On to the Windy City for this week’s Runner’s Weekend. The city of Chicago hosts the Rock N Roll Chicago Half Marathon every July and is one of the few summer races that the Rock N Roll Marathon series offers. With summer there is potential for hot weather, but the wind does a good job combatting the summer heat to make this run quite pleasant. It is also a great scenic run as you run along the Lake Michigan shoreline for a majority of the race. During the race, runners will pass through Millennium Park, Grant Park, Shedd Aquarium, Soldier Field, Buckingham Fountain and the Willis Tower. True for all Rock N Roll Marathons, you will also be able to enjoy live bands along the course and a post race concert at Millennium Park.
After the race go out and enjoy the city. The finish line of the race is in Millennium Park where the famous Bean is located. This 33ft stainless steel monument is highly polished to the point of having no visible seams from the 168 plates welded together. Also inside Millennium Park is the Crown Fountain, Lurie Garden, Wrigley Square and the Jay Pritzker Pavilion. Connecting Millennium Park to the rest of Grant Park is the BP Pedestrian Bridge. Just across the bridge is Maggie Daley Park, a great park to enjoy with the kids as it features a skating rink, extensive playground, climbing walls and more. You can also stroll through the Bloch Cancer Survivors Garden here. Also found inside the vast Grant Park is the Art Institute of Chicago, Buckingham Fountain, the Court of Presidents, and Museum Campus. Museum Campus is the site of Chicago’s three most notable natural sciences museums: Adler Planetarium, Field Museum of Natural History and the Shedd Aquarium.
Running alongside Grant Park is a stretch of 18-mile multi-use Lakefront Trail. From Millennium Park take the Lakefront Trail north as you pass by Chicago Yacht Clubs on the way to Navy Pier. The 3300ft Navy Pier is the number one tourist attraction in Chicago and has several carnival style rides and games. There is also a Children’s Museum and the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre. Further north along the Lakefront Trail you can soak in some sun at Oak Street Beach or North Avenue Beach. North Avenue Beach is on the southeast section of Lincoln Park which is home to the Lincoln Park Zoo, a free 35-acre zoo housing several exotic animals such as Polar Bear, African Painted Dogs, and Black Rhinos. Also inside Lincoln Park is the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum and the Chicago History Museum.
If you are looking to do some shopping and live a life of luxury then a walk down the Magnificent Mile is a must. This upscale section of Michigan Avenue is lined with retail stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Tiffany, Rolex and Cartier. Also along Michigan Avenue are two of the tallest buildings in Chicago, the Trump Tower and the John Hancock Building. When it was completed in 1968 the John Hancock Building was the second tallest building in the world behind the Empire State Building. Now visitors can go up to the 95th floor of the building to dine on top of the world with 360° views of the city below as well as up to four states in the distance. For a different view of the city, you can go to the Willis Tower Skydeck. The Willis Tower, previously known as the Sears Tower, was the tallest building in the world when it was completed in 1973.
Chicago is a great city for sports, especially if you are there in the summer. On the south side of the city is the home of the Chicago White Sox baseball team, but out of town visitors are much more likely to be enticed to see the Chicago Cubs on the north side at Wrigley Field. The ivy covered outfield fence is a site to see and be sure to grab a Chicago-style hot dog while you cheer on the Cubbies and join the 7th Inning Stretch sing-along to Take Me Out to the Ballgame. You can also check out Soldier Field, home of the Chicago Bears (NFL). Chicago is also home to the Chicago Blackhawks (NHL) and Chicago Bulls (NBA).
No stop in Chicago is complete without getting some deep dish pizza. The two pizza places that you will need to go to are Lou Malnati’s and Giordano’s. These rivals in the deep dish pizza world have residents of Chicago arguing over who the king of the deep dish pizza is. You be the judge and let us know which one you prefer.
Anything in Chicago that we may have missed? Let us know in the comments section below.