Chicago is My Kind of Town…

I recently visited Chicago for a short three-day vacation. I found the city to be one of the loveliest and friendliest metropolises that I’ve ever been to. The architecture which everyone touted to me beforehand, did not disappoint.

I thought I would include here some of my favourite buildings- including some unique furniture stores that all we can do is covet up here in Canada 🙂 The juxtaposition of old and new is everywhere in Chicago and can be viewed perfectly from the water.

Here is a favourite shot which shows off this mix of old and new perfectly:

Chicago skyline

Chicago skyline

In terms of old buildings, there is no shortage. One of the few that outlasted even the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, which wiped out the majority of downtown, is the Water Tower. It was constructed between 1867 and 1869 by William W. Boyington, one of Chicago’s most prolific architects of the mid-nineteenth century.

Water Tower

Water Tower

Then there were the lovely buildings built in the early 20th century that currently house the Merchandise Mart and Bloomingdale’s Home. The Merchandise Mart is the world’s largest commercial building, wholesale design center and one of Chicago’s premier international business locations. Encompassing 4.2 million gross square feet, The Mart spans two city blocks and rises 25 stories. Bloomingdale’s Home was originally called the Medinah Temple and was built in 1912. Among other things, it housed the annual Shrine circus. It is a colorful Islamic-looking building replete with pointed domes and is an example of Moorish Revival architecture.

Bloomingdales Home

Bloomingdale’s Home

Merchandise Mart

Merchandise Mart

Here are the two most recognizable modern masterpieces in Chicago- also the two tallest towers: The former Sears Tower (now called Willis Tower) and the John Hancock Tower. They both come in around 100 stories (110 stories for Willis and 100 for Hancock) and have observation decks up top. We only managed to go up the Hancock tower, but at night it was resplendent!

Willis (formerly Sears) Tower

Willis (formerly Sears) Tower in the background

John Hancock Tower

John Hancock Tower

Then there are just some cool buildings. This is one of my favourites nicknamed the Corncobs building 🙂 It houses apartments, parking and a dock for boats underneath.

Corncobs building

Corncobs building

Being an interior decorator I’m always keeping my eyes open for cool retailers that we don’t have here in Toronto. I loved the store called Room& Board- hope it makes it north of the border some time soon!

Room & Board

Room & Board

And lastly, there was a unique pop-up HGTV store that we encountered… which will be coming to a US city near you soon. All your favourite HGTV items can be viewed in the store and then purchased online under http://www.hgtvhome.com.

HGTV Home Pop-up Store

I highly recommend a visit to the Windy City for the beautiful architecture, great shopping, food and countless other neat things.