The Colors of Chicago

Blue, Green, Red, Brown,… – what other colors I associate the Windy City with? Read on to find out more…

Different people associate cities they love and admire in different ways – for some it could be the fascination offered by craning their heads at the tall buildings and reveling in the architectural marvel, for others it could be the amazing opportunities that the confluence of multiple cultures offer: meeting people from different cultures, trying out new cuisines and exploring myriad of hobbies. Chicago fondly referred to as the Windy City, could be associated with the former or the latter or both, but I associate this beautiful city by the different colors in the color palette.

The Blue Chicago

Right from my childhood, the color Blue to me always meant beauty, majesty and royalty and the first thing that caught my attention in Chicago was the predominance of Blue everywhere. The endless bright blue sky merging into the blue waters of Lake Michigan; the view of the spectacular Chicago skyline glowing against the blue backdrop as seen on The Bean; the majestic blue lion outside the Art Institute of Chicago; the blue waters in Navy Pier and the blue here and the blue there is what to me defines the most beautiful thing about Chicago! “Chicago blue” should be a legitimate label given to the bright blue shade in the color palette.

Clockwise from top left – Navy Pier, Bean, Lake Michigan from 100th floor of Hancock Building, Chicago Skyline

The Golden Chicago

During night time, even in the absence of the bright blue color, the city continues to be radiant and bright –  in an altogether different way of course. The Chicago river shimmers with the reflection of the beautifully lit up downtown in a mélange of sparkling glitters offering spectacular sights to the onlookers enchanting them with their glory. Despite the freezing temperatures and the fast blowing winds, the glorious views had me enticed enough to walk the mile from office to hotel every day come rain or shine.

Chicago @night

The Green Chicago

Speaking of the river, every year on St Patrick’s day, it assumes a new look and for once blue is not the predominant color in Chicago during day time. Chicago is one of those cities where St Patrick’s day is celebrated in a very festive manner as a tribute to the patron saint of Ireland, on his death anniversary. Given he used a shamrock, a three-leaved plant to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagan Irish, its customary for folks to wear glittering shamrocks, green clothing, and other green colored accessories and go on parades in the streets on this day. Overnight, the river becomes bright emerald green to match the attire of the throngs of people out in streets. Although the colors used to dye the river lasts for more than two days, on St Patrick’s day the entire city is outside to witness the once in a year phenomenon of “Green Everywhere”.

The Green River Day in Chicago

One guy went to another level and colored his dog green. He was one adorable bull dog 🙂

Green Dog on the Green Day in Chicago

The Silver Chicago

Fondly, called the Bean for its resemblance with one, the Cloud Gate is an awe-inspiring sculpture made with stainless steel with absolutely no visible welds or seams, which looks like a huge silver dome and is supposedly made to resemble a giant mercury droplet.

The Bean

I could not connect to the resemblance with a droplet for a long time until I got an opportunity to view it from atop. From up top, the Bean really did feel like a droplet from heaven.

View of The Bean from 74th Floor

The Red Chicago

“It has only tomatoes in it” was my first thought when I first saw the Chicago famous “Deep Dish Pizza”. I am glad for once that looks are deceptive!

For someone who loves thin crust pizzas, the idea of a fat pizza was not entirely appealing until I had Giordano’s deep dish one. The vegetables simmered in tomato, basil sauce is baked to perfection with a generous helping of cheese into the pizza crust. What then comes out of the oven, smells so divine that it can make even not so empty stomachs rumble. One bite is all it takes for the knees to go weak and before I knew it, I downed the entire piece and went for the second helping. It’s one of those times when the pants start to feel tight in a matter of minutes and I still did not give a damn and happily gorged on the yumminess.

The Deep Dish Pizza

The Brown Chicago

All the desserts I had in Chicago, OMG! I am writing about the two famous dessert cafés in Chicago.

The Girardelli café

I have heard a lot about Ghirardelli cafés and their mighty ice creams and when I found one in downtown on St Patrick’s day, imagine my excitement. The moment I opened the door, the delicious smell of chocolate hit my nostrils and dragged me towards the cafeteria on the first floor. As I was taking in the heart-warming flavor of chocolates, a piece of the Golden Ghirardelli chocolate was placed in my hand by a very welcoming host -what better way to feel welcomed than with free chocolate, that too with my favorite one of the Ghirardelli’s. Munching the yummy caramel goodness, I walked up to the café and ordered myself a steaming hot chocolate which at that point was the most appealing option given the long walk in the cold Chicago streets. It came with a generous dollop of whipped cream and was hands down the yummiest hot chocolate I have ever had. The ice creams here are quite overwhelming though. Most of them come accompanied by a piece of Ghirardelli signature brownie and look fantastic.

Ghirardelli Signature Ice Cream

Two mouthfuls later, I couldn’t take more of it and got it packed home. Its quite a heavy fare and could pass off as a complete meal if you can finish the entire ice cream in one go. I evidently couldn’t and it’s a different story that I was overwhelmed enough to not want to eat ice creams for another month after this.

The Nutella Café

This is one of the few Nutella cafes in the world, the first one in the US and it’s the novelty of it which shot up the demand making people queue up for entry inside. Inside everything about this place screams of Nutella as expected. The one time I went there, I had a crepe with strawberries, bananas and of course with a generous scoop of Nutella. It was no different from the Nutella crepes I have had elsewhere, but the feel of having it in the Nutella café surrounded by Nutella enthusiasts was a very good experience.

Inside the Nutella Cafe

And then, its time for a very Colorful Chicago

Chicago is a typical city in the Mid West region of the United States where it is cold most of the year and snows even in the middle of April when most cities in the US are long done welcoming the pretty Spring. Chicago is known to transition from Winter to Summer with a brief break of Spring which gets over the moment it starts. I was fortunate enough to experience that super brief spring season of Chicago and I saw the city come alive overnight. One fine day, just a week after 5 inches of snow, we welcomed spring with tremendous fanfare. People were out in streets ditching their jackets, dressed up in colorful clothing, matching the pretty tulips that donned every single street in downtown.

Tulips @ Workplace

Although I would have loved to add more color to my blog by writing about the other things I enjoyed in Chicago like the Miniature Houses in Art Museum, the Lego Land in Science Museum, the Butterflies in Peggy Norbert Museum, the Giant Wheel on Navy Pier, the top view of super tall buildings with 100+ floors, I wanted to keep this one crisp for a change. Probably I can write Chicago – Part 2 and then Part 3 and then maybe Part 4, probably I will end there, probably not! That is how much I am in love with “The City of Many Colors”! If at all you get a chance to make a visit to Chicago, never ever miss it!

I am glad I did not!

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