a walking weekend in Chicago

What a beautiful weekend – sunny, cloudless, and a temperature of almost 75 degrees. My spouse and I decided to hop on the blue line into the City for a walk around the lakefront. Our destination…the NFL’s Draft Town.

Blue lineThe first part of our walk took us past Daley plaza and east toward the lakefront. Much to our surprise we found out in less than two hours the Polish Constitution Day Parade would be stepping off with a rally to follow. Looking north as we crossed the street, the morning sun was glinting off the aquamarine blue of Trump tower. Fortunately for us, the streets around this part of town were closed because of the parade and rally, it was nice to walk in the middle of the road to Millennium Park. We could see the silver sails of the Pritzker Pavilion in the distance, an el train zooming under the curved metal. We decided to cut through Millennium Park on our way to Draft Town.

Upon entering the park, we were escorted by rows of colorful tulips and a proud line of stout trees bursting with blooms. Of course this meant we made pit stops at Cloud Gate, the Pritzker Music Pavilion, and the BP pedestrian bridge. On this day the gleaming city was boasting beauty. It seemed as if the all the skyscrapers framing the park were in competition, stretching taut for the deep endless blue above.

The pedestrian bridge is a walkway from Millennium Park curving east right into the brand new Maggie Daley Park for children. What an awesome Park!! There is a ginormous playground in the middle with many smaller playgrounds surrounding it. All the playgrounds dip down into their own nature environment. There are trees and gardens everywhere in between. The various play areas have their own themes and they are loaded with movement oriented activities for kids. There is a long loopy skating ribbon and two monolith sized outdoor climbing walls surrounding it all. This park is phenomenal! Free! And, open to the public.

Moving south out of Maggie Daley Park on a walkway behind Michigan avenue, we finally spot the over sized tents of Draft Town. It’s been 51 years since the NFL draft has been in Chicago. Teams and prospects gathered across Michigan Avenue in the Auditorium Theater. For three days they move through many rounds, making their college picks for next year’s professional teams. Fans feel like they are part of the action as they watch on big screens located in huge dome-like tents set up on the closed streets. The 900,000 square feet (an area comparable to 16 football fields!) of outdoor football paradise is spread out along the lakefront Taste of Chicago-style. With booths and activities, food and fun for fans, families and tourists.

My spouse is a huge Bears fan and there was plenty of rich franchise history for her to consume. (I liked it too!)

We ended our Draft Town experience with a calming stroll past Buckingham fountain before heading home. Our trip back to the subway took us on a path along the Lake.

BuckfountainThe whole trip was under 10 miles of walking. Everything easily connected with sidewalks, pathways and parks. Today reminded me of how much I love Chicago! What a great walking city!

 

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