Chicago–Off The Beaten Path–Art Walk

Are you planning your summer vacation?  Are you wondering what to do in Chicago besides all the standard tourist stuff (don't worry, I'll hit you with plenty of that, too.)  Today's "walk" is designed for you art buffs.


1 - Flamingo: Adams/Dearbourn - Starting you off in the heart of the Loop, in the Federal Plaza. If you are staying downtown, this is a good place to begin. Chicago has a good amount of MEGA outdoor art installations. This one was made famous in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" in the parade scene. Chicago-Art-Walk-01
2 - Miró's Chicago: 69 W. Washington - This statue may be a star in other places, but unfortunately, it's tucked into a little nook across the street from the much more famous Picasso across the street.

But it's a really neat bit of craft, and since you are across the street, you really should take a second and give it a look.

And I'm not sure why it has a fork coming out of the top of its head.
3 – Chicago Picasso: State/Washington – This is "The Big One" when it comes to Chicago's outdoor artworks.  It's one of the most iconic images Chicago has.  And it's not just a work of art behind glass or fenced off.  As you can see, people climb on is, slide down it (but that steel can get a little hot if the summer sun is pounding down on it).

I think even tough it's huge, the accessibility of it is what makes people love it so much.  Also, while it may seem like it's in a big, empty plaza, it's rarely an empty plaza.  Farmer's markets and ethnic festivals keep it hoping in the summer, and a Christmas-fest tides it over during the winter.
4 – Tiffany Dome / Chicago Cultural Center: 78 E. Washington – I was planning on using this as part of the architectural walk I'll feature later, but you'll be walking right past it, so I thought you might want to stop in.  Plus, it opens early, so you won't have to wait.

The dome is on the 4th floor, south stairwell.  There are many other treasures in this former library so give yourself a few minutes to look around.
5 – Millennium Park -  South Michigan Ave – Chicago's new star.  While technically called "Cloud Gate", the huge stainless steel blob is universally known as "the Bean".  I had a view of the park while they were assembling this beauty and hanging the plates on the framework.  It's now so polished, you can barely see the seams.

This is a must see.

The second big star is Crown Fountain.  And if you are toting kids 2 to 20, bring a towel and a change of clothes.  They are going to get wet.  And they are going to love it.  The pictures rotate and change and spurt water out of pursed lips every few minutes.

And you can take the new Nichols Bridgeway to the next stop on the way.  (Or maybe you should cross Michigan Ave and grab a bite to eat before heading in to…
6 - Art Institute of Chicago: 111 S Michigan Ave - (10:30 am – 5:00 pm) – Let's face it, if you are into art, this is the place to visit.  And you are going to want to spend hours.  HOURS here. It's got tons of stuff that you'll recognize from books and stuff.

I'm sure you recognize "Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte" by Seurat & "On the Terrace" by Renoir.  (And if you don't, just nod and fake it, okay?)  And that's going to happen to you a lot here. 

Every corner you turn around, you will see something amazing.

I've done a few posts about it in the past, so if you want to see them follow the links (

Currently, they have a Picasso exhibit running thru mid-May.
7 – Chicago's River North Gallery District – So, you've seen a ton of great art at the Art Institute, and now you want to go get you some. The River North Gallery District is a great place to shop / window shop.

We had to visit some of them last fall for one of The Daughter's art classes, and saw some really cool glass and photo galleries.

And we also saw the pink nightmare with the gold jingle bells over there.

Could have sworn we'd blogged it, but it appears that the closest we got was when
Cora posted a couple of pictures in her 365 list HERE.

And I want you to try to get that image out of your brain.
8 – Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art: 220 E. Chicago Ave. – I've never been to this one. But, might as well include it, since it's on the map. Plus, to get to it, you've had a nice walk up Michigan Ave, which usually has some kind of art installation going on.

And HEY! There's a Cheese Cake Factory at the Hancock Building.

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So there you go. An my first "Chicago Walk". Do I expect anyone to actually "walk the walk"? No. But if you are thinking of visiting my fair city, maybe this will give you some ideas on what to see and do while you're here.

Future "Walks" I have planned include:

  • An Architecture Walk
  • A TV/Movie Walk
  • Lincoln Park Walk


Padded Cell Princess said...

My brain now has that heinous image burned into it...eeeeeeeek!
Crown Fountain looks fun and that Tiffany Dome is breathtaking! That looks like a great walk and lots of fun stuff to see! ...except for that creepy statue! Nightmares!

Cora said...

Oooooh, I can't wait to see the TV/movie walk post! I remember when you took me around showing me Ferris Bueller, Batman, Family Matters, While You Were Sleeping, and Adventures in Babysitting stuff. Fun, fun, FUN!