Our last day in Chicago and we decided we would go and look at Bloomingdales home and furniture store, just around the corner from the hotel. It is a very interesting building and tells quite a story. It is built in the Moorish Revival architecture style and was commissioned in 1912 by the Shriner's Society as an auditorium, the Medinah Temple, seating over 4,000 people. Chicago Symphony Orchestra made many of their finest recordings here, with, among others Sir Georg Solti.
In late 2000, the building began a period of restoration and its insides were gutted to make way for retail space and in 2003, Bloomingdales opened their furniture and home store within the famous walls. We could see the old proscenium arch, domes and stained glass windows as well as some other features in this extraordinary building. It became a Chicago Landmark in 2001. It is really stunning and we really enjoyed looking around, much to the amusement of the staff - but they probably get lots of visitors.
From here we walked down to the Loop area and looked for Printing House Row and eventually The Dearborn Station from where some of the famous long-distance trains ran - the Santa Fe Railway, trains to Hollywood, Grand Trunk Rairoad to name just a few. It has now been redeveloped as office and retail space, serving the loft-style apartments of Printing House Row. Interesting, but very quiet with only a few of the retail areas occupied.
On our way back to the north, we took a walk into Millennium Park and saw the fountain and Lake Michigan, with a sailing ship making its way out of the little harbour. The route took us over the bridge and up passed the Aqua Tower, the incredible building with curving balconies and a wave-like appearance externally, designed by Jeanne Gang.
And that was our last day in Chicago as we are off to New Orleans in the morning.
We did manage another great dinner, though, walking just down from the hotel to the Weber Grill - Weber as in the famous barbecues, and in fact there was one enormous one hanging on the corner of the building housing the restaurant. We would have to wait forty minutes for a table inside, but they could take us straight away outside. So outside it was! Delicious steaks, of course and a glass of red wine.
Bloomingdales Home and Furniture, Chicago
Printing House Row