Monday, June 14, 2010

Chicago - June 2010

I had the opportunity to visit Chicago last week to attend the Internet Retailer Conference. The conference was for 4 days, and I had a day before and after to do a bit of sight-seeing (and shopping!).

The highlight of the trip was the architecture boat cruise organised by the Chicago Architecture Foundation. The 90 minute cruise on Chicago river is accompanied by a detailed commentary pointing out all the outstanding modern architecture of Chicago. The best views out to the city skyline were provided when the boat headed towards Lake Michigan.

I also managed to visit the Skydeck located on the 103rd floor of the Willis Tower, more popularly known as the Sears Tower. This is the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, and is possibly the highest I will ever get on a man-made structure. There is a glass ledge on this floor that protrudes out of the building and from where one can look straight to the street, over 400 metres below!

Some of the other notable sights I managed to take in were the 'Bean' and 'Pritzker Pavilion' in Millennium Park.

The Bean is a sculpture by British artist Anish Kapoor called 'Cloud Gate'. Made of stainless steel, visitors can see their reflections on the sculpture wth Chicago's skyscrapers as their background. It does a wonderful job of integrating the viewer into the Chicago landscape, and is a very popular attraction.

The Pritzker Pavilion is a large, open air auditorium, with excellent acoustics provided by the speakers placed all over the stainless steel trellis that covers the large area that can seat up to 11,000 people. There was a free, West African music concert happening when I was at the pavilion, and I was able to experience the acoustics first-hand.

This was my second trip to the US, following my trip to San Jose and San Francisco in California 6 years ago. Chicago is a very different city to these two, but I was happy to be back in Sydney again!

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