Being Cultural in Chicago

As most of you know, I’ve recently come back from a close to two week holiday in the US. It feels like I’ve been home for ages but it’s actually only two weeks. I’ve had time to digest all my experiences so I thought it’s about time I share them with you.

My first stop of two on my holiday was Chicago. I had the pleasure of staying at a friend of mine. She and her husband live on the 8th floor, overlooking Lake Michigan, not shabby at all. On my first day there, I decided to be cultural and visit the parks, some landmarks and the Art Institute (voted the best art museum in the world – impressive!).

Grant Park

As I said, my friends live very close to the lake and right outside their building I found myself in Grant Park, walking around the Agora statues. The statues are massive, headless men. It sounds awful but they’re really cool and impressive, all 106 of them!

Agora Statues

Grant Park is lovely walking around in, people passing to go to work, college students going for a run during PE, people off work going for a run along the lake, fire fighters learning how to cycle (yep, it made me chuckle too), tourists like me having a day out enjoying the lovely weather and getting to know the green Chicago.

I had absolutely no idea but Lake Michigan is tropical blue. Because it’s just next door to the city, I imagined something similar to the rivers I’m used to from back home and here in Leeds which are more of a dark grey colour. I was absolutely gob smacked, such a lovely lake to dip your toes in. I never did but when summer time comes I bet it’s lovely to go for a swim after hanging out on the beach.

Lake Michigan

I walked along the lake, all the way up so I was level with Millennium Park. Walking across, I had to stop a couple of times and adore the massive buildings and skyline that Chicago has. It’s a really beautiful city, especially in hot sunshine and cloud free sky. The bridge leading me in to Millennium Park is really cool. Why build a straight boring bridge when you can build the BP Bridge.

View from BP Bridge

Millennium Park

The main attraction in Millennium Park is the Cloud Gate sculpture, or as most people know it – The Bean (the shape will give you a clue). It’s a very popular sculpture to take lots of photos of and of yourself in it as it reflects everything. When you look at it, facing the lake, you see Chicago’s skyline reflecting in it – super cool! I hanged around here for a bit, taking pictures in all shapes and form. If you’re looking for a good picture opportunity, this is it!

The Bean

The Art Institute of Chicago

Just across the street from Millennium Park and The Bean, is The Art Institute of Chicago. It’s a massive building, impressive from the outside and like a maze inside. I had to ask twice to get to the parts where I wanted to see exhibitions, ha. As any other museum, they have exhibitions which they change now and again and also static exhibitions. As always, I can’t walk around in a museum too long, I loose my mind, and with this museum being so big I had to choose wisely what to go and see.

The Art Insttute of Chogaco sign

I started off with the Van Gogh exhibition, ‘Van Gogh’s Bedrooms’. I really enjoyed it and learnt so many new things about Van Gogh. Did you even know he painted three versions of the bedroom painting, and six or so of the famous sunflower painting? I would not have been able to spot the differences in the bedroom paintings if it hadn’t been for this exhibition, really informative.

The Art Institute of Chicago entrance

I tend to enjoy the contemporary section the most and this is really big at The Art Institute in Chicago so I picked a few rooms and paintings I wanted to see – paintings by Andy Warhole, random art installations and of course ‘American Gothic’.

American Gothic

Before leaving, I spent a long time in the Miniature Room looking at all the impressive miniature replicas of famous/known rooms in the US and Europe. If paintings in general are an art form, this is bringing it to the next level. Nothing has escaped this artist, every single detail is there, IN MINIATURE!!!

If you have a couple of days to spend in Chicago, definitely make sure to visit The Art Institute (free entrance on Thursdays) to spot some iconic paintings and The Bean to take some of your own.

Jennie xx

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