Sunday, June 1, 2014

Ten Places I'd Like to Visit in Chicago

Chicago has so many attractions to see, so it took a bit of research to see which places I most wanted to visit. Eventually, I narrowed it down to these ten:
Shedd Aquarium
1.    Shedd Aquarium
Once the largest indoor aquarium in the world, it was also the most visited aquarium in the country in 2005 and was the most popular cultural attraction in Chicago in 2007. The aquarium received awards for best exhibit from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums for Amazon Rising in 2001, Wild Reef in 2004, and Seahorse Symphony in 1999. I love sea creatures, especially turtles, and would want to visit a place that houses them.
2.    Willis Tower
One of the tallest buildings in the world, Willis Tower stands at 108 stories and 1,451 feet. Besides space for companies and businesses, its views over Chicago (such as the Skydeck), make it a popular place for tourists to visit. I’d love to visit the thrilling Skydeck and see Chicago from above.
The Tilt
3.      360 Chicago
The fourth tallest building in Chicago, 360 Chicago (formerly known as the John Hancock Center) stands 100 stories, 1,127 feet tall. It houses offices, restaurants, condos, America’s highest indoor swimming pool, the Observatory (an attraction that has Chicago’s only open-air SkyWalk), and a new attraction, the Tilt (a window that extends outwards from 1,000 feet). I’d love to visit just for the thrill of walking on the SkyWalk and tilting over The Magnificent Mile.
4.      The Magnificent Mile
The Magnificent Mile is considered a melting pot of global flavors and offers a variety of restaurants to choose from. Bars, cafés, gourmet and casual restaurants offer American, Italian, Asian, French, Indian cuisine, among others. Eating Chicago’s cheesy-caramel popcorn mix, traditional Chicago hot dogs, and deep dish pizzas at the Magnificent Mile are definitely on my to-do list.  
The Magnificent Mile and the types of food you can eat
5.      The Field Museum of Natural History
One of the largest natural history museums in the world, the Field Museum has diverse, high quality exhibitions feature the earliest fossils, past and current cultures, and interactive programming to demonstrate our present conservation needs. In Chicago, I’d enjoy seeing the museum’s extensive artifact collection.
Navy Pier
6.      Navy Pier
Chicago’s number one tourist attraction, Navy Pier runs 3,300 feet along Lake Michigan. Today, attractions at Navy Pier include sightseeing tours, dinner cruises, fireworks, fairs, expositions, and seasonal festivals. I’ll make it a point to visit Navy Pier when at Chicago, to visit the Chicago Children’s Museum and watch fireworks.
7.      Art Institute of Chicago
An art museum in Grant Park, the Art Institute in Chicago holds Impressionist, American, Asian, and modern art, among others. It is the second largest art museum in the U.S. I’d love to visit to see the various art pieces they hold.
Millennium Park
8.      Millennium Park
Considered the world’s largest rooftop garden, Millennium Park is a public park located in the Loop community area of Chicago. It features several public art and has received awards for its green design and accessibility. After seeing pictures of Millennium Park, I’d love to see the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, the Cloud Gate, and the Crown Fountain, some of the many famous attractions there.
9.      Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum
The mission of America’s first planetarium, the Adler, is to inspire understanding and exploration of the universe. To do so, it has three full size theaters, space science exhibitions, and antique scientific instruments. In 1931 it was given the gold medal of the American Institute of Architects and was named a National Historic Landmark in 1987. After hearing about the Doane Observatory, where people can see planets, stars, and galaxies in person, I’d love to visit.
10.  Cadillac Palace Theatre
Located in the heart of the Theatre district, the Cadillac Palace Theatre shows extremely popular Broadway musicals such asThe Lion King, Les Miserables, and Wicked. The Last Ship and Charlotte’s Web are two shows that will be playing during our stay in Chicago. I hope the Chicago cohort will be able to watch a play or musical there!
The Cadillac Palace Theatre

Northwestern University

Founders John Evans, Orrington Lunt, and Grant Goodrich.

This summer, along with attending the University of Chicago, I will be visiting four different universities with my cohorts. One of the universities that we will be visiting is Northwestern University located in Chicago. Northwestern is a private research university located in Evanston Illinois founded by nine men whose key leaders were John Evans, Orrington Lunt, and Grant Goodrich. These men didn't have much and they all had to work hard to get the support and money needed for the school to run. On January 28, 1851, Northwestern was officially established and they began enrolling students in November 1855.

Northwestern is on a quarter system and what makes it unique is that its students take four courses each quarter except the engineering students who are allowed to take five. Their popular majors include communications/journalism, social science, and engineering while their strongest programs are chemistry, engineering and economics. Economics is definitely something that I would be interested in studying at Northwestern because I am already interested in that area of study and their economics program is considered one of the best.

