One of the top areas to find out-of-towners doing some Chicago sightseeing is The Magnificent Mile. Magnificence being in the eye of the beholder, it is basically a one mile long outdoor shopping mall. Sure, it’s a nice area. Famous stores, wide sidewalks, street musicians, a few interesting restaurants and beautiful flowers make up this part of town.
Those places, and a couple of odd looking buildings at Michigan and Chicago Avenues that is. On this corner, you’ll find a link to Chicago’s history. The Water Tower is a tiny building that looks like a mini castle and across the street you’ll fine The Water Works / Pumping Station building. These two structures, built out of limestone in 1869, are the only places in this part of town to survive the Great Chicago Fire in 1871. Pretty much everything else back then was built out of wood.
Inside of the Water Tower, there is usually a small art exhibit, and a very bored looking guard. Across the street, in the larger of the two buildings, the dormant pumping system can be observed. The main thing in this building these days is the Lookingglass Theatre. The small theatre, where they have plays, is owned by David Schwimmer. Ross from Friends. I believe that he is currently playing Grace’s boyfriend on Will and Grace.
These buildings are seen on almost all Chicago bus tours, including ours. Once you locate these buildings, it’s only a matter of time before you find a Ghiradelli Chocolate store and restaurant. Their hot chocolate and ice cream sundaes are legend. This San Francisco treat has really made a home for itself here on Pearson Street, next to the Water Tower.
Despite the date this blog was written, the above is no April Fools joke.
Come on down to Chicago and experience it for yourself with us at See it ALL Chicago Tours!