I love the city of Chicago. It is a big city with great architecture, restaurants, museums, neighborhoods and shopping with a "Midwest feel," code for "people are friendly." ( I am from the Midwest so I get it!) The city sits right on the shores of Lake Michigan, with miles of lakefront with beaches, sail boats, and park space right on the water. The city is known for its architecture, with fabulous walks to view architecture from icons such as Mies van der Rohe. The Lincoln Park Zoo and the Field Museum of Natural History are always big hits with my boys.
On my most recent weekend visit, I went to my personal favorite spot and a must see on any visit -- The Art Institute. It has a huge collection so plan your visit around just one or two sections for maximum impact. The newly renovated Contemporary Wing is my favorite haunt. The collection features both Modern and Contemporary Art. My favorite section houses the works of Abstract Expressionists such as Jackson Pollack. Joan Mitchell, and Willem de Kooning. The work pictured here is de Kooning's, "Untitled XI," painted in 1975. According to the Museum notes, in 1975 at age 71, de Kooning began one his most productive painting periods in his career, painting 20 large canvases in the span of six months. I love this painting's size and color -- viewing in person was a complete refresh for my winter-worn eyes. After visiting the museum, I felt like a new person (the espresso and fresh chocolate chunk cookie from the Modern Wing Cafe and the (expensive) visit to the Taschen book shop located conveniently in the Museum gift shop may have contributed to the effect!)
Get to Chicago soon -- it is most beautiful in June and July. And stay at my favorite hotel of all time, The Langham. The hotel is located in a Mies van der Rohe building right on the river. It is the only hotel ever to be located in a Mies building and the design, art and furnishings are very inspirational in of themselves.