While I’ve lived in Chicagoland for two decades, only now am I acting as a tourist in my own city, packing in the many hotspots around town in a timeframe of just a few hours. The urban experience would not be fulfilled without visiting the many public attractions offered in The Loop of downtown Chicago including landmarks of Millennium Park along with the works of public art scattered throughout the city blocks. This adventure is just the beginning of what I will taste as a visitor in Barcelona. The trip will encompass a similar type of hotspot tracking with 0% of the familiarity of my hometown.
There’s no better way to begin this selfie adventure than to stop at arguably the most famous tourist spot in Chicago, the Cloud Gate, more commonly known as The Bean, in Millennium Park. Proof of its popularity is seen in the diverse set of visitors that snap their own photos every day, and especially humorous is the person near the right side of the image holding up not one but two peace signs, which is a message that resonates with me.
While waiting for a fellow classmate to join me on this selfie adventure, I approach two friendly girls in Millennium Park who are exploring the city in celebration of Sanjana’s (left) 20th birthday with friend Bhargavi (right). Not pictured is Sanjana’s bright pink gift bag with white polka dots that initially caught my eye.
Sunny summer days are perfect for visiting Grant Park’s Buckingham Fountain, one of the largest fountains in the world. Its great scale caused difficulty in capturing the entire fountain in the photo, and the sunny day caused difficulty in keeping my eyes wide open as well.
Another must-see destination for tourists is the Art Institute of Chicago, which is one of the oldest and largest art museums in the country. While it is open every day of the week, I have only ever toured the museum on its free-for-residents Thursdays. Seen in the photo is one of the two bronze lions that greet the museum’s visitors.
In the heart of downtown Chicago sits Alexander Calder’s Flamingo, a bright red abstract sculpture that is hard to miss. Due to its height, I stood atop a 4-foot-tall granite block across the street to capture an adequate amount of the Flamingo in this photo.
Nestled between a few skyscrapers is Miró’s Chicago, yet another abstract work of public art in The Loop. I could not help but feel overwhelmed at this site since I was closely surrounded by towering buildings that were hundreds of times taller than me.
Next to me is a more realistic sculpture, the Bronze Cow. In the cow’s eyes are reflections of two other famous Chicago landmarks. Seen in the image is its right eye depicting the Old Chicago Water Tower, an area where I absolutely love to shop when I have the funds to support such activity. Out of view is the cow’s left eye with a reflection of the next site, The Picasso.
Here in Daley Plaza, one of the few plazas in the city, lies an untitled sculpture by Pablo Picasso locally known as simply The Picasso. To my initial disappointment, a food truck is seen parked right in front of the sculpture. However, I now appreciate its presence as a true representation of urban food convenience where convenience may compromise health.
On one of my first days as a UIC student I decided to go on a spontaneous adventure downtown with a new friend. We got off the Madison stop of the Blue Line, became lost, and ended up right here in Chase Tower Plaza, home to Marc Chagall’s Four Seasons. We took photos together at this large four-sided mosaic, and little did we know that the moment would be the beginning of our relationship as roommates, supporters, and best friends.
The last stop of this selfie adventure calls for a 30 minute train ride north via the Red Line to see the famous sign of Wrigley Field Stadium, home of the Chicago Cubs, one of the most beloved baseball teams in the country and recent World Series champions. At this point of the trip it began to rain intensely, which is quite fitting for me considering I’m more of a Sox fan anyways.