28 JUN 17 | windy city weekend

Chelsea’s tour of Chicago

I just returned from a long weekend in Chicago, which was AWESOME. If you’re looking for a city that is beautiful, clean, easy to navigate, and has amazing architecture around every corner (and great pizza), Chicago should be your next vacation spot. I spent four days with best friends taking in the sights (and food); here are just a few of my favorite spots.

The Skyline

Chicago - Labeled Skyline 600

The Chicago Skyline as viewed from the 94th Floor of the Hancock Tower. Buildings outlined in blue from left to right: The Aon Center, Prudential Plaza, Chicago Tribune Tower, Crain Communications Building, Trump Tower, Marina City, Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower).
Chicago - 1
Chicago Skyline as viewed from Navy Pier.
The Skyline / Lake Michigan as viewed from the Hancock Tower.

I’ve always been a big fan of right angles, geometric shapes, and masculine architecture. However, Chicago has me embracing architecture’s organic, curvy, and feminine side. Here are a few of my favorites.

Marina City

Marina City, Floor Plan (top left). House of Blues, part of the Marina City complex (bottom left). View of Marina City from Chicago River Walk (right).

Marina City was one of my favorite buildings along the Chicago Skyline. It is a 64 story condominium building and hotel with the first 18 stories serving as parking. Construction was completed in 1968 and it still is one of the most unique buildings in downtown Chicago.  I love the Mid-Century style, unique shape, and fun personality of this pair of towers. The scalloped shapes protruding from the building serve as balconies for the condos and hotel rooms.


Aqua was designed by Studio Gang and was completed in 2010.

Aqua is 82 stories tall and features protruding concrete balconies strategically placed to create “pools” along the building’s facade. The pools are experienced differently from different view points. It serves as apartments, hotel, and office space.

Jay Pritzker Pavilion

Chicago - Frank Gehry

The Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park is an outdoor music pavilion designed by Frank Gehry.
Chicago - Jay Pritzker Pavilion
Close up view of the stage and stainless steel details.

The Jay Pritzker Pavilion was completed in 2004. It includes a 95,000 square foot lawn area, 4000 fixed seats, and approximately 7000 lawn seats. A steel trellis spans over the entirety of the lawn, defining the space. The stage itself is clad with undulating stainless steel panels, creating a dynamic structure. If you’re ever in Chicago and would like to see a show here you can go here for tickets. Group fitness classes are regularly held on the lawn on the weekends, otherwise people use the lawn to lounge, sunbathe, and picnic.

Cloud Gate

Chicago - Bean
Cloud Gate is a public art piece by British artist Anish Kapoor, located in Millennium Park.

Cloud Gate, also lovingly referred to as “The Bean,” is possibly one of the most recognizable Chicago icons. Cloud Gate is Anish Kapoor’s first site specific installation in the United States, it was unveiled in 2004. It is a highly reflective cloud or bean shaped sculpture that encourages viewer interaction. You can walk under the sculpture, touch it, lean on it, or take a million selfies with it.

The Food and Entertainment

It wouldn’t be a blog post about Chicago if we didn’t discuss pizza!

Chicago - Pizza
Giordano’s Deep Dish Pizza with “Chicago Style” toppings (pepperoni, mushrooms, peppers, and onions).

In the battle between Chicago Style Pizza vs. New York Style Pizza, I stand firmly on the side of New York, however, Chicago Deep Dish is still awesome. We ate at Giordano’s and Pizzeria Due. I have to admit, both pizzas were delicious. If I were to create the most perfect Chicago Deep Dish, I would combine Giordano’s crust with Pizzeria Due’s toppings.

Chicago - Wrigley
Wrigley Field is a cool spot for baseball fans, and Wrigleyville is a great place to grab a beer.

Chicago Style Hotdogs are the bomb. A Vienna Beef hotdog in a poppy seed bun, topped with tomato, relish, mustard, chopped onions, sport peppers and a pickle spear – try it this 4th of July (recipe here).

Chicago - beer

You can’t eat that much pizza without sampling the local beer too! I have to say, there were four of us with different tastes in beer, and we all agreed that anything from Revolution Brewing is awesome. My favorites were Anti-Hero IPA and Rosa Hibiscus Ale.

Chicago - Second City
Photo from Chicago Tribune.

If you are in Chicago, a comedy show is a must! We went to see “Fantastic Super Great Nation Numero Uno” at The Second City, we laughed until we cried, and then we laughed some more.


Chelsea Semelka, Interior Designer
28 June 2017