Since I wasn't in any hurry to get to Nicole's, I took the leisurely option of getting there. As you know, there are highways that get you into and out of the city. Those are usually the fastest and most direct ways. There are, however, the regular streets that people took back in the days when there were not fast-moving highways. The most scenic way to get from the northern suburbs to Lake Shore Drive (Chicago's outermost highway that runs alongside Lake Michigan and has breathtaking views) is Sheridan Road.
Aside from the 30 mile-per-hour speed limit (48.28 km per hour) and one lane of traffic most of the way down, Sheridan Road is a relaxing and pleasant experience. The traffic is never bad, and the views are stunning. Here, you see some of the most expensive real estate in the United States piled onto one long winding road. There are endless amounts of lakefront mansions (some with servants quarters still intact, now converted into guest houses), beautiful ravines, and landmarks such as the snowy white Baha'i Temple (one of the seven in the world) and the Northwestern University campus. The road finally takes you to uninterrupted views of the beach, and then you quietly leave the suburb of Evanston and enter Chicago. From there, you drive another 10-15 minutes until you reach Lake Shore Drive.
I also want to inform you that Lake Michigan is one of the five Great Lakes, and it does not look like a little pond. This may seem obvious to some people, but I have also spoken to people who have no idea of its enormity. For starters, it is surrounded by four states: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin. It's 307 miles long (494 km) and 118 miles wide (190 km). Twelve million people live among its shores. It doesn't seem so small now, does it? People think of lakes being very small, but when you see Lake Michigan for the first time, it looks like you are staring into an ocean. (Source)
Wendella Architectural Boat Tour
Obviously, she neglected to tell me. But that didn't make me any less excited! The weather was perfect, and I hadn't been on a Chicago boat tour since I went with my math class in high school.
We walked to Lake Shore Drive and grabbed a bus downtown. Then, we walked a few blocks down Michigan Avenue until we reached the river and Wendella Boat Tours.
On the Chicago flag, there are three white stripes (represent the North, South and West sides of the city) and two blue stripes (the top represents Lake Michigan and the north branch of the Chicago River, and the bottom represents the south branch of the Chicago River and the Great Canal*.) There are also four stars. They stand for Fort Dearborn, the Great Chicago Fire, the World's Colombian Exposition of 1893 and the Century of Progress Exposition of 1933-1934. (Source)
*The Great Canal connects the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River. It made it possible back in the day to travel by boat from New York to New Orleans. It made Chicago a major trading capital.
- Navy Pier is the largest tourist attraction in Illinois.
- The ferris wheel was built in honor of the original structure built by George Ferris for the 1893 World's Colombian Exposition in Chicago.
- Navy's Pier's wheel is considerably smaller than the original, which was built to rival the famous Eiffel Tower. The original ferris wheel was 264 feet tall (80.4 meters) and had 36 cars that fit up to 60 people per car. Navy Pier's wheel is 150 feet tall (45.72 meters).
Another fact: we dye our river green for St Patrick's Day! Talk about a fun city!
It was nearly 8 pm by the time we finished, and we were famished. We went to a nearby restaurant called Lawry's. If you like prime rib, this is your place!
The menu was very limited, but the food was not disappointing. I opted for the vegetarian option. This included a salad and Yorkshire pudding, which I did not try. It looked like a savory German pancake.
The salad was divine. It was a mixture of beets, mixed lettuce, chopped eggs and croutons in a vinaigrette dressing.