Chicago – December 2017 – A Cold Holiday Week

While our visit to Chicago for Christmas wrapped up as one of the coldest ever, it was fantastic. The lights and scenes of the city made being bundled up against the cold worthwhile.

A quick drive over to Burnham Park gave a seasonal perspective of the classic skyline view, minus the boats, but with frozen water instead.

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The Tribune Tower’s Nathan Hale statue was decked out for the season.

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A different view – the Willis (aka Sears) Tower looking north.

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With the extreme cold Lake Michigan iced over in the just few days we were there.

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Meanwhile up at Wrigley Field they had set up a Christmas Market, complete with an ice rink.

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Our final evening was spent walking along the (now frozen as well) Chicago River.

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And a walk along the Magnificent Mile.

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Chicago – December 2017 – Christmas Sunset

Christmas Day in Chicago, 2017 was a cold one, with temperatures near 10 Fahrenheit.  But it was mostly clear, with a beautiful sunset coming, so it was time to go back up the John Hancock Tower.

 

From here you had a great view of the snow covered, empty Navy Pier.

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The marina in Lincoln Park is vacant as well.

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But as the sun set the lights came on.

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Looking back toward the Navy Pier and Lake Michigan. Of note in the far distance top center is a bright light. One of the steel mills in northern Indiana was having a ‘burn off’ of gases causing what is known locally as the Pilot Light of Northwestern Indiana.

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The view southwest toward the Willis Tower (aka – Sears Tower) and beyond.

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The view down Michigan Avenue as the darkness approached from the east.

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The beautiful Wrigley Building. Built in 1920 as the first large office building north of the river, it continues to be one of the most majestic in the city.

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Chicago – October 2017 – Open House Chicago – Part 1

Open House Chicago is an annual event where over 200 buildings open up for free tours. Most of the buildings aren’t normally even open to visitors, so it is even more special to get to see inside.

We spent two very long days touring as many as possible.

 

Our first stop was the Federal Reserve Bank, where they have a money museum.

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Next door is the Chicago Board of Trade, featuring a large vault in the basement housing safe deposit boxes, including one was used by Al Capone.

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The lobby of the Board of Trade Building is magnificent.

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Further up South LaSalle Street we were able to go up to a 22nd floor outdoor seating area of a financial firm.

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The lobby of 231 South LaSalle Street is very ornate, although cluttered with the Cubs ‘W’ flag because of the playoffs.

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One of the few lines we encountered was at the famed Rookery Building. On this day we could go up to the spiral staircase.

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The view from below leading up the staircase is equally impressive.

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The lobby at 1 North LaSalle Street continues with the Art Deco style of most of the buildings on the street,

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Another basement, another safe deposit section. This one was massive.

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One of the newest buildings is 150 North Riverside, with it’s tapered bottom.

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The position of 150 North Riverside at the corner of the branches of the Chicago River offered great views in all directions.

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Back on the ground for a panorama of the area.

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The Builders Building also has a great lobby.

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The Michigan Avenue lift bridge was open with views of the gears and the opportunity to go up to the tower.

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Chicago – October 2017 – Open House Chicago – Part 2

Part two of the tour starts at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. The tour indicated you could go on stage, which I was expecting a large concrete pad. Instead it was a beautiful wood stage with the risers for the orchestra behind it.

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Outside was the famed curved metal of the pavilion.

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Not officially part of the tour we went past the tourists at the Bean.

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The Maclean Center Grand Ballroom is the home of an art school.

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The famed Railway Exchange Building had an architectural firm open on the fifth floor, giving a rare view above the skylights.

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Along with a nice view of Millennium Park.

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111 West Monroe Street was the home of another architectural firm who had some great models that they have designed and built.

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Yet another firm down the street in the National Building had a visually interesting work on the entrance wall.

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While not open we passed by the Sears Tower (now Willis Tower)

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Also not officially part of the tour, but always open and interesting is Union Station.

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Our final stop in the Ravenswood neighborhood is the Ravenswood Events Center. Once a sign factory someone has purchased it and restored it to show off their exotic cars.

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Victoria, BC – September 2017 – Views of the City

A day and night in Victoria, British Columbia.

BC Parliament Building

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Totem Poles at the BC Museum

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Yachts and water taxis in Victoria Harbor

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The coastline along the Strait of Juan De Fuca.

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A cricket game in Beacon Hill Park

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More Canadian palm trees in the same park.

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More harbor action.

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On our way to Port Angeles, Washington and Olympic National Park – which we could easily see from Victoria almost 50 miles away.

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A perfect ending to a week in Canada.

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Vancouver – September 2017 – Views of the City

Vancouver is Canada’s 3rd largest city, and with height limits on skyscrapers has numerous fairly tall ones, without the massively tall buildings blocking views of the mountains.

In addition it is a center for cruise ships heading to Alaska. Personally I have no desire to be on a boat with 3000 other people.

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The harbor has steady seaplane traffic

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The harbor front area is lined with condo buildings.

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The Olympic Cauldron

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8 Bit Orca

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One of the cruise ships going under the Lions Gate Bridge.

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An evening view from the ‘Vancouver Lookout’ observation deck.

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