With January almost at an end (what???) I decided to spend my mid-week day off work playing with my new camera and exploring Chicago. Fortunately it was a gorgeous sunny day (despite the low temps), so I put on all my layers and headed towards the loop.
The Art Institute of Chicago
Chicago has some fantastic museums. The Field Museum has everything from dinosaurs to jewels, and I could spend months at The Museum of Science and Industry. There are always interesting temporary exhibits, but recently I’ve realized that there’s plenty to check out by focusing only on the permanent exhibits. Plus it’s cheaper! Because The Art Institute of Chicago is so easily accessible via public transportation I chose to spend my afternoon there. I haven’t been to The Museum of Science and Industry in quite some time, so perhaps when it gets warmer I’ll take a walk along the lake and visit.
The Art Institute has a something for everyone, and it’s hard to choose favorites because of the wide variety of exhibits. There are magical sculptures from Southeast Asia, incredibly detailed beaded headdresses from various tribes in Africa, and every armor you can imagine (Game of Thrones!).
Here are some of my favorite permanent exhibits:
- The Thorne Miniature Rooms, a collection of models depicting different interiors ranging from the 13th century in Europe to the 1930’s in America. Mrs. James Ward Thorne had master craftsmen work on the rooms between 1932 and 1940, and the results are amazing. Everything is so tiny and detailed! It’s such fun to peek into different eras and think about the type of people that would live in the rooms and how different (or similar) our lives are today.
- The African collection is AWESOME. It’s incredibly colorful and impressive. There are also short videos showing some of the items in action during tribal dances and song. You’ll walk out of the exhibit in awe of the gorgeous textiles and headdresses.
- The European painting collection has some extremely popular paintings. You won’t be able to miss Georges Seurat’s A Sunday on La Grande Jatte or Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s At the Moulin Rouge.
- Georgia O’Keeffe’s Sky Above Clouds IV. It’s massive and beautiful and all the things words can’t describe.
You really can’t go wrong when exploring The Art Institute, so even if you just wander you’ll be sure to find something that peaks your interest!
After a nice couple of hours at The Art Institute I left via the modern wing bridge that is on the third floor, walking over Congress Street and heading straight towards the Jay Pritzker Pavillion. Even in the cold it looks beautiful. Can’t wait for summertime concerts and picnics!
Cindy’s (Chicago Athletic Association Hotel)
After snapping a few photos, I popped across the street to Cindy’s, the rooftop bar in the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel. Cindy’s is a perfect spot for a tourist and local alike, with amazing views of Millennium Park and an awesome interior. It was a perfect end to my winter afternoon as the open space and huge windows let the sun in and give it a little bit of a summer feel, warming me right up. I sat at the bar and had the bartender’s recommended We’ll Always Have Paris, which was a wonderful recommendation that I’ll definitely have again. A beautiful presentation with rose petals dusting the top, but the housemade pistachio milk and hint of cardamom make it a perfect drink when it’s 30 degrees outside.
What a perfect way to spend a winter afternoon in Chicago.