In May we visited Chicago for a cousin’s wedding, and we turned it into long weekend to introduce to the boys to the city. The first day we had dinner at Revival Food Hall and saw Hamilton, and started the second day with coffee and donuts. Read all about it here (or jump ahead to part three)!
Following breakfast, we picked up at the Art Institute of Chicago. We make a point to take our boys to cultural sites anywhere we travel – art museums, conservatories, and the like – and we visited the Art Institute frequently during our college years.
The Art Institute features an extensive list of collections, from international styles of artwork, textiles, architecture, decorative arts, photography, armor. One of the central pieces – and one of our favorites – is the collection of impressionist pieces.
Our first stop was the room of magnificent glass paperweights. They’re cast in amazingly intricate detail.
One of the boys’ favorite stops was the Thorne Miniature rooms. They were built by Mrs. James Ward Thorne in the 1930s, and like the paperweights are incredibly detailed. They recreate different historic rooms from the U.S. and Europe, from Cape Cods to French cottages to Victorian parlors to elegant Virginia homes. There’s a little plaque near the front with a quote from Wes Anderson, talking about his love of these rooms and all their detail.
There are plenty of iconic pieces of artwork at the Institute, like Seurat’s “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.” Sadly, the room was too crowded for me to re-enact my own Ferris Beuller moment.
The decorative arts rooms were notable, too. Owen brought his sketch book and drew pictures of an owl sculpture.
He also took some time to try and figure out Magritte.
All in all, it’s fun to visit some old friends.
After our Art Institute adventures, we took the boys across Michigan Avenue to Shake Shack! The burgers, fries, hot dogs, chicken sandwiches, and shakes are an easy sell.
Then we re-visited a stop from our fall Chicago trip, Cindy’s Rooftop. Cindy’s is located at the top of the Chicago Athletic Association building (Shake Shack resides on the bottom floor). Formerly the actual Chicago Athletic Association, the building has been renovated into a hotel.
Cindy’s features a glass ceiling and a patio looking out over Millennium Park and the Lake Michigan shore. It’s really hard to beat the view.
Our last stop of the day was the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. (Pro-tip for the Columbus folks: your COSI membership gets you into the Nature Museum, Field Museum, and the Museum of Science & Industry for free!)
The museum features live animal exhibitions, hands-on activities, outdoor trails, and more. We caught it at the end of the day, so the museum was relatively quiet.
The boys enjoyed an interactive, motion-capture exhibit that taught about the mating dances different birds perform.
You can read part one here, go on to part three, or check out our visits to Wormhole Coffee and The Bongo Room.