72 Hours in Chicago, 27 photos

I lived in Chicago for seven years in the ‘90s. I fell in love with Chicago the very first time I visited. And it was here that I began my career in earnest as a food critic and travel writer.

Much has changed since then. Just before I left the Windy City for California, Chicago politicians were talking about rejiggering downtown’s Wacker Drive along the river to make way for a riverwalk, sort of like San Antonio’s except 10 times as spectacular. It seemed like a farfetched idea for a river that always lived an industrial life. It was a shipping channel, not a recreation zone. Locals just shrugged, thinking it couldn’t (or wouldn’t) be done.

Earlier this year, nearly two decades in the making, the Chicago Riverwalk was officially completed. And what an impressive sight it is to behold. I didn’t have the time or the stamina to walk the entire span around both forks of Wacker Drive, which is miles long. But I did dedicate one morning to exploring a 12-block stretch between Michigan Avenue and the Kinzie Street Bridge.

Forever one of the world’s most significant cities for architecture, Chicago’s skyline has grown even more spectacular in recent years, both around the river and along the lakefront. Meanwhile, the conjoined neighborhoods of Bucktown and Wicker Park have certainly grown up, too. The area was still on the verge of gentrification when I left but has since blossomed into a luxury residential neighborhood to rival Lakeview and Lincoln Park. And while the neighborhood has long been a magnet for hot restaurants, it finally welcomed its first serious hotel in November, The Robey.

Here’s a quick look at my recent 72 hours in Chicago, a city that I still love — except for winters, of course. It was fun playing tourist. The first snow of the year is always beautiful, and I was able to catch that on this visit, although it didn’t really stick. Colder (brutally cold) weather and much more snow was on its way. I got out in the knick of time.

photo by Brad A Johnson

Nighttime view of the Chicago River from my hotel room at LondonHouse. (Photo by Brad A. Johnson)

photo by Brad A Johnson

Daytime view of the Chicago River from my hotel room at LondonHouse. (Photo by Brad A. Johnson)

photo by Brad A Johnson

Chicago River (Photo by Brad A. Johnson)

photo by Brad A Johnson

Chicago Riverwalk (Photo by Brad A. Johnson)

photo by Brad A Johnson

Marina City towers on the Chicago River (Photo by Brad A. Johnson)

photo by Brad A Johnson

The Chicago Riverwalk (Photo by Brad A. Johnson)

photo by Brad A Johnson

Clark Street Bridge over the Chicago River (Photo by Brad A. Johnson)

photo by Brad A Johnson

The historic Britannica Building on the Chicago River. (Photo by Brad A. Johnson)

photo by Brad A Johnson

The Chicago River (Photo by Brad A. Johnson)

photo by Brad A Johnson

The L train in the Chicago Loop. (Photo by Brad A. Johnson)

photo by Brad A Johnson

North State Street under the L tracks in Chicago. (Photo by Brad A. Johnson)

photo by Brad A Johnson

Blackbird restaurant on West Randolph Street in Chicago. (Photo by Brad A. Johnson)

photo by Brad A Johnson

The L train snakes through construction in Chicago’s River North neighborhood. (Photo by Brad A. Johnson)

photo by Brad A Johnson

Rooftop view of the Chicago River from the LondonHouse Hotel. (Photo by Brad A. Johnson)

photo by Brad A Johnson

The modern wing of the Art Institute of Chicago. (Photo by Brad A. Johnson)

photo by Brad A Johnson

South Michigan Avenue in Chicago. (Photo by Brad A. Johnson)

photo by Brad A Johnson

The bean, aka the Cloud Gate sculpture in Chicago’s Millennium Park on South Michigan Drive. (Photo by Brad A. Johnson)

photo by Brad A Johnson

South Michigan Avenue through the trees of Millennium Park in Chicago. (Photo by Brad A. Johnson)

photo by Brad A Johnson

Nighttime skyline view of Chicago from North Avenue Beach. (Photo by Brad A. Johnson)

photo by Brad A Johnson

Dove’s Luncheonette in Wicker Park. (Photo by Brad A. Johnson)

photo by Brad A Johnson

The Robey, a Grupo Habita hotel in the heart of Bucktown/Wicker Park. (Photo by Brad A. Johnson)

photo by Brad A Johnson

View of downtown Chicago from the rooftop of The Robey hotel in Bucktown/Wicker Park. (Photo by Brad A. Johnson)

photo by Brad A Johnson

Cityscape view of Chicago from the rooftop of The Robey. (Photo by Brad A. Johnson)

photo by Brad A Johnson

The blue line of the L train passes by The Robey hotel in Bucktown/Wicker Park. (Photo by Brad A. Johnson)

photo by Brad A Johnson

A view of Chicago from the Adler Planetarium as the snow is just beginning to fall. (Photo by Brad A. Johnson)

photo by Brad A Johnson

Quiet refuge from the snowstorm inside The Robey hotel in Bucktown/Wicker Park. (Photo by Brad A. Johnson)

photo by Brad A Johnson

Snow falling like fluffy wet cotton balls in Chicago’s Bucktown/Wicker Park. (Photo by Brad A. Johnson)

photo by Brad A Johnson

Snow begins to blanket Bucktown and Wicker Park in Chicago. (Photo by Brad A. Johnson)

For more travel inspiration and photos, I invite you to follow me and join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.


Kiva - loans that change lives

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: