Chicago

laketrailChicago is a beautiful American city. I’ve heard people go on and on about New York and LA, but I was in Chicago for a few months in summer and I didnt want want to be anywhere else.
I hear Chicago winters go upto -20 to -30 degrees Celcius at it lowest. Would’ve been like hell for me. I dont know why I mention it because I got days getting warmer one after the other leading up to a bright toasty summer.

Within days of me getting there, in April-May the town brought out flowering trees in trucks and planted them in front of downtown’s skyscrapers. They rolled out grass carpets in the 40 km long lake-front stretch and summer was here.

Michigan lake is beautiful. One of America’s great lakes – shimmering, sparkling under warm, blue skies – it amused me to see signs that said “No ice-skating on the lake” !
The beautiful boats in the lake, the lovely Chicago skyline from there, the public beaches all along the lakefront (the town trucked out sand there too), the parks along the lake-front. If you went from Millennium Park (downtown) up north along the lakefront for the next 4-5 miles you would see the skaters, and the archers, and the zoo. (The zoo was nice). And the botanical garden. and the runners, and the place along the lake where the fancy boats were parked, and the baseball fields, and the tennis courts, and the beaches.

Chicago might be a big American city – it has the largest O’Hare airport, most conventions hosted in the world, several buildings which have been the tallest in the world at some time. But it does not feel overwhelming or inaccessible at all. On a more practical note, it is actually one of the most accessible cities in the world for differently abled people. It shows everywhere – in buses, trains, parks, public places, buildings, restaurants.
The people are very friendly too.
Speaking of big – Chicago downtown library is the biggest library building in the world. It was a joy. 7 stories and each floor you couldn’t see end to end.

Tucked away on its outskirts Chicago has much more to explore. A sprawling botanical park, a large zoo, many lakes and parks.fieldmuseum

Coming back to the lake-front, there were all sorts of activities planned on weekends by the council. International and amateur artists to perform (the first weekend had Anoushka Shankar at Millenium park), grand fire-works, fighter aircraft show. Free day at Field museum.
How can we not mention the Museum campus ? Field Natural History Museum is a stately sight from Millenium Park, flanked by the planetorium and the aquarium – all looking good. A visit to the Field museum is a must – not least to visit Sue, the Tyrannosaurus Rex.

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