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The meet ends, officially, but not the fun!

Chicago VT meet day six

View Chicago VT meet on ToonSarah's travel map.

The Richard H. Driehaus Museum surrounded by more modern buildings

Watching the match

We had a late start today as the first thing on the agenda was brunch. But of course I was up quite early so I popped down to the lobby to get a coffee. I was going to take it up to my room, but Steve and Napoleon were down there chatting, so I joined them for a while. In typical US fashion a total stranger came and joined the conversation. By the time he left ten minutes later we knew where Tom lived and had lived previously, and why. He'd also shared his email address with me in case I wanted advice about our possible trip to California next year, recommended an expensive hotel on Lake Tahoe, and several beauty spots near San Francisco.

Farewell brunch

The farewell brunch at Etta across the road was very good – I had an excellent avocado toast. Afterwards there were lots of goodbye hugs, as most of the group were leaving this afternoon. I stayed on at the bar with Isa, Amelie and Steve to watch the Newcastle v Sheffield United match that was being shown. It was just going into the second half with Newcastle 3-0 up. They ended up winning 8-0, a fantastic result! I was grateful to my friends for keeping me company while I enjoyed the game.

The Richard H. Driehaus Museum

After a break back at the hotel Isa, Amelie and I set off for an afternoon and evening of sightseeing. Firstly we visited the Driehaus Museum which offers a glimpse of a very different Chicago. It occupies what was once the Nickerson Mansion, home to a wealthy banker, Samuel Nickerson, and his wife Matilda, a society leader. It was built for them in 1883 after they lost their previous home in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Nickerson was President of the First National Bank and very active in Chicago society especially the art world. Keen collectors, the Nickersons often opened their galleries to visitors. They were also of course great entertainers and the house reflects this, with a ballroom as well as a grand dining room and drawing room. Later it was some to the Fishers, who undertook some renovations, including redesigning the gallery as a den, with hunting trophies replacing art works.

Entrance hall

Light fitting, and staircase detail

In 1919 the house was purchased by a group of over 100 Chicago citizens, saving it from destruction as the skyscrapers gradually took over the city centre. For many years it was used by the American College of Surgeons, and later by an advertising company and an art gallery. In 2033 it was again saved from destruction, this time by philanthropist Richard H. Driehaus who sponsored its restoration. It opened as the museum named after him in 2008. Its aim is to ‘showcase art, architecture and design from the late 19th and early 20th century in a meticulously restored Gilded Age home.

Tiffany lampshade


Glass dome in the den

360 Chicago

Then we walked over to and up Michigan Avenue. We passed the old water tower, another of the rare buildings to have survived the fire of 1871.

The Water Tower

We had tickets for the 360 Chicago viewing deck in the former John Hancock Center, now known simply as 875 N Michigan Avenue. But with time to spare before our 5.30 slot we wandered around the area taking photos before relaxing over a smoothie near the tower's entrance.

Parking garage for 875 N Michigan Avenue, and other nearby buildings

875 North Michigan Avenue, and street art near the foot of the tower

Near 875 North Michigan Avenue ~ probably the best thing to do with a deep dish pizza imho!

Not long after five we decided to go in to the tower. The lift whizzed us up to the 94th floor viewing gallery (there are 100 in total).

Looking south

Lake Michigan and Navy Pier

Navy Pier

Looking north

We took a few initial photos before joining the line for the Tilt experience. A section of the wall has been designed to tilt forwards, offering a unique perspective on the streets below. Eight people can tilt at a time so we had to wait our turn. When it came we had to leave all bags, cameras etc on a trolley to one side, as none are allowed while tilting and you have to hold on throughout. It was a strangely unnerving sensation at first, but I adjusted quickly and was in the end disappointed that it didn’t tilt me more – I’d expected more of a thrill!

A group on the Tilt

We then wandered all around the gallery before settling down on the west side to await the sunset. When it came we took it in turns to jump up from our seats to take photos.

Waiting for sunset

Sun setting over the western suburbs

Window with logo, and Isa taking a photo

Looking west just after sunset

After the sun had set we moved to the south side to wait for darkness and take some night shots.


Night views

Eventually we left, planning to take the bus to the Buckingham Fountain. But there was a long wait for a bus and we were all tired and ready for dinner, so we abandoned that plan and walked through to Portillo's, a Chicago institution.

Amelie and Isa in Portillo's

This fast-food place serves hot dogs and beef sandwiches in a unique Chicago style. I had one of the former which I quite enjoyed, accompanied by fries which I thought were very good and a refreshing beer. We then went back to the hotel for a fairly prompt night as Amelie and I had an early start tomorrow.

Posted by ToonSarah 10:11 Archived in USA Tagged sunsets_and_sunrises football food architecture history views houses city chicago virtual_tourist

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Once again, my sincere thanks to you for sharing that day with us all. Your sky high trip reminded me of the tower in Toronto - not with a tilt but with a glass floor - but what a bonus to watch the sunset from there.

by Yvonne Dumsday

Haha, had to laugh at your comments on deep dish pizza. I have never experienced a view point with a tilt. It sounds quite scary. So glad they turned that mansion into a museum. It would have been so sad if they had demolished it.

by irenevt

Sarah, even the photograph gave me the Tilt experience. I imagine how you enjoyed all the views! Well done! Thanks for sharing! Fun never ends!

by Vic_IV

Thank you all :) The Tilt was a little disappointing to be honest, as was the deep dish pizza I tried, but I liked pretty much everything else about Chicago :)

by ToonSarah

Glad you enjoyed your trip.

by Beausoleil

probably when there I would do the Tilt as well, but seeing it is quite high I have to think about it. You are brave that's for sure! :)

by Ils1976

It didn't feel especially brave, quite tame really 😄

by ToonSarah

Driehaus museum was saved again in 2033, maybe an typo..? :)

Yikes, no tilting for me, thank you very much! :)

by hennaonthetrek

Definitely a typo, thanks Henna. I think it should be 2003 - I'll check and correct it when I get home from Madagascar?

by ToonSarah

No problem, just thought you might want to know :) Have fun in Madagascar!

by hennaonthetrek

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