Tourist in My Own Town, Day 4

Bridgehouse Eye ViewYou’re never going to guess how I spent my day off yesterday.

Riding the El–for about two hours straight. Jesse is a consummate elevated rail rider. Whenever he comes to town, he wants to hop on a new line, riding it the end, seeing the city from this unique vantage point. So, this trip we were glad to help him knock the Orange Line (out to Midway Airport) and the brand new Pink Line off his list.

I’ve always enjoyed riding the elevated; the view of downtown Chicago traveling south on the Brown Line is still one of my favorites. The Pink Line, coming in to the Loop from the west, across the expressway and the other branch of the Chicago River, is an equally impressive way to experience the city.

In need of a break and hungry for lunch, we hit one of the best delis in town, L’Appetito on Huron. This Italian grocery/deli has an amazing selection of mouth-watering sandwiches made to order, as well as salads, soups and two cases filled with tantalizing Italian cookies. I’ve yet to have anything less than terrific from this place, which is thankfully too far away for me to frequent more than a few times a year. Three of us had the Spicy Italian, loaded with different meats and hot peppers. It was delish, topped off with a tasty raspberry thumbprint cookie.

Next stop was the Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum, a brand new and yet undiscovered tourist stop, judging from the way we had the place all to ourselves.

Anyone, local or out-of-towner, who’s looking for a unique view of Chicago should make a point of stopping by the Michigan Avenue Bridgehouse. It couldn’t be any easier to get to and at three bucks is one of the cheapest venues to visit downtown.

The self-guided tour begins on the lower level, where you can see the machinery that raises and lowers the bridge. (BTW, Chicago has the most movable bridges of any city in the world!) Five flights up, through a brief and informative exhibit about the history of the Chicago River (thankfully it’s not in Odorama, seeing as the river spent much of its time in the past 350 years as a swamp and then a sewer) you reach the top story, with an impressive and unique view of Chicago, the river, Michigan Avenue and the new Trump Tower, under construction across the river.

The brand new museum has only been open a month and I suspect word will soon get around about this hidden gem. I’d suggest going before the crowds make the small space a challenge to navigate. As someone who’s interested in Chicago history, architecture and the river, this little museum is a great new way to roll all my interests into one fun afternoon.

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2 Responses

  1. pam

    What a fantastic way to visit your own city. You can sit and talk – no driving hassles – get off wherever you want – and it’s relatively cheap. Smart!

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