The Chicago Experience

My sisters’ 17th birthday was rapidly approaching, and to celebrate this occasion, she wanted to travel someplace else. I originally thought that she’d want to go to New York and see Niagara Falls- or something of the sort. Though, contrary to what I expected, she chose to visit the ‘great’ city of Chicago, Illinois.

We began our journey in a car, and this is where we stayed for the duration of day 1 during our 3 day experience. For hours upon end, we sat in a car and viewed the bland trees and scenery. So far, it’d been nothing more than what I could see back at home. But, this is where she wanted to go. And besides, maybe I was just being pessimistic.

It was around midnight when we finally arrived in Chicago. The beautiful lights and glamour of the city dazzled across the sky. Giant buildings towered over my miniature body. My family and I awed and gawked at the shops and stores that dazzled in the darkness. An array of buildings used their synchronization of room lights to create an obvious heart on the sides of them. It was an amazing sight to see, and I felt like I was in a completely different world. Up until we started getting cranky due to hunger and underdeveloped plans involving hotel housing.

I took the following photo, of one of the buildings, while in the car at a stop light.

The rest of the first night we spent irritated and hungry. Hours into the night, it felt like a higher being finally helped us. Presenting on our phones, a fairly cheap hotel building just outside of downtown Chicago: Hilton Hotel. This became our base of operations for the rest of our trip, due to their hospitality and comforting environment. If you’re visiting the Chicago area, I would definitely suggest signing into the hotel. Their simplistic yet modern look, as well as spacious rooms, grant for a calming atmosphere.

Photo I took of the room just before leaving Chicago.

The next day, I awoke and acted out my daily routine of: Brushing my teeth and showering, then, going to the hotel lobby for the complimentary breakfast. They provided a box containing: a bagel and cream cheese, a hard boiled egg, and yogurt at varying flavors. After breakfast, we left the hotel and traveled back into downtown Chicago. Thus began the 2 hourlong trek for cheap-free parking. Which ended up being much more challenging than imagined.

Cars and trucks alike stormed the streets and parked along the sides. Many shadows of tall buildings casted shadows over the self-indulgent drivers. Throughout the car ride to find parking, many pedestrians took to jogging along sidewalks in the windy but sunny weather. A fully blue sky coated the city in an ocean-like environment. The entire city felt active and busy so, after we finally found parking, I jogged the rest of the way to our next destination: Lincoln Park Zoo

Lincoln Park was a good one. It homed animals from small rodents to giant and fearsome Rhinos. And many animals between like the Penguin exhibit, and roaming camels. Not to mention the view from within the park, looking at the distant towers, was incredible. My time at Lincoln Park is not one that will be forgotten, it was a very enjoyable place.

I took this photo from within Lincoln Park

After visiting Lincoln Park Zoo, we decided on finding a place to eat. We visited some high class food establishment where you sit outside and indulge in food and drinks with prices ranging from $14-$55 with most food items being on the higher price end. Needless to say, we quickly changed our minds on eating there and chose to go across the street and explore Grant Park.

The paths were lined with multicolored trees and tall lamps that exemplified any bland-looking thing and turning it into something worth photographing. Grant Park granted for the perfect scenery to commence in a photo shoot- of sorts. As well as beautiful photos of the city and the setting sun behind it. The suns rays of light seeping through the cracks between the buildings, making for yet another amazing photo.

One of my favorite photos that I took of Chicago. The sun separating the two buildings make for a scene that was thought of only being possible in movies and shows.

But my photos are not yet finished with the task of capturing Chicago’s beauty. I still had more photos to take of the giant buildings interacting with the setting sun. Here is another photo I took that evening.

Another one of my favorite photos of Chicago. My love for this photo resonates in the clear and direct pathway of which split apart the buildings.

After the taking of this photo, we retreated back to the aforementioned hotel. That is where we stayed for the rest of our trip, up until the next morning when we awoke early to begin the long drive back home. Thus ending my 3-day visit to Chicago. Throughout my time there, I experienced a certain kind of stress and discomfort while in a vehicle. Considering how busy the roads remain, and unclear and indirect locations for parking, stress is only to be expected from a visitor.

All in all, Chicago was a fairly enjoyable experience. Downtown Chicago had many things to do but not much parking. And if parking was somehow found, they charged around $5-$15 an hour. Though, it did make for some swell photo taking.

Overall, I’d rate The Chicago Experience a 6.5/10. The area itself is pleasant to look at, but the specifics are nothing breathtaking. I likely wouldn’t suggest visiting Chicago over someplace else- like Cedar Point in Ohio. But if you have a couple days and you’re in the area, not too bad of a place to check out. With that, my jurisdiction of Chicago concludes. Be sure to safe out there and enjoy your life, you only have one. -R.G.

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