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.
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.
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.
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.
Lots of water traffic. Water Taxi’s. Tour boats. It’s possible to rent a boat—electric or kayak.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
To create my own art, I took this photo of a drain cover. Rather artistic in its’ own way.
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?