Pardon me while I geek out over Chicago buildings.  I've had a love affair with Chicago since I was a teenager and lo, these many years later, I can still say that Chicago is one of my favorite places in the world.  But the truth is there aren't a whole lot of things about Chicago that I can even name as reasons why I like the town so much.  Other than movie locations, the Cubs and the Black White Sox, I don't really know that much about about what the city is like.  I'd try and learn a little more about the Windy City (perhaps even why it's really called the Windy City), but every time I go there, all the great things to do get overshadowed in my mind by the architecture.

Actual conversation I had with a friend this week:

"Where did you go on vacation last week?"


"Fun!  Did you like it?"

"Absolutely. It's my favorite city."

"Did you see the Art Institute?"


"Did you go to Millennium Park?"


"Did you go to a ballgame at Wrigley Field?"


"Well, what did you do?"

"I found buildings I liked and rode the elevator to the top, then back down again."

"That's it?"

"Then I took pictures of the buildings."

Just another reason why most people just don't get me. Seriously, it's the best vacation I can think of.

The Chicago Water Tower was built in 1869 and designed by architect William W. Boyington.  I love that it looks more like a European Castle than a public works facility.

I love the John Hancock Center because it's one of the places my Dad took me the first time I ever visited Chicago.  Atop, you can see views of four states, but looking up from the bottom, you just see this golden black glint - and that's my favorite viewpoint. 

Lake Point Tower is a luxury condominium space and people pay many thousands of dollars to live in it each year, but all I want to do every time I get a glimpse of it is lick the outside of the building.

The Lurie Children's Memorial Hospital is a fairly cool glass building, but my favorite thing about it is this window.

The Wrigley Building is almost always described as "a luscious birthday cake down whose sides someone had drawn his fingers."  Frankly, I don't see it.  But this is my favorite view.  I want to live in that walkway.

The Allerton Hotel still looks pretty majestic, despite the fact that it's been dwarfed by all the skyscrapers surrounding it.  What do you expect from a building that's stood since 1923?

The Aqua Building is one of the coolest residential buildings I know.  I would give vital parts of my anatomy to live in it - or just have a tent on one of the balconies.  I wish I'd have gotten close enough to it in my travels to take a really good picture of it on this trip, but that's a reason to go back soon.  There are awesome photos of it on the web.  Particularly here and here.

The Associates Center, which I will continue to call it until I die (because Smurfit-Stone Center, Stone Container Building and Crain Communications Building just don't cut it) is my absolute favorite structure in Chicago.  It is also almost impossible to photograph unless you're getting a whole city scape from the water or you're in a helicopter.  Still, my favorite view of this building is looking up from right at the foot.

One of my favorite Art Deco buildings, the Carbon and Carbide, now houses the Hard Rock Hotel, which... actually... makes me sad. But it's still pretty cool inside if you can get over the "chain" of it all.

I hate to even include the Trump Tower of Chicago because it bears the name of a man I have so little respect for, I couldn't fill a bee's thimble with my esteem.  But I have a ton of respect for Adrian Smith.  So I'm gonna let the unfortunate name of the building slide and hope that when Trump eventually goes bankrupt due to his constant media whoring, some company buys it and gives it a better name. Perhaps "Good Hank."

Not a great view of Two Prudential Plaza but I enjoyed looking at it from the shadow of Marina City.  And if you ever have an argument with your kid about using Wikipedia as a resource for research papers in school, just point out that this article uses the technical description "super tall skyscraper."

Prentice Women's Hospital was designed by Bertrand Goldberg, who also did the Marina City towers.  I think he must have loved Round. If they tear this building down, I will cry.

And who knows better than Louis Sullivan?