The Real Chicago Treat....

October 04, 2011
Some may not get the reference to the Rice Aroni jingle in today's Real Chicago blog title... however if you're keen to old jingles from the mid-90s-- you know this tune is referencing a "San Francisco Treat..." But, let this be known.....you don't have to be in San Francisco to experience this Chicago treat. While it may have originated in that famed West Coast inclined town, we here in Chicago made it more than transportation--- we made it an itinerary item for your next vacation..... Elizabeth brings us her Real Chicago experience not to be missed in this week's Real Chicago Blog: Ever wonder how “the windy city” received its name Chicago, or how the street with the infamous “Magnificent Mile” received the name of Michigan Avenue?  Well, you can find these answers out and many more fun facts, while cruising around the beautiful city some of us are lucky to call home, Chicago.  The Hop on Hop Off Chicago Trolley Tours takes you around 13 miles of the historical, and architectural streets of the city of Chicago.  Sit back, relax, sip on a locally Chicago brewed 312, and let these old-fashioned San Francisco style trolleys show and teach you things even Chicago natives never knew! The experience I had on the trolley ride was with 12 of my fondest co-workers, playing hooky, eh hem ...I mean “training” one lovely Wednesday afternoon.  We started the tour at the tip top of the Mangificent Mile, and made our way South down Lakeshore Drive taking in the views of the lake and Navy Pier on a beautiful fall afternoon, then took a turn West bound and drove down Michigan Avenue, then making our way South to The Financial District, and topped off the tour with amazing city/water views from Solidarity Road, while receiving a crash course on the history of Chicago.  On the tour, while enjoying the views of amazing architecture, public art, hotels, restaurants, Willis Tower, and more we learned many educational facts about Chicago from a quite entertaining retired teacher as our guide.  Here are a few of the fun tid bits we learned on the tour….Now I won’t give them all away, because you will need to learn for yourself on a trolley tour adventure! Chicago Fun Facts:
  • Chicago Tribune Building, a Chicago Landmark, has labeled stones from landmark buildings from all 50 states and all over the world, to include The Great Wall of China, the White House, as well as The original Twin Towers.
  • Merchandise Mart- in 1929 was considered so large it had its very own zip code.
  • Good Ol’ Mcy D’s, “McDonalds”, started in Des Plaines, IL.
  • Michigan Avenue- The streets between Michigan Avenue and Lake Michigan are manmade; the street got its name Michigan Avenue because that is originally where the shore of Lake Michigan came to.

Vince Vaughn's "Breakup" Business- Not a Myth

September 27, 2011
[Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise, Chicago, August 19, 2009 /Image & Artwork: designslinger
Why this Real Chicago experience has not come up until now is absurd. Absolutely absurd. Architecture is an integral part of this city; an integral part of its history, its development, its beauty. And when you see it all from the breezy bright white seat of a boat that cruises along the Chicago River and out beyond the shores of Lake Michigan, there's no doubt this city's skyline will leave more than an impression-- it'll leave you with an education- a Real Chicago experience not to be missed.  Today's Real Chicago recap is provided by the voice of one of our team members, a resident of Chicago and Michigan native, Haley: One of my favorite “Real Chicago” experiences is the Chicago Architecture Boat Tour. Whenever I have friends, family or clients in town I often recommend this tour. But it isn’t only for tourists. As a new resident of Chicago, there is still so much I want to learn about this great city- and the Architecture tour was a great place to start. The tour starts on the river right near the Wrigley Building, first you go west where you get the history behind Chicago’s studded skyline. The tour guides explain the history of the Merchandise Mart, the Willis Tower, Navy Pier, Wrigley Building, Tribune Tower, Lyric Opera, 333 W. Wacker, Marina City and my personal favorite, the United building. Over 50 buildings are featured on the tour. The boat then turns around and takes you down the river into Lake Michigan. From here you can see Chicago’s great skyline together in all of its glory. You also get a fun story about the lighthouse located off of Oak Street Beach- Residents lived in the lighthouse in exchange for caring for the premises and a nominal fee of $10 dollars a month (I think I can’t remember exactly how much) until the 1960’s. It was then that after a wild night of partying out on the pier that caused some complaints from residents on shore. Unfortunately after that, the privilege was revoked, and there are no longer tenants of the lighthouse. Crazy Hippies! There are tons of great things to do in Chicago, and this is one of my favorites. So put on your fall jackets and spend one of our last sunny days learning a little bit more about the city you love.