There are different groups and activities that are available at Northwestern. They seem to be really big on arts groups since they have a choral group, concert band, jazz band, marching band, theater/drama group, film society, and many more of that nature. Northwestern also has a healthy sports community. They are a member of the Big Ten conference playing in Division 1 and their athletic teams are nicknamed the Wildcats. What surprised me the most about Northwestern was that they had not only a rifle team but also a squash team.

A new tradition at Northwestern is the March Through the Arch to welcome new students to campus. The marching band leads all new students on a celebratory walk through The Arch, the symbolic entrance to the University. New students are welcomed by current students and faculty who line the pathway to cheer and welcome them. I really like this tradition a lot because going to college is a really big step for anybody and that can scare some people, this is a perfect way to make the new students feel welcomed at their new school. 
The March Through the Arch

I am really excited to visit Northwestern University over the summer. I hope that we will get the opportunity to hear firsthand from the students what their experience at Northwestern has been like. Least appealing to me is their quarter system but that might be because I’m so used to a semester schedule like we have at El Cerrito High. Hopefully we get to meet some students who can share their experiences with the quarter schedule. 

Ten Places to go in Chicago

The Navy Pier

I researched some places I would like to visit while in Chicago and I found myself getting more and more excited to leave. The city has so much history and culture, and I can't wait to experience it. Here are ten places I hope to make it to while I am back east.

1. Navy Pier - Technically, this is not just one place to go because there are so many things to do within the pier, but I suspect I will be visiting the pier quite a few times while I am in Chicago for the three weeks. The Navy Pier has fireworks on Wednesday and Saturday nights, as well as a huge Ferris wheel, a musical carousel, and other rides. Many events take place at the pier. For example, there are boat shows and flower shows at the pier. 

2. The Sears Tower (Willis Tower) - Willis Tower, which is still commonly known as Sears Tower, is one attraction of Chicago that I am really looking forward to. Specifically, I cannot wait to go to the sky deck and look out on Chicago from the glass balcony. Willis Tower is the eighth tallest tower in the world right now, and until 1998, was the tallest building in the United States.

By the Water, Renoir (1880)
3. Art Institute of Chicago - Since my Dad is a painter, I have always been surrounded by visual art, and if I go to the Art Institute of Chicago, I will be able to see so many of the original paintings I have seen pictures of my entire life. Some of the artists that are in the permanent collection at the Institute are Renoir, Picasso, Van Gogh, Gauguin, and so many more. The museum also has architecture and sculptures. The Art Institute of Chicago is the largest art museum in the United States besides the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

4. John G. Shedd Aquarium - I cannot even remember the last time I visited an aquarium. This aquarium sounds fantastic from what I have found out about it so far because of the variety of exhibits it has. One exhibit in particular sounds really interesting to me, which is the Amazon exhibit. This exhibit is a re-creation of sorts of the Amazon rivers and has many of the same species, including anacondas, piranhas, and stingrays. I have always been interested in animals and biology, which is also why I wanted to go the this next place…

5. Lincoln Park Zoo - Zoos are a lot of fun, and this one even has free admissions, so it sounds like even more fun now. There are about 1,000 animals and 200 species.

6. Montrose Avenue Beach - This is just one of many beaches in Chicago, but it appealed to me because many people consider it the premier beach of Chicago. Lots of people play beach volleyball there, and people can bike or walk around the area. There are also lifeguards, and places to grab a bite to eat, so it sounds like a really nice to place to spend an afternoon.

A Sunny Day at the Montrose Ave. Beach

7. Lou Malnati's Pizzeria - If I am going to Chicago, I cannot come back without trying some Chicago-style deep dish pizza. This restaurant's food looked delicious, and trying Chicago cuisine is a must.

8. Tuesdays on the Terrace - At the Museum of Contemporary Arts, on Tuesdays, there are jazz concerts and dinner. This is definitely an event that I want to get to eventually because jazz is such an important part of Chicago's culture and history. 

9. Millennium Park Summer Film Series - On Tuesday nights, for free, many people in Chicago gather at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion to watch movies outside one the grass. There is an advanced sound system and a huge screen. The movies that will be playing while my cohort and I will be there are O Brother Where Art Thou? , Field of Dreams, and This is Spinal Tap. I hope I make it to the pavilion at least once while I'm there.

10. Garfield Park Conservatory - I am usually not super interested in things like botany, but I saw pictures of the conservatory, and it was just beautiful, and I would love to be able to see it while I am in Chicago.