WALTZ­ING DOWN THE WINDY CITY

With sky­scrapers that tell a story and parks that spread over acres, Chicago is a per­fect mix of na­ture and city life

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Lifestyle - Shradha Sha­hani shradha.sha­hani@hin­dus­tan­times.com

Dur­ing our 16-hour jour­ney, on a dog-eared page of a novel, we dis­cov­ered an in­ter­est­ing his­tor­i­cal fact about Chicago, USA. In 1871, in a farm, south of Chicago, a cow kicked a lan­tern, which ig­nited some hay, which fur­ther lit some lum­ber, and caused the en­tire city to light up in flames. Cen­turies later, as we drove out of O’Hare In­ter­na­tional Air­port, our eyes weren’t pre­pared for the tow­er­ing sky­scrapers that stretched as far as we could see. Im­me­di­ately, the im­age of city of Man­hat­tan popped up in our minds. The Windy City is a less-crowded and cleaner ver­sion of it. Although it is packed with build­ings, it is spa­cious and well-planned. Chicago also has parks that sprawl over acres of lands, and a hint of green­ery ev­ery few miles. Here’s how you can make the most of the city in a short span of time.

SKY IS THE LIMIT

Chicago is renowned for its bold ar­chi­tec­ture. It comes as no sur­prise that most of the tourist at­trac­tions over­look the beau­ti­ful sky­line brim­ming with sky­scrapers. The Wil­lis Tower — Chicago’s tallest build­ing, situated in the Loop (busi­ness) dis­trict, is one such spot. The ear-pop­ping, 60-se­cond el­e­va­tor ride to the Sky­deck trans­ports you to the heav­ens. You can get a spec­tac­u­lar view, span­ning four dif­fer­ent states, or step on to the Ledge — a glass box jut­ting out in mid-air. Be pre­pared to feel a tad light­headed; the ledge that peers 103-floors down the Wacker Drive is not meant for the faint-hearted. For a sim­i­lar ‘high’, you can en­joy drinks on the 96th floor at the buzzy Sig­na­ture Lounge, lo­cated in the iconic John Han­cock Cen­tre on Michi­gan Av­enue.

AR­CHI­TEC­TURE PAR­ADISE

They say the best way to dis­cover a city is by foot. We’d say the best way to dis­cover Chi-town is by the boat tour that cuts through down­town, weav­ing past dozens of sky­scrapers. Our tour guide pointed out to the Trump In­ter­na­tional Ho­tel and Tower, and said, “The 98 storey build­ing was de­signed by ar­chi­tect Adrian Smith. The tallest struc­ture in the world, The Burj Khal­ifa, in Dubai, was also built by the same firm.” As we drifted down­stream, she pointed out to the only build­ing that had an un­ob­structed view of the lake — Lake Point Tower. It is be­lieved that Amer­i­can phi­lan­thropist-TV host Oprah Win­frey is a res­i­dent of this build­ing. “It was built years ago due to a loop­hole in the sys­tem. No other sky­scraper was al­lowed to be built as close to Lake Michi­gan ever after,” she ex­plained.

LOSE TRACK OF TIME

Make sure you keep your cam­era handy on your visit to the Mil­len­nium Park in the Loop dis­trict. The Bean or the Cloud Gate that draws a large crowd ev­ery day is situated in this park. Bri­tish artist of In­dian ori­gin Anish Kapoor’s mas­sive, mir­rored-sur­face sculp­ture, The Bean, re­flects the city’s sky­line and the mes­merised on­look­ers. Grant Park, which boasts a large foun­tain, known as the Buck­ing­ham Foun­tain, is a five-minute walk from Mil­len­nium Park.

Buck­ing­ham Foun­tain

PHOTO: SHRADHA SHA­HANI

Chicago — a land of sky­scrapers

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