Chicago Trip – Frank Lloyd Wright

I arrived in Chicago a day earlier than my Mom after taking a nine-hour overnight bus ride on Megabus. This was my first trip on Megabus and I will definitely be using it again.  It only cost $20 for a round trip ticket from Nashville to Chicago.  Yes, I had to leave Nashville at midnight, Friday night but this meant I would be able to sleep on the bus and would arrive in Chicago at 9am Saturday.  Allowing me to see some of the attractions that my Mom wasn’t that interested in.

The Loop (FIG 1)

I started on the South Side of Chicago but in order to get to that area I would need to use public transportation.  After picking up my Go Chicago Card, I walked up the stairs to the Loop or the ‘L’ to the locals.  This is where all the trains that come in from the suburbs make a loop, on an elevated track, around downtown Chicago before heading back out to the suburbs (FIG 1).  I purchased a 7 day unlimited CTA card for $23 which would give me access to the ‘L’ and the local buses.  I figured out that the $23 would be well below the amount I would spend if I bought multiple $2.25 single ride tickets for each trip I would be taking.  The CTA only sells increments of 1, 3 and 7 day unlimited ride passes and since I was going to be there for 5 days, the 7 day was my best and basically only option.

I jumped on the GREEN metro line heading south and got off at the Garfield stop.  After a short walk through Washington Park and The University of Chicago Campus, I reached the beautiful Robie House.  Ever since learning about the Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright in High School, I’ve been a fan.  A guided tour of the house was on the Go Chicago Card and therefore I was able to see the inside of the masterful design that Wright had built for the Robie family back in 1909.  It is considered to be the best example of the Prairie House Style that Frank Lloyd Wright was famous for.  This is only one example of his many designs located throughout Chicago but it would be one of the few that I was able to make it to while visiting Chicago.

If I had more time I would have loved to make a trip on the BLUE line to the Oak Park stop, about 10 miles west of downtown Chicago.  When Frank Lloyd Wright was living in Chicago, he had his self designed home and studio located in the Oak Park neighborhood.  It was too bad I never made it because a tour of the home and studio was included on the Go Chicago Card.  Another option is taking either a guided walking tour around the neighborhood and seeing the outside of 20+ homes that Frank Lloyd Wright also designed.  You can even purchase both tours and save a little money.

Have a favorite Architect or is it just me?  Any favorite house design styles?

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Chicago Trip – The Backstory

I recently got to go to Chicago for the first time and man was I ever excited to go.  I planned a trip where my Mom, who lives in New York, would meet me in Chicago and we would have 5 whole days to do whatever.  The main reason we chose Chicago that particular weekend was for the Pirates Vs. Cubs series going on but I’ll get to that later.

My Mom had been to Chicago before but it was with a Baseball tour so she didn’t get to see much of the city, therefore I pretty much had free reign to plan whatever I wanted for us to do.  For this reason, we decided that we should both get the Go Chicago Card, which gave us access to over 25 different attractions plus many other discounts.  We had the options of 1,2,3,5 and 7 day passes.  Since there were enough attractions we both wanted to do, we sprung for the 5 day pass, which was the whole length of time we would be in Chicago. It was my first experience with a card like this and did I ever take advantage of its perks.  I had the two of us running around Chicago seeing every last thing we could in too short of a time period.  We could have always gotten less days but the more days you buy, the better a deal you get!

While in Chicago, we used the Go Chicago Card to see/do:

  1. Robie House
  2. The Museum of Science and Industry
  3. Navy Pier Attractions
  4. John Hancock Observatory
  5. Architecture River Cruise
  6. Bike Chicago Navy Pier
  7. Tall Ship Windy
  8. North Side Tour by Grey Line
  9. Shedd Aquarium
  10. SkyDeck Chicago – Willis Tower
  11. Hop-On Hog-Off Trolley Tour

All told, I would have spent about $275 if I had bought tickets to all of these attractions.  When instead, I bought the card for about HALF that amount!

This was all while my Mom and I saw two baseball games, went on a FREE 3 hour walking tour of downtown Chicago and I also went to two comedy shows.  In my coming posts, I’ll explain how we got to each of these attractions, what we thought of it and my recommendations.  Enjoy!

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My Passion

I’m addicted to Maps!  Give me an address and I will be searching for it the second I get onto a computer.  I start looking at how to get there, whats around it or how long it would take to get there.  If its someplace local, I try to see if I have been by that area before and if I can remember seeing it.  Whether its using Street View on Google Maps or Birds Eye view on Bing.com, I have no preferences.

While I did not intend to go to college for Geography, I left after four years with a degree in just that and a minor in Cartography.  My first semester, as an elective, I took a World Geography course which got me into the Geography building on campus.  It wasn’t too long after that I decided to drop out of Architecture and feed my love of maps by declaring Geography as my new major.  After graduating, I found a job drawing maps and have been doing that ever since.

Its great being able to create my own maps at work but I love passing the time by just browsing maps while I am at home.  This addiction has sometimes caused me to stay up way too late just searching around a new area but it has also made for some amazing vacations due to all of the research I do before a trip.  I look into where is the best place to stay, what to do there and most importantly how to get around (especially when I don’t have a car).  Knowing how to get around a city without a car and NO SMARTPHONE, is one of my best assets.  Even if I have never been to the city before, I have done so much research that I practically know all the ins and outs of getting around a city.  I am also able to jam pack a long weekend with so many sights and experiences it will leave your head spinning.  Most recently, I traveled to Chicago for the first time and spent five days seeing everything possible but I’ll save that for a later post.

If you had a three-day weekend, what major US city would you travel too?

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Welcome to Chicago!

As I stepped off the over night bus ride, this welcomed me to Chicago!

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