Sunday, July 27, 2014

Chicago [26/07 - 27/07]

I arrived at Chicago O'Hare domestic airport on the morning of 26th July 10am. I made my way through the airport to the baggage collection and off to the subway station. In all, I spent around 20mins walking from the aircraft gates to the baggage collection and to the station. 

In this trip, I hope to experience life as a typical local Chicago resident, so I will be taking public transport around. There was quite a huge crowd of people getting tickets from the automatic dispensing machine. As I'm getting a 3-day pass, I went for the machine with lesser people which only dispenses day passes. It cost US$20 for a 3-day pass with an additional $5 card deposit.

And here is the subway train. It looks pretty old with a metallic industrial era feel to the train. The ride from the airport to the city centre will be around 40mins long if there is no delay. That is, if there is no delay...

As luck would have it, there is line down between 2 stations along the blue line which started on the evening of Friday and stretch all the way till the Monday morning. I had to alight at Western station to take their connecting shuttle buses. Getting out of the station is quite alright as there are still escalators and elevators functioning.

The bus frequency is also very frequent. There are more buses than passengers. Contrast that with Singapore!

Unfortunate at Logan, there is no escalator or elevator to the platform that is 3 storey high. So I have to nudge my 25kg luggage up to the platform. Thereafter I'm on the train and am off on my journey to Monroe station. After I alighted at Monroe, I found that the escalator is down. So it is again nudging the 25kg luggage up 3 storey to the ground level. From the station exit, it is a 5mins walk to my hotel - Club Quarters Central Loop.

The hotel is amazing sleek and cosy. I took a photo of my room above. It is located in the financial district of Chicago and has good views around. 

After settling into my room, I find it is time to take a walk around the city centre and get my tickets to Milwaukee at the same time. Here is the scene of the city centre just along my hotel.

Just next to my hotel is a tall building with many stairs. I noticed many tourists taking photo of this area, so I also join in. Below is the image. 

It is coming close to lunch time at 12pm. I decided to check out the famous Giordano pizza which is a 5mins walk down the street. Unfortunately it is full house, so I just drop by the pizza place next to Giordano. It serves a great variety of hot dogs, pasta and pizza at affordable prices.

The Amtrak train station is just along river. The view is just stunning, a big contrast to the towering city center. I quickly purchase my tickets and off I go for adventure around the city.

The building below is the Chicago Board of Trade.

I arrived at the Art Institute of Chicago at 1pm and there is already a long line in front of it. I will be spending the next 4 hours here. It cost US$23 for the basic ticket with another US$7 for the audio guide.

It has a vast collection of exhibits. Below are Asian arts.

With a huge collection of basque...  

There are many art galleries. The audio guide provides very detail explanation on how the paintings are drawn and why they are drawn in that manner from the artist perspective. It is very informational.

There is a gallery where medieval times armors and swords are kept.

Below is a prominent painting in the Art Institute - which depicts life in a street in Paris during the 18th century.

Below is another painting where people from all walks of life (different occupation) gather by the lake and enjoy nature.

Here is the view of the Art Institute from the inside. It span from Basement to Level 1 and Level 2. Though I spent 4 hours in the Art Institute, I only managed to cover 50% of the exhibits in there. I believe a full day will be required to slowly go through all the exhibits.

Just next to the Art Institute is the Millennium Park. It has same amazing art exhibits in there.

There is a large fountain area where families can have fun.

 There is also a concert area where performances are held regularly.

As it is a park, flowers are always not far away.

From Millennium Park, I decided to take a bus to Navy Pier which is not so far away. Upon reaching Navy Pier, it is dinner time and the first restaurant which I saw was Bubba Gump. This restaurant was setup after the Forrest Gump movie where Bubba and Gump setup a shrimp company. I ordered lots of shrimps and really enjoy it (US$40 including tips).

There are many seagulls in the area.

It has an amazing view of Chicago city.

I took the opposite route back to the bus station at the Navy Pier and the city view is different.

27th July (Sunday)

I woke up at 6am in the morning. The sun rise much earlier in the States and I also naturally woke up much earlier. The only restaurant around my hotel which is open that early in the morning is McDonalds. So here I go. McDonalds breakfast in the morning has quite a big selection (up to 10 different set meals).

After breakfast, I hop on the subway follow by another bus to the Field Museum. The Field Museum is like the National Museum and has a vast amount of exhibits.

Just next to the Field Museum is an amazing view of Chicago City.

Here is another view.

This museum is famous for its Dinosaurs and native American history. It is something which I don't see in Singapore. As it is my first time to the Field Museum and I only got the morning available, I got the very basic ticket which cost US$18.

I spent quite a bit of time in the native American gallery. It has a lot of amazing exhibits and videos on the history of the Americas (north and south).

I also joined in a 1-hour guided tour of the mummy exhibit in the museum. Egyptian history is truly long and astounding.

The final gallery I drop by is the history of the Earth and it walks through on how life on Earth started. We have entered the dinosaur age below.

Below is a wonderful quote from Charles Darwin.

It is lunch time and my lunch will be in the Field Museum - Explorer Cafe.

I left the Field Museum around 1pm and continue walking down the path leading to the Adler Planetarium. Along the way, there were good views of the city.

Here right in front of the Planetarium is Copernicus.

And we are in the Planetarium. I also bought a video show (Cosmic Wonder) with my entry ticket.Total cost is US$25. I finished all the sights in the planetarium within 1 hour, and the Cosmic Wonder show is another 30mins.

I left the planetarium at 3pm and proceed back to my hotel to pick up my luggage. Thereafter I continue on to the Amtrak train station to catch the 5pm train to Milwaukee. And that will be another post.