, the Go Chicago Card offers excellent value, includes entrance admissions or discount admission, and we did not have to wait in long entrance lines. For information on the Go Chicago Card please visit the websites: www.GoChicagoCard.com and www.SmartDestinations.com.

Architecturally, Chicago is visually exciting and one of its many highlights is the Wrigley Building built in the 1920s, that is located next door to the hotel. This stunning building features glazed white terra cotta tiles and an embellished façade that varies at each level that captivated us as we gazed at the intricate detail.

Tribune Tower ChicagoThe Tribune Tower home of the Tribune Company, built in 1925, is another one of Chicago's iconic landmarks. A Gothic limestone giant of an impressive 36-stories, this is a building that not only needs to be appreciated from afar, it also deserves a closer view to note all the rich details that include gargoyles and rich historical elements that are studded in the lower levels of the building that include objects from the Great Wall of China, Edinburgh Castle, Pearl Harbor, Abraham Lincoln's home, Sydney Opera House, and many others as well.

Tribune Company
435 North Michigan Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60611, United States
www.Tribune.com

Also interesting architecturally is the ivy-covered Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago built in 1912 in the Gothic style. Located across the street from the John Hancock Center, the Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago is the second oldest building on Michigan Avenue north of the Chicago River due to the famous fire of 1871.

Interior highlights include the carved wooden ceiling reminiscent of the ribs of a ship, carved angels, magnificent stained glass windows, and the organ that we had the good fortune of hearing prior to a wedding that was to take place at the church.

Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago
126 East Chestnut Street
Chicago, Illinois 60611, United States
Telephone:       +1-312-787-4570
www.FourthChurch.org

John Hancock CenterChicago must also be seen from high up to fully appreciate its beauty. We went to the 100-story John Hancock Center, built in 1970, and took a ride to the 94th floor to the Hancock Observatory, which provided us with exciting views of the city that included the Oak Street Beach, Navy Pier, Lake Shore Drive, and much more. On a clear day visibility extends for 80 miles and you can see all the way to Michigan.

John Hancock ViewThe Hancock Observatory is open everyday from 9:00 am - 11:00 pm. Admission: Adults (12-64): $13.00, Seniors (65+): $11.00, Children (4-11): $7.50, Children (under 4): Free. Daytime admission is included with the Go Chicago Card.

The Hancock Observatory
John Hancock Center
875 North Michigan Avenue
Chicago, Illinois,  Unites States
Telephone:    +1-312-751-3681
www.HancockObservatory.com

Sears TowerWe also visited the Sears Tower Skydeck that was completed in 1973 and has an impressive height of 110-stories. It is one of the world's tallest buildings, and is only surpassed in height by Taipei 101. The Sears Tower Skydeck afforded us with the opportunity to see a 360° view of Chicago above the city skyline where we could see all the way to Millennium Park and the Jay Pritzker Pavillion, the John Hancock Center, and the stretch of beach and water dotted with boats.

The Sears Tower Skydeck is open daily from April - September from 9:00 am - 10pm and from October - March from 10:00 am - 8:00 pm. The last entry is 30 minutes prior to closing.

Admission: Adults: (12+): $14.95, Children: (3-11): $10.50. Children (under 3): Free. Audio Tours additional. Daytime admission is included with the Go Chicago Card.

Sears Tower View
View from Sears Tower Skydeck

Sears Tower Skydeck
233 South Wacker Drive (Enter on Jackson Boulevard)
Chicago, Illinois 60606, United States
Telephone:         +1-312-875-9696
www.TheSkyDeck.com

The Arabian Nights - Photo by Sean WilliamsCulturally, Chicago has much to offer visitors including Symphony, Opera, Ballet, and Theatre. During our visit we had the opportunity to attend the Lookingglass Theatre Company's presentation of the visually stunning The Arabian Nights written and directed by Mary Zimmerman (runs until July 12, 2009). When it comes to the art of telling a tale, there is none better than Scheherazade.

