Poet Carl Sandburg dubbed Chicago the “City of the Big Shoulders.” It fits. These shoulders support everything from Picasso’s paintings to bustling steel mills, from hot dog stands to world-famous cuisine. Most cities pale in comparison to this ethnically diverse urban enclave whose stunning skyline erupts from the shores of Lake Michigan.
Chicago was born in the late 18th century as a fur trading post. Because of its strategic location between Lake Michigan and the Chicago and Des Plaines rivers, it grew into a giant metropolis. The shadows of its notorious past — the Great Fire of 1871, the “hot-air” politicians who inspired its “Windy City” nickname, the Capone/ Dillinger gangster era of the 1920s and 1930s, the Democratic National Convention and race riots of the 1960s — can do little to diminish its present-day positives.
Visitors with just a few free hours can find unique things to do here. Most downtown hotels cater to convention and business travelers and are quite close to tourist attractions, including the world’s third-tallest building, the Sears Tower. Unfortunately, its Skydeck is often enveloped in clouds. For more picturesque vistas, try the John Hancock Observatory or snap the best panoramic photograph atop the 150-foot Ferris wheel at the Navy Pier (www.navypier.com). Stroll the pier’s half-mile walkway over Lake Michigan to browse entertainment venues and shops.
Chicago’s prime shopping and people-watching mecca is the Magnificent Mile (www.themagnificentmile.com), where a stretch of Michigan Avenue is crowded with upscale malls, designer boutiques and big-name stores including Bloomingdale’s, Crate and Barrel and Nordstrom’s.
At Millennium Park (www.millenniumpark.org), just south of the Magnificent Mile, Anish Kapoor’s polished steel sculpture Cloud Gate— affectionately called “The Bean” by Chicagoans — reflects a fish-eye landscape. The park’s other showstoppers are the towering stainless steel ribbons on the Jay Pritzker Pavilion and the twin 50-foot talking fountains. Bronze lions guard the main entrance of the Art Institute of Chicago (www.artic.edu) farther south on Michigan Avenue. Inside are exhibits encompassing artistry from around the world, including Grant Wood’s American Gothic and one of the four surviving Water Lilies by Claude Monet.
Those attending a convention at McCormick Place can drop in at the nearby Museum Campus — home to the Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium and Adler Planetarium. And if you have time for just one tour, book it with the Chicago Architectural Foundation (www.architecture.org) — the city is full of stunning architecture.
Save time to sample Chicago’s famous chow. The cellar-like atmosphere of Pizzeria Uno (29 E. Ohio St., tel 312 321 1000) hasn’t changed since the gooey deep-dish concoction was first created in 1943. A favorite of comedian Jay Leno, sloppy Italian beef sandwiches at Mr. Beef on Orleans (666 N. Orleans St., tel 312 337 8500) will have you licking your fingers. Gibson’s (1028 N. Rush St., tel 312 266 8999) is carnivore heaven — juicy steaks are so big, the only thing missing are the horns and the tail. The most discerning food aficionados savor small-plate creations at the world-renowned Alinea (1723 N. Halsted St., Lincoln Park, tel 312 867 0110).
The Airline Passenger Experience Association and SimpliFlying recognized United Airlines for providing a hospital-grade standard of cleanliness and safety during travel. Among the four largest U.S. carriers, United is the first to receive Diamond Certification, the highest in the new APEX Health Safety audit powered by SimpiliFlying.
Step right up to the greatest show on Earth as FXExpress Publications, Global Traveler, trazeetravel.com and whereverfamily.com celebrate their 2020 award winners! Join the big top on Dec. 14 as we virtually award the winners of the 17th annual GT Tested Reader Survey awards, including the Airline and Hotel of the Year; the 17th annual Wines on the Wing Airline Wine Survey; the eighth annual Leisure Lifestyle Awards; the sixth annual The Trazees; and the third annual Wherever Awards.
A couple of my friends and I decided to rent a house in the Camelback Mountain area of Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains for New Year’s Eve. To find the perfect place, we used Vrbo.com; there were a bunch of properties to choose from, but, in the end, we decided to rent a place in The Village at Camelback.
The International Air Transport Association and Etihad Airways partnered to launch the IATA Travel Pass for passengers on the Gulf carrier. The IATA Travel Pass is a mobile app that helps passengers manage travel in line with government requirements for COVID-19 tests or vaccines. It will be initially offered on select Etihad flights from Abu Dhabi in early 2021, with plans to extend the offer if successful.
Are you looking for a truly unique travel experience and considering a new vehicle? The Volvo Overseas Delivery Program is the perfect solution to create your own refined adventure of a lifetime. You can custom order your new Volvo, tailored to fit your needs and desires. They will fly you to Sweden to pick up your Volvo so you can drive and explore Scandinavia and Europe on your terms for up to two weeks.
Madeline Hotel & Residences, Auberge Resorts Collection recently debuted a complete redesign, now standing as a luxurious, modern mountain resort in Telluride, Colorado. At 10,540 feet, the ski-in/ski-out retreat boasts new social spaces, a refreshed lobby, a new boutique, a collection of new guest experiences and amenities, and wellness offerings. Additionally, Madeline features a collaboration with Olympian Gus Kenworthy, who helped create the hotel’s Recovery Ski Lounge.