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Something that I noticed about Millennium Park, Grant Park, and Chicago's downtown waterfront is that they've got some great parks by the water, but a lousy waterfront. To an extent, Columbus Drive, and to a greater extent, Lake Shore Drive are barriers. And if you reach the waterfront on the other side of LSD, you get a bike path and then yacht clubs.

So in a way, the parks are more like Central Park (with the great streetwall opposite) than a real waterfront park. In having a downtown waterfront, advantage Toronto.






Millenium Park has a heavy security presence. Note the security guard on the Segway.





Columbus Drive, acts as a bit of a barrier between Millenium Park and Grant Park and closer to the waterfront.







Answer to Canada Life? (And the only time I saw metric in the US).


I love the use of the view terminus, in this case, the Chicago Board of Trade building.





Marshall Field's. Sadly, it's name is changing to Macy's, though the only indication was a close out on Field's brands. The basement cafeteria is a great bargain for good, fresh lunches, and the interior, with the Tiffany Roof, is amazing.



Trump rises.


Can't get enough of the Wrigley and (especially) Tribune Buildings.






Thompson Center, the State of Illinois office building.


Daley Plaza/City-County Hall, where they got that Picasso.



Next: Views from Hancock, Mag Mile, Cabrini-Green.
I'll take Columbus Drive over Gardiner/Lakeshore in a second. Who would call that a barrier (as some here have said the Lakeshore would be should the Gardiner come down)? Not me.
I agree, though Columbus is wide, and has fast traffic, and was not the friendliest street to cross.

The point I was trying to make is that the waterfront isn't that integrated. Michigan Avenue, though it is also wide, felt less of a barrier because of more activity and the streetwall on the west side. LSD is much more of a barrier, and there's no "there" there at Lake Michigan. That's why I wouldn't mind an at-grade Lakeshore, it would be a bit of a barrier, but no Gardiner.

I guess this is why Daley (illegally) closed Meigs Field, to get more public access to the waterfront itself, and further north and south of downtown, there's good parks right on the lake. But LSD needs to be tamed somehow.
The point I was trying to make is that the waterfront isn't that integrated.

Oh I know. A combination of Columbus and our waterfront (save for the Harbourcastle) would be great. Still would have to deal with the rail tracks but it would be a major upgrade.
Beautiful pics... man, the architecture!

If Columbus is their barrier, I think they're doing OK.
I'd bury the rail tracks, like they did to an extent with Millennium Park (it helped that Metra Electric/South Shore Line were, well, electrified already). And screw the heritage Bush trainshed, I'd get a nice glass shed for Union, over the below-grade tracks, and the rest of the tracks (but not over where the station platforms are, of course) could be sold for air rights to help pay for it (and install DRL tracks with the burial!)

With an at-grade Gardiner and buried railways, there'd be lots of room for more buildings and a few parks, and if the area is urbanized right, you can minimize the effect of a wide Lakeshore, to reduce the psychological barrier effect.

Beautiful pics... man, the architecture!

And that's the one thing Toronto won't have, besides the L, of course, is the awesome collection of 1920s/1930s architecture, which on its own is worth seeing. As I say, there's some buildings I can't get enough of there.

And LSD is the real barrier (the view from Hancock will show it better).
Downtown Chicago is amazing and certainly has many lessons for our little town. I thought the waterfront integrated reasonably well but less so where the cultural institution campuses were, more so at the beaches to the north.

What was really noticable from up high, and the largest weekness in my opinion with the city layout is that except to the north the sparkling downtown you see here seems isolated almost like a medieval castle, cut off by rail tracks, canals, highways and such. I stayed at a hostel on the south side of the loop and the fact that security guards were posted on north south streets in that area at night gave a heightened sense of this fortress downtown effect.
Love the streetwalls and heritage highrises. Looks great, must go check it out.
Re: Chicago 2: Millenium Park, Loop on foot

I doubt there's another city in North America that could match Chicago for architecture.

Thanks for posting these great pics.