I’m not sure how it took me this long to visit Chicago, but I am so glad I did! There is no shortage of architecture, art, or food, and I only wish I’d been able to spend more time in the Windy Cindy!
Chicago boasts a rich architectural history, and there is no better way to get the lay of the land than on a Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise. Sit back and relax (with a drink or two) and let a knowledgeable docent guide you down the Chicago River. The tour covers buildings from early warehouses on the river, to historic revival, art deco, mid-century modern, post-modern, and contemporary buildings. It is, by far, the most thorough architectural tour I’ve taken.
Of course, another great way to explore Chicago architecture is on foot. Downtown Chicago – and particularly, The Loop – is extremely walkable. Wandering around The Loop, you can walk to the Chicago Theatre, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the 1890s Reliance Building, the Chicago Board of Trade, and the Willis (formerly Sears) Tower, among other beautiful buildings.
Be sure to take a look at the fortress-like Rookery (pictured below), a Burnham & Root building dating back to 1888. You can go inside and see the light and delicate atrium remodeled by Frank Lloyd Wright nineteen years later (pictured above).
If you have time (and transportation) to explore beyond downtown, the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio tour in Oak Park is a must. Entry to the home and studio is by guided tour only, and the tour is a great look into the first home and workshop of the famous architect in his early years. There are also a number of homes designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in the Oak Park neighborhood that are worth seeing.
What are your favorite buildings in Chicago, or elsewhere?