The Lookgingglass Theatre is located inside the historic Water Tower Water Works building, which is another Chicago iconic landmark. Built in 1869, the limestone Water Works resembles a gothic castle with a 154-foot (47 meters) tower, and we visited to watch the pumping station in action.

The Lookingglass Theatre Box Office is open Tuesday from 10:00 am - 6:00 pm, Wednesday - Friday from 10:00 am - 6:00 pm (or until curtain), Saturday from 12:00 pm - 6:00 pm (or until curtain), and Sunday from 12:00 pm - Curtain (only during performance runs). Visit their website for the calendar of upcoming performances. Read about The Arabian Nights in the Art Performances section.

The Arabian Nights - Photo by Sean Williams
Scene from The Arabian Nights

The Lookingglass Theatre, Chicago

Lookingglass Theatre in the Water Tower Water Works
Theatre and Box Office
821 North Michigan Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60611, United States
Telephone:       +1-312-337-0665
www.LookingglassTheatre.org

Whenever I travel, I try to make time in my schedule for some well-deserved Spa treatments, and after having experienced The Spa at Trump Chicago; they definitely know how to pamper their guests. The Spa at Trump is located on the 14th floor of the hotel and is a gorgeous 23,000 square foot space that in addition to offering a diverse range of Spa services, a state-of-the-art Health Club, exercise classes, and a 75-foot heated swimming pool, The Spa at Trump has commanding views of the Chicago skyline. Read about The Spa at Trump in the Spas section.

The Spa at Trump Chicago - Deep Soaking Tube
The Spa at Trump Chicago

The Spa at Trump Chicago 
Trump International Hotel & Tower, Chicago
401 N. Wabash Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60611, United States
Toll Free:       +1-877-458-78
67
Toll Free:       +1-877-45-TRUMP

Telephone:    +1-312-588-8020
Fax:               +1-312-588-8018
Email:           
This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
www.TrumpChicagoHotel.com

Chicago has many remarkable museums, and we began by visiting the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, where the building is architecturally and visually appealing, and saw three very interesting exhibitions, Olafur Eliasson: Take your time (runs until September 13, 2009), Alexander Calder in Focus: Works from the Leonard and Ruth Horwich Family Loan (until February 14, 2010), and Buckminster Fuller: Starting with the Universe (until July 5, 2009).

Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago

The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago is open from Tuesday from 10:00 am - 8:00 pm, Wednesday - Sunday from 10:00 am - 5:00 pm, and is closed on Monday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day. Admission: Adults: $12.00, Seniors and Students (with ID): $7.00, Members of the Military: Free, and Children (12 and under): Free. There is free admission on Tuesdays. From June until September the museum has free live jazz concerts from 5:30 pm - 8:00 pm. Admission is included with the Go Chicago Card.

Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago
200 East Chicago Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60611, United States
Telephone:       +1-312-280-2660
www.MCAChicago.org

The Art Institute of Chicago, located opposite Millennium Park, is the second largest museum in the Unites States. During our visit, we had the opportunity to see their new Modern Wing designed by award-winning architect Renzo Piano that opened in May 2009, and features 20th and 21st century art.

The Art Institute of Chicago
The Art Institute of Chicago

The Art Institute of Chicago GardensThere were many highlights of our visit, including seeing two contrasting works by Jackson Pollack, Greyed Rainbow dated 1953 in his signature drip style using a palette of white and black, and The Key from 1946, which uses a bright and bold color. Also of interest was William de Kooning's work from 1950, Excavation.

The Art Institute of Chicago is open Monday -Wednesday from 10:30am - 5:00 pm, Thursday -Friday from 10:30 am - 9:00 pm, and Saturday - Sunday from 10:00 am - 5:00 pm. Admission: Adults: $18.00, Seniors: (65+), Students, and Children: (14+): $12.00, Children (under 14): Free. There is free admission on Thursday and Friday from 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm. Admission is included with the Go Chicago Card.

