Apr 1, 2010 12:00 PM
Feast on pizza, jazz, skyscrapers, museums, or the Cubs
CHICAGO is known as The City That Works, a tag promoted by Mayor Richard M Daley that refers to Chicago's labor tradition and the long hours worked by its residents.
But when you're not working at the National Tank Truck Carriers' 62nd Annual Conference & Tank Truck Equipment Show May 10-12, you're going to want to play. Thankfully, Chicago is a city where they also know the value of leisure.
Conference attendees will be staying at the Chicago Marriott Magnificent Mile, which is located, yes, on The Magnificent Mile, the northern part of Michigan Avenue between the Chicago River and Lake Shore Drive that is Chicago's version of the Champs-Elys้es. It's a grand, wide boulevard featuring exclusive shops, museums, upscale hotels, and restaurants.
All the big names in shopping are here, including Bloomingdales, Saks Fifth Avenue, Disney, Apple, and Niketown. The wide sidewalks are often adorned with well-tended flowerbeds in May, there will be hundreds of thousands of vibrant tulips and floral-themed activities, including tulip bulb give-away and the display of Tulipa Maggie Daley, a tulip named after Chicago's First Lady, Maggie Daley.
The Magnificent Mile is home to architectural landmarks such as John Hancock Center, a 100-story-tall residential skyscraper. The tower, situated at the northern end of the avenue, attracted other large buildings, including the nearby Water Tower Place (1976), a tower with more than 100 shops, theaters and restaurants.
The oldest building along The Magnificent Mile is the Old Water Tower, built in 1869 with a castle style of architecture that looks a bit out of place in this modern high-rise district. One of the few survivors of the Chicago Great Fire in 1871, the building symbolizes Chicago's resilience. It faced demolition several times in 1906, 1918, and 1948 but preservationists won out.
In 1920, when Michigan Avenue was widened to create a thoroughfare able to cope with the growing traffic and connect the street with Pine Street across the Chicago River, the Michigan Avenue bridge was built a striking bascule bridge modeled on the Pont Alexandre III in Paris. Then came the Drake Hotel at the northern end and the now-famous Wrigley building at the southern end.
Those who want to venture off The Magnificent Mile will find magic in the Navy Pier the Midwest's top tourist destination and its boardwalk, 150-foot Ferris wheel, boat, and segway tours. Millennium Park offers music, art, landscape design, and architecture including the mammoth stainless-steel Cloud Gate sculpture plus splashing around in the interactive Crown Fountain and alfresco dining.
There are guided tours (on foot or aboard a Chicago River boat, lakeshore cruise, or sightseeing bus) and breathtaking, birds-eye views from the 103rd floor of Skydeck Chicago in the Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) and the 94th floor of Hancock Observatory.
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