Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:
[This coming] weekend is the fourth annual Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (that “C2E2″ thing I won’t shut up about) at Chicago’s McCormick Place convention center, which my wife and I will be attending for our third time. As a tribute to this fascinating city, and an intro to C2E2 newcomers to provide ideas of what else Chicago has to offer while they’re in town, a few of this week’s posts will be dedicated to out experiences in the Windy City when we’re not gleefully clustered indoors with thousands of other comics and sci-fi fans.
Part One was our collection of skyscrapers and upwardly neck-craning viewpoints. Today in Part Two: Chicago from other angles.
One of the most famous would be the view from the 103rd floor of Willis Tower, the structure formerly known as the Sears Tower.
My understanding is the most daring view available today is from a feature called the Ledge, an interior overhang with a glass floor that allows you to look 103 stories directly beneath your feet. The Ledge wasn’t yet ready when we visited in 2009, so we had to settle for looking out the existing, normal, vertical windows like a bunch of chumps.
I’m not sure my wife would’ve enjoyed the Ledge anyway. Towering heights are more my thing than hers.
To the east you can see Lake Michigan, the Great Lake closest to their state and ours. The only catch is you have to take your eyes off the metropolitan, high-rising part of the city and look toward its ordinary flatland portions, which are a little less magical and in some cases not entirely safe. We tend to circumnavigate those.
Even from a distance the city looks gargantuan and daunting. This shot was taken from the Navy Pier, which sounds like a top-secret military command center but is actually a fun park and entertainment center.
If you decide to check out Chicago for yourself, be forewarned: parking prices are alarming and may induce terminal sticker shock. Fans of mass transit are better off finding somewhere to park in one of the suburbs and taking the train into town. The view through the tinted windows isn’t always scenic, but it’s certainly more affordable than paying over thirty bucks a visit for car storage alone.
I’m not sure if the general public has viable options to cruise into downtown via the Chicago River, but several staircases allow pedestrian access to the riverside.
Sometimes even the view inside buildings is intriguing without benefit of panoramic grandeur. The staircase inside the Museum of Contemporary Art is a creative work unto itself, spiraling downward to a koi pond at the bottom.
Rare are the times and places you can have an entire block to yourself. This moment on State Street somehow happened to us last September on a late Saturday afternoon.
This is the Chicago population density you’re used to seeing on TV — busy, vibrant, and far from boring.
To be continued!