My Kind of Town

3 Apr

Hello from the Windy City! It’s finally warm, sunny and wonderful Spring Quarter and I am SO ready to explore the city of Chicago to my heart’s content before I pack up and head for greener pastures for the summer. Having resisted the feeling of cabin fever while I was actually cooped up for the winter, I’m realizing retroactively how cooped up I actually was. This week has been 40s-50s and it has felt practically tropical.

On Thursday night, after my weekly dose of NBC sitcoms (reruns, unfortunately), I decided to officially ring in the new quarter with a walk down to the lake to take a look at the skyline from Fullerton Beach.


Sitting at the end of a practically empty Lake Shore trail, I was struck once again that I LIVE four blocks from… that. In fact, I live IN that. A big beautiful city where all kinds of big and little exciting things are happening. Over the past year and a half I have done a whole lot of exploring, but I still feel like I’ve only touched the tip of the iceberg that is Chicago. I decided that this quarter I would make exploring new parts of the city a priority. It’s so easy to slide into a routine and forget to get out there and, well, you know: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zLbWYHA5eUE&feature=related

So, wasting no time, I seized Saturday and did something I’ve been meaning to do for a while. In the fall, I picked up a copy of Time Out Chicago, Student Edition, which is a great listing of cheap, fun things to do in the city. They had a great series of articles on CTA city walks. The idea is, take the El to a stop, get off, follow the walking directions to landmarks, cool shops, little bistros and eventually back to another CTA stop. Brilliant! 1. Free 2. A perfect way to get to know a new neighborhood.

This week: The Gold Coast. The Fanciest Neighborhood of Them All. Red Line Clark/Division to Chicago.

The Gold Coast really is gorgeous. It’s a little bit nauseating to see 26 room, opulent mansions on prime real estate overshadowing areas of extreme poverty, but there is no denying that those 26 room mansions are beautiful to look at. C’est la vie, I suppose. Anyways, I really did love the walk. Tree-lined streets, beautiful architecture, and my handy-dandy page from Time Out Chicago to guide me. And perfect weather to boot! Here were some highlights.

The Charnley-Perksy House, an early collaboration between Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright

The Patterson-McCormick Mansion, designed by Stanford White a notorious womanizer who also designed Madison Square Gardens.

The Archbishop's Residence. Complete with 19 chimneys!!

Unfortunately, at this point my camera battery informed me that it was ‘exhausted’. So I don’t have pictures of the original Playboy mansion or Bernie Sahlin’s (cofounder of Second City) residence.

These were definitely the most imposing of the homes in the area, but really each building was something to see. The area has a very old-fashioned feel to it. I could just picture 19th century up-and-comers strolling down Astor Street, parasols and canes in hand. There was even one working torch-lit street lamp, which really set the mood.

After the residential tour I was lead down to the ritzy Oak Street shopping district. This is no ordinary mall. Think Prada, Harry Winston etc. very fancy schmancy. These are places I will only ever window shop. Although I did make one key purchase, macaroons from a Sarah’s Chocolate shop. Delicious!

Oak Street leads right out to Lake Shore, so I savored my chocolate macaroon as I strolled along beautiful blue Lake Michigan before turning down Chestnut through downtown to the Chicago stop (of course making a required stop at one of my favorite bookstores Europa Books, which is right off the El). All in all a fabulous day!

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3 Responses to “My Kind of Town”

  1. Valarie Johnson April 4, 2011 at 9:28 am #

    Glad to see you are making the most of your college experience!

  2. Bard's Portal September 18, 2011 at 11:03 am #

    I love the architectural tour. What a city!

  3. maureen wagner April 16, 2012 at 1:01 pm #

    Hi Maggie, Love your blog! Can’t wait to sit and look at the movie reviews. Just the couple I looked at look like my kind of movie :) Have fun exploring!!!!!!

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