On June 25, we checked out our hotel in Springfield, Illinois, and then started driving towards Chicago.
The distance was 203 miles, taking about four and half hours including taking a rest. We used the Interstate-55.
As we got close to Chicago, I could see many green trees and many old houses which seemed more than 100 years old. When we were driving to Chicago, we found a sign for Lincoln’s tomb at a cemetery. So we stopped there.
There was a big Lincoln’s tomb in the massive space with trees and a green lawn. The tomb was a bit like a museum. The funny thing is that there is a statue in front of the grave, and Lincoln’s nose was shining because many people touch his nose.
After we visited Lincoln’s tomb, we kept driving to Chicago and we saw many cornfields in Illinois. Then we arrived in Chicago safely.
Lushly green city Chicago
I felt that I could see many green trees after we left Oklahoma City. Especially, Chicago was much more. And every house has a massive yard with green grass and trees. Also, I was surprised that we could not find any fences around each house. This is what we cannot see in the Los Angeles area. Where is your property? I asked my husband’s friend. He said it is unclear, but nobody complains about it. We were sharing. I felt it is a friendly community and neighborhood.
And one more thing that I was surprised about was each house has many cars like five cars or six cars! I saw many homes which have six or seven cars parked in front of their garage. This scenery we cannot see in the Los Angeles area as well.
Sightseeing in Chicago
We stayed four days from June 25 to 28 in Chicago. I want to introduce you to some great sightseeing spots which we visited this time.
① Cloud Gate
A famous sculpture also knows as The Bean is in the Millennium Park in the middle of Chicago downtown. It was designed by an Indian English man called Anish Kapoor and constructed between 2004 to 2006. He was inspired by liquid mercury, and the sculpture’s surface reflects the city view. The size of it is 33 by 66 by 42 feet, and the weight is about 110 tons.
And also, there is an outdoor concert hall in this park. An artist who designed it is Frank Gehry. He created the Disney Hall in downtown Los Angeles as well.
② Lake Michigan
Chicago is about Lake Michigan. It is one of the five Great Lakes of North America, with the third-largest surface area of 22,404 sq. It is 307 miles long by 118 miles wide, with a shoreline of 1,640 miles long. The average depth is 279ft, the greatest depth is 923ft. “Michigan” is said to be a “great water” a word used by the native tribe of Ojibwe. Drinking water supplies from Lake Michigan to the people who are living Chicago area.
There are many beaches and walking paths around the lake. When we visited Chicago, the weather was rainy and so cold. Unfortunately, we could not swim or do a BBQ there. If the weather was nice, we could enjoy ourselves at the lake—what a shame.
However, the lake was huge. I did not imagine this is not the ocean. It’s a lake. I felt the American continent is so huge.
③ An architecture tour from the boat
There are many tall buildings and old buildings in Chicago downtown. We joined a river cruise tour in which we can hear the explanation of the city’s architecture. On that day, the weather was fine, so it was the perfect day to ride on the boat. A guide explained the specific history of famous buildings. It was exciting, and I learned a lot.
A long time ago, Lake Michigan was dirty and so polluted. So the city changed the water system which the water flows not to the lake, to the river and then the lake was cleaned now. So clean drinking water is supplied to the people who are living Chicago area. I recommend this river cruise tour if you visit Chicago. So you can enjoy the city.
The specific information about the river cruise tour.
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Specialty food in Chicago
Speaking food in Chicago is a hot dog and pizza place, I think. My husband’s friend showed us some tasty restaurants, and we enjoyed it.
① Hot dog and Italian Sandwich
There are many popular hotdog restaurants in Chicago. We went to one of the famous and popular restaurants called Portillo’s. Even though we went there on a weekday evening, it was busy.
We ordered a beer, a Chicago hotdog, an Italian Sandwich, and pork ribs which we shared.
The Chicago-style hotdog is unique. The hot dog is topped with yellow mustard, chopped yellow onions, bright green sweet pickle relish, a dill pickle spear, a slice of tomato, dash of celery salt. It never has ketchup on it. The taste was simple. I love the taste.
And we tasted a sandwich called Italian sandwich. This is another specialty of Chicago food. Dipped with gravy sauce. I tasted a dipping sandwich like a Phillipe’s in Los Angeles. However, the Sandwich, which was immersed in a gravy sauce, was the first to taste. My husband liked it, but for me, it was so-so. Because the bread absorbed the gravy sauce, it made the bread so soft.
The specific restaurant information.
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② Deep-dish Pizza
The other specialty food in Chicago is Pizza. We went to a popular pizza restaurant called Lou Malnati’s.
Chicago-style pizza has several types. We ordered Deep-dish pizza. Deep-dish pizza is baked in an iron skillet pan with a thick pizza crust with cheese and chunky tomato sauce.
The specific information about the restaurant.
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Hotel in Chicago
From June 25 to 28, we stayed at a chain business hotel, Holiday Inn Express. We chose a double Queen size bedroom. It was a big room to use some space to open our big suitcase in the room.
Next, we drove to Buffalo, New York, and Niagra Falls.
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