Chicago is one of the most beautiful cities in the United States. It is a treasure of the Midwest with its gorgeous setting along Lake Michigan. Having visited most comparable cities, I think Chicago's skyline rivals almost any other in the country, especially because of its reflective position on the water.
A great focus for any tour of Chicago is its architecture. Chicago is known for its artistic design, especially in the modern world. Historic Chicago was largely destroyed by fire in 1871, so most of Chicago's prominent buildings date after that year. Therefore, one of Chicago's most notable structures might be its historic water tower along the Magnificent Mile shopping district. It was built in 1869 and was one of the only structures to survive the fire. The Magnificent Mile is otherwise an exciting and extremely modern business district with upscale designer boutiques and world class dining.
Another great architectural reason to tour Chicago is in order to visit the Sears Tower. Is it still the world's tallest building? You probably know this depends on whom you ask. But for all intents and purposes, the Sears Tower is still the world's tallest, habitable building. If you must specify further in order to win the pool at work, call it the world's tallest "office building".
The James R. Thompson building, which is often called the State Building in Chicago will still further impress your artistic eye. This building not only has a unique rounded design, it is also almost completely glass enclosed even to its glass-paneled ceiling.
The John Hancock Center has won architectural awards for its unique cross-bracing exterior that allows for more office space within. This building also provides one of the most fabulous observatories in the city. It is open air, which means you're about to discover exactly why they call Chicago the Windy City. It also includes innovative "sound scopes" with chirping birds and cheering crowds that give the viewer the impression of actually being in the attractions at which they are taking a closer view.
If the amazing architecture in Chicago inspires further study into the art of building design, then you won't want to miss the Frank Lloyd Wright landmark. It includes the home and studio from which he lived and worked for the first twenty years of his prestigious architectural career. Frank Lloyd Wright believed that well-designed buildings make a difference in our lives. Talk about a passion for your profession! From Chicago and beyond in his career, Wright went on to design more than 500 buildings that were completed and approximately 500 more never built.
Chicago, like many cities near the water, offers harbor cruises for its site-seeing tours. And because of its distinctive prominence in the world of design, some of these tours are specifically called architectural cruises. They predominantly navigate the Chicago River with expert guides pointing out the most notable of Chicago's skyscrapers and structures.
There are several great photo ops in Chicago to commemorate your architectural finds. Either the Sears Tower or the Hancock observatories will of course provide the best bird's eye views of this amazing city, and a cruise from the water would offer a unique perspective for your tourist's album. One extremely distinctive photo op, though, is offered on dry land, quite near the ground.
In 1999, artist Anish Kapoor's sculpture idea was chosen from several designs for a prominent place in Chicago's Millennium Park. This park holds the famous Jay Pritzker Pavilion with its state-of-the-art outdoor sound system and concert venue. And in this park stands the unique photo opportunity in the amazing sculpture by Kapoor. Often called "the bean", the stainless steel structure is curved to reflect the Chicago skyline. It's a unique - although popular - new way to capture this amazing city on film.
Whether you do it from the sky, the water, or the ground, you will want to capture somehow the skyline and beautiful architecture of Chicago, Illinois. Once you've seen it up close, the photographs will be a meaningful addition to your collection.