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Chicago’s Riverwalk–Chicago’s Second Waterfront

Chicago Riverwalk
Chicago Riverwalk

People who follow my blog DesignDestinations.org probably know that I get to Chicago a couple of times a year and try to find something new to see and do each time. Recently I had less than 24 hours in the city, but managed to experience something I hadn’t done before and would recommend.

The Chicago Riverwalk

While not new to Chicago, the charming and recently extended promenade along the south shore of the Chicago River was a revelation to me. I’m glad I discovered it.

Chicago Riverwalk
Chicago Riverwalk

The mile plus long walk goes from Lake Street all the way to Lake Shore Drive. While we often see the river from the bridges, out of tall buildings or maybe on an architectural boat tour, strolling along the river, following the bends and curves and under the bridges is a lovely “walk in the park” in a big city.

Chicago Riverwalk
Chicago Riverwalk

Unfortunately the day I had in April to enjoy Chicago wasn’t a sunny one, but even so, it was a lovely respite from the crazy busy atmosphere on the streets above. It reminded me in a funny way of the High Line in NYC. Instead of being a narrow strolling park up high, it is below the level of the streets with lots to look at on either side.

Most major north-south streets have access to the Riverwalk with lots of places to sit and enjoy the view.

Chicago Riverwalk
Chicago Riverwalk

If you meander on down to the Riverwalk, this is what you might see.

Fun spots to have a drink or bite to eat. I was particularly intrigued with the plastic igloos, set up to enjoy the RiverWalk on a cold day.

Artists. Runners. Dog walkers. Viet Nam Memorial.

Chicago Riverwalk
Chicago Riverwalk

 

Chicago Riverwalk
Chicago Riverwalk
Viet Nam Memorial
Viet Nam Memorial
Viet Nam Memorial
Viet Nam Memorial

Lots of water traffic. Water Taxi’s. Tour boats. It’s possible to rent a boat—electric or kayak.

Chicago Riverwalk
Chicago Riverwalk
Chicago Riverwalk
Chicago Riverwalk
Chicago Riverwalk
Chicago Riverwalk
Chicago Riverwalk
Chicago Riverwalk

Interesting scenes under the bridges. This part of the walk way made me think of the Bean in Millennium park. I often go there to photograph the reflections.

Chicago Riverwalk
Chicago Riverwalk
Chicago Riverwalk
Chicago Riverwalk

 

A spot to enjoy an Island atmosphere. While pretty much deserted on the day I was there, I can only imagine how fun this would be on a hot summer day.

Chicago Riverwalk
Chicago Riverwalk
Chicago Riverwalk
Chicago Riverwalk

I was intrigued to see floating gardens. While not planted when I was there, they will be filled with vegetation soon. This brought to my mind an interesting comparison to the Floating Gardens of Inle Lake. If you have’t heard of these gardens in Myanmar, here’s a blog post to read about them. INLE LAKE: Quite unlike anyplace you’ve ever seen. 

Chicago Riverwalk
Chicago Riverwalk
Chicago Riverwalk
Chicago Riverwalk

So, I think there are a few things missing or not yet developed. Spring planting for one. Compare this Riverwalk flower bed with the photo of the tulips on Michigan Avenue. I hope the beautification of the major thoroughfare in Chicago continues on the river.
And art work.

Chicago Riverwalk
Chicago Riverwalk
Michigan Avenue, Chicago
Michigan Avenue, Chicago

 

The only pieces of Art I saw were some delicate blue translucent fish hanging from some small trees. Easy to miss. I’d love to see an ode to comic characters like ones in the Kowloon Park in Hong Kong. Check this blog post out to see if you agree. I think they’d make everyone smile. Giggling in Hong Kong. 

Chicago Riverwalk
Chicago Riverwalk

To create my own art, I took this photo of a drain cover. Rather artistic in its’ own way.

Chicago Riverwalk
Chicago Riverwalk

I loved this tall building near the West end of the walk. I’d like to return to catch it with a glowing sunset as a backdrop. Wouldn’t that be stunning?

Chicago Riverwalk
Chicago Riverwalk
Post Author
Susan J. Smith
Susan's career includes writing for newspapers, lots of community work and a wonderful family life. Now she is enjoying traveling, photography and writing for DesignDestinations and Grand Rapids Magazine. She welcomes you on her journey and appreciates your comments.

Comments

6 Comments
  1. posted by
    peggydepersia
    May 29, 2017 Reply

    really enjoyed this post and the associations you made with the various images you encountered. I think it is often the ‘connections’ that add richness to the things we notice and see.

    • posted by
      smithsj
      May 29, 2017 Reply

      Thank you Peggy, I appreciate your comment and noticing my ‘connections’ to other places and experiences. Hope you will be able to do the Chicago Riverwalk with your new grand child before very long.

  2. posted by
    Margaret Idema
    May 29, 2017 Reply

    I’ll have to try the Riverwalk in Chicago when we go to hear James Taylor in Wrigley Stadium in July. We’ll have a day and a half to wander around. Your photography seems to be enhanced by your natural curiosity in the things you see around you…or maybe it’s the symbiosis of the two. Always love reading your blogs!

    • posted by
      smithsj
      May 30, 2017 Reply

      Thanks, Margaret, for your comment. I so appreciate it when friends and blog readers express their thoughts in the comment section of DesignDestinations.org. I do hope you get a chance to meander the Riverwalk when you are in the Windy City in July. My guess is that it will be a very different experience on a hot summer day. All good. It’s really a nice enhancement of the River in Chicago.

  3. posted by
    Kathy
    May 30, 2017 Reply

    It always amazes me how you can take a walk for a few minutes and find such fun and interesting things to photograph. Your blogs have helped me to be much more curious about my surroundings and notice details I would otherwise overlook. Thank you for that!!!!

    • posted by
      smithsj
      May 31, 2017 Reply

      Thank you, Kathy, I’m glad you enjoy my blogs. I think I love photography because it does get me to slow down and look around. Notice the details. So much to see and enjoy in our world.

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