The Art Institute of Chicago

The Art Institute of Chicago
111 South Michigan Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60603, United States
Telephone:       +1- 312-443-3600
www.ArtIC.edu

To have a another perspective of the famous Chicago skyscrapers, we took a one-hour Shoreline Sightseeing Architecture Cruise on the Chicago River where in addition to learning about the architecture, we also learned about the fascinating history of the city including the famous Chicago fire of 1871 that destroyed over 80,000 buildings, and the Great Chicago flood of 1992 that flooded most of the basements in downtown. We also learned that Chicago's nickname of The Windy City is not weather related, but that the name actually has a political reference that dates to 1893.

Chicago Skyline from Chicago River
Chicago Skyline from Chicago River

The Shoreline Sightseeing Cruises depart from Navy Pier West. See the Shoreline Sightseeing for a list of their other cruises as well as cruise times. Weekday Fares: Adults: $24, Seniors (65+): $21, Children (under 12): $12. Saturday and Sunday Fares: Adults: $28, Seniors (65+): $25, Children (under 12): $15. Daytime admission is included with the Go Chicago Card.

Shoreline Sightseeing
Office
474 North Lake Shore Drive, Suite 3511
Chicago, Illinois 60611, United States
Telephone:       +1-312-222-9328
www.ShorelineSightseeing.com

Smith Museum - Stained Glass - The Four Seasons
Stained Glass - The Four Seasons 

After disembarking the Shoreline Sightseeing Architecture Cruise, we explored Navy Pier and visited the Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows. I have always been fascinated by stained glass art and found the museum to be extremely interesting. A few of the many highlights included "The Four Seasons" dated 1907-1908, Ribbon Frame Mosaic from the 1880s, a large selection of work by Louis Comfort Tiffany, as well as by contemporary artists.

Smith Museum Stained Glass
Stained Glass

Smith Museum Stained Glass - Louis Comfort TiffanyThe Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows is open Sunday - Thursday from 10:00 am - 8:00 pm, and Friday - Saturday from 10:00 am - 10:0 pm. Closed on Monday and may be closed on major holidays. Admission: Free.

Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows
Navy Pier
700 East Grand Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60611, United States
www.NavyPier.com

Chicago Cultural Center InteriorAnother architectural highlight was visiting the Chicago Cultural Center built in 1897 in the Beaux-Arts style in the original Chicago Public Library. The building provides a wonderful look at the Decorative Arts and features the world's largest Tiffany stained glass dome measuring 38-feet in diameter with 2,848 faceted pieces in Preston Bradley Hall. Also of note are the Tiffany mosaics using the favrile technique, which he patented in 1894 incorporating favrile glass, mother-of-pearl, and semi-precious stones. There are also interesting inscriptions of quotes located around the dome and in the Outer Hall.

During our visit we saw the exhibition, The Big World - Recent Art from China, with works by more than 20 Chinese artists. The exhibition runs until August 30, 2009.

Chicago Cultural CenterThe Chicago Cultural Center is open Monday - Thursday from 8:00 am - 7:00 pm, Friday from 8:00 am - 6:00 pm, Saturday from 9:00 am - 6:00 pm, and Sunday from 10:00 am - 6:00 pm. The Chicago Cultural Center is closed holidays and is wheelchair accessible (enter at 77 East Washington). Admission is free.

Chicago Cultural Center
78 East Washington
Chicago, Illinois 60602, United States
Telephone:       +1- 312-744-6630
www.ChicagoCulturalCenter.org

We visited the 24.5-acre Millennium Park, which opened in 2004, strolling the grounds and admiring the sculpture and artwork, and had the opportunity to hear the Gospel Music Festival, which took place in the Jay Pritzker Pavillion, which filled the park with uplifting music.

