surprise! a two miler in river north

Sunday morning in the backyard, sunny and already hot. In a distant tree, an ‘up too early’ locust was trying to find its rhythm. As I sat beneath my sunbrella, finishing up my coffee and the Trib, I yawned and noticed the heat of the morning was trying to infiltrate my body with a feeling of lazy. Summer lazy, finally.

“What about my walk today?” the mind whispered. Without missing a beat, the barriers intervened, “It’s too hot. Wait ’till tomorrow. I’m bored of the same old loops!’ Feeling I would need some double espresso-like motivation for my walk (and the barriers) my spouse and I decided to take a walk in the city.

“Oh where oh where dear internet, is there a neighborhood festival we can attend?” Voila! The Taste of River North. Perfect. Into the car, and on the road to a destination sure to blast the barriers out for the day!



One of the many nice things about Chicago in the summer is – there is always a neighborhood festival taking place somewhere, on some weekend within our 312,000 city blocks. The boastful, host-full neighborhoods are generally trendy and hip, culturally diverse, up and coming, been-there, done-that, still-doin’ it or ‘desperately trying to create an identity and have a unique fest-thingy’. Each gathering tries hard to promote the feeling of small community in a big city.

As a tourist or resident, you really can’t go wrong. In fact, usually, the most difficult part is choosing which one to attend, because two or three may occur within the same weekend. For a native Chicagoan like myself, fests and tastes get me out to other neighborhoods I’ve never visited or I haven’t visited in a long, long time. Chicago is always regenerating; restructuring neighborhoods, birthing parks, growing skyscrapers, and changing its vistas. Never boring.

The Taste of River North happens around Montgomery Park (yes, Montgomery as in Montgomery Ward – that famous mail order entrepreneur we boomers grew up with).

MW park

Montgomery Park is adjacent to the Chicago River and was officially named in 2010.

river north bridge

A view of the river, bridge and skyscrapers.

river walk

We were able to stroll along the river walk promenade which connects the high-rises. How nice to walk along a path by the river, waving at the cruise boats while watching the kayakers.


High rise condos give the area a college campus feel, a campus of children, dogs, seniors, singles and families.

After digesting all we could of this quaint taste, we decided to take a walk around more of the River North area. We gobbled up the view, a fantastic meld of mansions, high rises and skyscrapers all popping up on the same series of blocks. Architecture co-mingling old and new. We followed the crosswalks east toward the Lake and stumbled into the Cathedral district. (who knew?) We passed one of the cathedrals – St. James, an old thing, and it was a beauty.A few blocks later we happened upon an historic mansion with a miniature Versailles-like garden out front. Definitely a hidden jewel.

We circled around “The Boule. Mich.”,  passed the Limelight/Excalibur/Castle club, and headed back toward the river and where we parked, vowing to come back another day to further explore.

At the end of it all, I was a tad over two miles according to my nike+ app. What a pleasant surprise on a summer Sunday!


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