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).
Vail Resorts opted to close all 37 resorts early in response to the current COVID-19 pandemic, but the mountain resort operator also wanted to give back to the community in the face of this adversity. The excess perishable food from the various properties was donated to 30 local food banks, schools and community organizations in the communities where Vail Resorts employees live, work and play. Fruit, vegetables, cheese, juice, granola bars and more went to mountain communities from Colorado and Vermont to British Columbia.
The city took its name from Athena, goddess of wisdom, strategy and war, and protector of the city. The financial, political and administrative center of the country and an all-powerful city-state in antiquity, Athens is a major center of culture. A visit to the first-ever museum dedicated to Byzantium, a stroll around the National Garden and a trip to the Olympeion archaeological site will take you back through time.
The airline industry responds to the COVID-19 pandemic with updates on cancellations, route capacity reductions and rebooking policies. Here’s an update.
IN A FIRST-OF-ITS-KIND PARTNERSHIP, Singapore Airlines and AeroFarms, the leader in indoor vertical farming, launched a Farm-to-Plane initiative to bring the world’s freshest inflight produce to Singapore flights from Newark International Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport.
United Airlines’ environmentally friendly efforts lessen the impact on local U.S. communities.
While we may be physically restricted as to where we travel, that doesn’t stop the wandering spirit from feeling the need to explore. With the rise of virtual tourism, we can do just that — explore, but from home.
As a result of travel restrictions and drastic reductions in flights worldwide, Munich Airport is suffering from decreases in nearly every area of its operations. Take-offs and landings reached a low last week, with traffic plummeting to less than 10 percent of the number year over year. Passenger traffic is at 5 percent of last year’s level.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy, small businesses create two-thirds of net new jobs and account for nearly 48 percent of the U.S. private sector workforce. And small- and medium-sized businesses outpace all other sectors as one of the fastest-growing in the United States. InterContinental® Hotels Group (IHG) goes above and beyond to create opportunities for this segment with its IHG® Business Edge program, voted Best Small- to Mid-Sized Business Program in Global Traveler’s 2019 GT Tested Reader Survey awards.
For the next several weeks, we are compiling the thoughts and experiences of our staff, writers and readers about the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. As a travel publication, we’ve all been affected during these difficult times, as have many of our clients, friends, partners and more.