Millennium Park - Jay Pritzker Park
Jay Pritzker Pavillion

Jaume Plensas Crown FountainOne of the many art highlights in the park is Spanish Artist, Jaume Plensa's interactive Crown Fountain, which is a video installation on two walls where water rushes out of the mouths of the faces. Even though it was a cool day, there were children, as well as adults, running in and out of the spray and enjoying the experience.

Another fabulous piece of art is British Artist, Anish Kapoor's Cloud Gate sculpture, which is also interactive in that it is reflective and picks up the sky, the buildings, and the many visitors who pose to watch their reflections.

Anish Kapoors Cloud Gate
Anish Kapoor's Cloud
Gate

The park grounds are beautiful so it was no surprise to see a stunning bridal couple posing for their wedding photographs. Mr. and Mrs. Marko Vrancic graciously posed for Luxury Experience Magazine before getting in their limousine. Congratulations to the new couple! Millennium Park is open daily from 6:00 am - 11:00 pm. Admission is free.

Mr. and Mrs. Marko Vrancic
Mr. and Mrs. Marko Vrancic

Millennium Park
Bordered by Michigan Avenue, Columbus Drive,
Randolph Street, and Monroe Street
Chicago, Illinois, United States
Telephone:       +1-312-742-1168
www.MillenniumPark.org

Chicago is a shopping paradise along Michigan Avenue, and is called The Magnificent Mile, which is lined with designer boutiques as well as multi-storied malls including The Shops at Northbridge, Chicago Place, Water Tower Place, and The 900 Shops, and yes, we experienced all of them.

We also visited the architecturally interesting Bloomingdale's Home and Furniture Store, which is located at 600 North Wabash Street in the former home of the National Shrine Fraternal Organization.

We had an elegant evening of fine dining with a remarkable view at Sixteen at the Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago where Executive Chef Frank Brunacci pairs his innovative cuisine with the restaurant's dramatic view of the Wrigley Building and the Tribune Tower.

Sixteen Restaurant - Trump International Hotel and Tower Chicago
Sixteen Restaurant

High above Chicago on the 14th floor of the hotel, Sixteen is an attractive restaurant with a 35-foot soaring ceiling and a dramatic curving wall of windows that provide breathtaking views of Chicago for romantic dining.

A few of the many highlights of our dinner included an Amuse Bouche of sunchoke soup garnished with duck sausage and herbs; Pacific rock lobster with crème fraiche, aioli, celery, and parsley, wrapped in a wonton tuille, accompanied by Meyer lemon sauce, baby greens, and avocado mousse topped with slivered breakfast radish; and braised porkbelly, pork taco with plantains and salt, pineapple, and pea shoots.

Sixteen Restaurant - Pacific Rock Lobster
Pacific Rock Lobster

Sixteen is open for lunch Monday - Saturday from 11:30 am - 2:00 pm, for Sunday Brunch from 11:00 am - 3:00 pm, and for dinner Sunday - Thursday from 5:30 pm - 9:30 am, and Friday - Saturday from 5:30 pm - 10:00 pm.

Read about Sixteen in the Restaurants section and also in Chefs' Recipes where Executive Chef Frank Brunacci shares his signature recipe for Duck Percik. Read about Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago in the Hotels and Resorts and Spas section.

Sixteen
Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago
401 N. Wabash Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60611, United States 
Toll Free:      +1-877-458-7867
Toll Free:      +
1-877-45-TRUMP
Telephone:   +1-312-588-8030
Fax:              +1-312-588-8001
Email:          
This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
www.TrumpChicagoHotel.com

View from Trump International Hotel and Tower Chicago
View from Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago

Even though we tried to experience as much of Chicago as we could, we soon realized that this is a city that offers visitors such a wide range of possibilities that a weekend is just not enough. The Jimmy Van Heusen/Sammy Cahn song says it best, "My Kind of Town (Chicago is)." Chicago is just waiting for you to come and make your own discoveries.

© July 2009. Luxury Experience. www.LuxuryExperience.com. All rights reserved.

 
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