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An Impromptu Chicago Walkabout

I had a rare (for me) opportunity to explore downtown Chicago during a five and a half hour layover on an impromptu Amtrak trip from Whitefish, Montana to Rensselaer, New York. I had been in and around Chicago a few times before, but wanted to take the time to get some photos from around the city and just walk around. It was the natural thing to hoof it while I had time to kill. Considering that I was confined to a moving train for close to the previous 32 hours, it was quite welcome to get out and about. Given the amount of time I had, I wanted to stick to the downtown area for my urban hike. So enjoy the Windy City through my photos, taken one pleasant September Saturday afternoon.

Chicago Union Station. This is the Amtrak hub for the Windy City.

Looking at West Washington Street from North Canal Avenue. That is Metra's Ogilvie Transportation Center that the cars are driving through.

Chicago & Northwestern Railway Powerhouse is the best surviving building associated with the Chicago and Northwestern Railway. Built between 1909 and 1911, the powerhouse provided electricity and steam heat to the original terminal for the railway, standing passenger cars, and other nearby railroad facilities for over 50 years.

Waiting for a moving train, it appears.

And sure enough!

West Kinzie Street Bridge over the North Branch Chicago River

Chicago and Northwestern Railroad Bridge over the North Brand Chicago River, as seen from West Kinzie Street.

I liked this view so much, I decided to photograph it twice.

I stopped at the Chicagoland area institution Portillo's for a bite to eat, and saw the original Chicago Black Hawks 1938 Stanley Cup championship banner that hung from the rafters at the old Chicago Stadium.

The corner of Clark and Hubbard, I believe.

Watching the boats on the Chicago River. I believe that building to the left of the bridge is a glorified parking garage.

But back to party boats...

Right now, I have the theme song to Perfect Strangers playing in my head.

Some more photos of the Chicago River at the Dearborn Street Bridge. Since they wouldn't dye the river green in September for me, I'm just going to let the photos speak for themselves for a while.



Clark Street Bridge


A little history lesson for you.

Chicago Riverwalk.


The Riverwalk is legit neat.

Chicago Theater Sign.


Take two.

The shadowy city.

Saturday, at Chicago's Millennium Park. Too bad it wasn't the 4th of July.


The most famous thing at Millennium Park, that giant mirrored bean looking thing, I mean Cloud Gate.


It's very popular. I was content just getting photos from afar.


ROADS! It's the famous Lake Shore Drive, which is an urban boulevard along Lake Michigan. Lake Shore Drive has been around in some form since the 1880s, allowing residents and visitors to take in a part of Lake Michigan history.

Lake Shore Drive is part of the Lake Michigan Circle Tour, a scenic driving loop around Lake Michigan in the states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin. It is also signed as part of US 41, a highway that stretches from Copper Harbor on the Keweenaw Peninsula in Michigan's Upper Peninsula region down to Miami, Florida.

I-290, I-90 and I-94 all make their way into Chicago.

The Chicago skyline. To the left is the Willis Tower, which I still regularly call the Sears Tower. I wonder if folks around Chicago debate the name of the building like New Yorkers debate the name of the new Tappan Zee Bridge... err... Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge.

Located in Grant Park, the Buckingham Fountain, or officially known as the Clarence F. Buckingham Memorial Fountain is one of the world's largest fountains. You may also remember Buckingham Fountain from the opening credits of the long-running television show Married... With Children. Now to watch this fountain put on a show.






I became distracted by the Sears Tower, I mean Willis Tower.



Time to head back into the lean, mean streets of Chicago.

Making a left onto Congress Parkway will take you over to I-290, or the Eisenhower Expressway, or as I understand it, the locals call it The Ike.

But first, one parting shot of the Buckingham Fountain.

Back to walking around. Chicago is really a beautiful city.


The end of THE Route 66. I had to get my kicks in somehow.



Day is beginning to draw to a close. I better start making my way back to Union Station.


Happy Central Standard Time.

Looking up at the Sears Tower. I mean Willis Tower. Oops, I did it again.


The Chicago River at dusk.




The ever imposing Sears Tower. It looks like there is a face towards the top of the skyscraper. I shall name it Willis Tower.

Fun with boats on the Chicago River.



Learning about the Milwaukee Road. I passed through Milwaukee earlier in the afternoon.

I walked around Union Station a bit...

Then stepped outside for a minute for a parting night shot, before waiting for the Lake Shore Limited to whisk me back to Upstate New York. It was a fun day in the Windy City.


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