Our first mission, the Selfie Project in Chicago explored the traveler vs. tourist experience. Upon receiving a list of Chicago’s historical landmarks, I chose my top 9. In addition to the landmarks, a selfie with a stranger was assigned. My selfie stick and I began our exploration in Chinatown, then the loop, and ended at Wrigley Field’s Stadium. In Chicago, my hometown of 20 years, I felt like a traveler. I’m looking forward to experiencing the Selfie Project in Barcelona, where the foreign surroundings will most definitely make me feel like a tourist!
My early morning began in Chinatown, located on Ceramic and Wentworth Avenue. Growing up, my sister and I would spend hours in Chinatown’s shops playing with anime action figures and looking through Manga comic books. Pikachu, I choose you! Before heading to the loop, my friend and I stopped by a Chinese bakery for breakfast. We indulged in red bean buns, sesame seed pastries and egg tarts.
Our next stop was the Bronze Cow located in front of the Chicago Cultural Center on Washington and Michigan Avenue. I was surprised when I found hidden details within the sculpture. One of the cows eyes shows a reflection of the historic Water Tower while the other eye shows the Chicago Picasso sculpture.
While heading west to the next two landmarks, my friend and I noticed a homeless man on the intersection of Washington and State Street. He had three different art pieces on display, all drawn in sharpie markers. One of his pieces particularly stood out to me, it captured Chicago’s skyline and a train. I complemented his work and proceeded to ask him to share his story. While drawing on his note pad (shown in the picture above), Kevo, born and raised in Chicago, described his previous life working as a tattoo artist. He ran into a series of unfortunate events which led him traveling across the United States as homeless. My friend purchased Kevo’s memorable skyline piece and we thanked him by buying him a McDonald’s meal.
At the heart of Daley Plaza and Chicago’s Loop stands The Picasso. This sculpture, untitled by the artist Pablo Picasso stands at 50 feet tall. It made me feel tiny! Picasso never explained what the sculpture is meant to represent. To me, It looks like a greyhound.
Our next stop, Miros Chicago, originally named The Sun, The Moon and One Star was first unveiled in 1981. This statue, representing a female figure attracts many tourists in Chicago. She is known as Miss Chicago.
Am I lost in a selfie wonderland? As we approached the heart of Millennium Park’s Cloud Gate, commonly known as The Bean, many individuals had their devices out for selfie-taking purposes. The Bean is no doubt one of the most popular tourist landmarks in Chicago. The artist, Anish Kapoor wanted to capture Chicago’s Skyline in the reflection of the Cloud Gate.
Located in Grant Park, The Art Institute of Chicago and its iconic lions is one of the oldest and largest art museums in the United States. I have visited the Art Institute on many occasions like high school field trips and free admission days. My favorite part of the Art Institute is the Modern Wing.
Next up, we walked east towards Lake Shore Drive, and arrived at Grant Park’s Buckingham Fountain. The beautiful seahorses placed on all sides of the fountain, (seen in the left side of the photo) were built to represent Lake Michigan. Each of the horses represents the four states that border the lake; Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin. The Buckingham Fountain holds 1.5 million gallons of water. Amazing, right? My favorite view of the fountain is in the evening when the water is illuminated by a beautiful array of colorful lights. The Buckingham Fountain brings back memories from my high school prom, Lollapalooza, The Color Run and many more events.
Sahar, the African lion, said “nope” to my selfie. Founded in 1868, Lincoln Park Zoo is one of the few zoos in the United States that offers free admission to the public. The Kovler Lion House, located in the center and near the entrance of the zoo, was first built in 1912 and was renovated in 1992. Growing up, Lincoln Park Zoo was my family’s favorite place to spend time. We would spend almost every weekend exploring all the different exhibits. There are about 1,100 animals that live here, totaling around 200 species. Currently, my favorite exhibit is the Regenstein Small Mammal-Reptile House.
For our final destination, we drove to Chicago’s north side. On the way to Wrigleyville, we got stuck in a thunderstorm, typical Chicago weather! Thankfully, the rain cleared out just in time for a sunny selfie. As you may know, the Cubs won the 2016 World Series which ended a 108-year World Series drought, the longest occurrence in all major North American sports. Go Cubs, Go! I have yet to attend a Cubs game at Wrigley Field and would love to experience a concert there this summer.
// ALL PHOTOGRAPHS ARE EDITED //
// A special Thank You to Jacob for joining me on this adventure //