Day 1 – Manchester to Chicago

We flew from Manchester airport to Chicago via Frankfurt, arriving at our hotel – the Sheraton Grand Hotel – in the late afternoon.  As it was already getting dark and the temperature was about -17ºC, we were not encouraged to go out exploring.  Instead we waited in the hotel until dinner, then went in search of a restaurant.  As it was so cold, we headed into the first one we passed – the Bellwether Meeting House, which fortunately was rather good.  On the way back to the hotel we noticed plumes of steam from the tops of the skyscrapers, so despite the cold we headed out with tripods for some night photography, photographing the Trump Tower (at 1388ft the second highest in Chicago) and the NBC Tower just across the road from our hotel.

Day 2 – Millennium Park and The Adler Planetarium

The weather today was clear and bright, but very cold at about -17ºC.  Despite the cold, we decided to visit Millennium Park, then continue through Grant Park beside Lake Michigan to reach the Adler Planetarium.  The main attractions in Millennium Park are the Jay Pritzker Pavilion and Cloud Gate (also known as The Bean) a large mirrored sculpture in the shape of a bean.  Given the very cold weather there were not many people about – we saw a few people at The Bean, but the rest of the park was deserted.

When we reached the lakeside, there was lots of ice created by moisture from the lake freezing on any surface.  We were glad to warm up in the planetarium where there were numerous interesting exhibits and we also saw a show on recent discoveries in the outer solar system.  The planetarium is located on a promontory jutting into Lake Michigan, so gives fine views of the Chicago skyline.  After some lunch, we returned to the hotel walking back along the lake side, but by this time the sky had become overcast, so was not good for photography.  In the evening we went out for a pizza at Giordano’s Restaurant.

Day 3 – Navy Pier, Museum of Contemporary Art and The Hancock Tower

The weather today was very similar to the previous day – starting off clear and very cold, then closing in later in the day, with a bit of snow falling in the evening.  First thing in the morning we decided to visit Navy Pier for more views of the Chicago skyline.  It was very quiet outside of the pier buildings, but quite busy inside.  The views of the frozen lake backed by the Chicago skyscrapers reminded us of the film The Day After Tomorrow.  After Navy Pier we visited the Museum of Contemporary Art.  We didn’t really understand a lot of the exhibits, but the museum had an interesting stairwell. Finally we went up the John Hancock Tower to the 360 Observation deck for views over the city, but by this time the weather was turning quite murky, so not brilliant for photography.  As we returned to our hotel along the main shopping street Michigan Avenue, it started snowing quite heavily, so we decided to eat at the steakhouse in our hotel rather than brave the weather in the evening.

>> Next Day:  Bozeman, Montana