Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Grant Park

One day last week, I spent almost all day on my bike (with rest stops, of course) riding the lakefront path, around Grant Park, Olive Park, Oak Street Beach, North Avenue Beach, the harbors....

I rode down to the south end of Grant Park, where my love affair with the park and city began some nine years ago.  I would occasionally spend weekends at the Essex Inn, across the street from the Hilton.  They had great rooms with very reasonable rates, an attached restaurant which served good breakfasts and good enough lunches and dinners, a health club and indoor pool, and were across Michigan Avenue from the south end of Grant Park.  And I could hop the free Hilton Hotel shuttle up Michigan Avenue in the winter!

My first searches for a city condo all took place on the south end, the up-and-coming side of the city, which I was assured would have lots and lots of restaurants as soon as the new condo buildings were occupied.  I'm glad I took my time getting to know the city, though, because here we are nine years later and in a housing downturn in the U.S. and although there are lots of new inhabitants on that side of the city, there are still not a lot of new restaurants.  Although, the building along Roosevelt Road is coming along with new stores, a Whole Foods among them.  In the end, after I rented a furnished apartment for four months to make sure I would really like city living, I bought my condo in Streeterville (River East-ish area) north of the park and couldn't be happier with my neighborhood.

But here is where it all started.

(Click photos to enlarge)
The Essex Inn
(and behind it the very first condo building in which I looked at units for sale)

The Hilton next door

South Michigan Avenue

Grant Park's south end across from the Essex Inn

Did you know there was a statue of Lincoln in Grant Park and Ulysses S. Grant in Lincoln Park?

Taking a photo break (not The Bee...this is my hybrid Giant in the city)

Looking northward

Summerdance (free dance lessons and dancing) takes place here

At the very south end of Grant Park is the sculpture Agora, 172 torsos with legs, several meters high, and made out of cast iron by a Polish sculptor. Walk or run through the sculpture, and definitely take photos.

Bonus: one of Chicago's best breakfast/brunch places is more or less across the street -- Yolk! 

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