Phew, if you made through all that architecture and history bit from the last long story you're going to love this part!
Keep in mind, I now live in New Mexico where things are old and historical and significant but all that comes in a very very different package.
Chicago is cold in late December/early January. So, what to do? Stay at a hotel watching TV? Nah (although we did watch an awful lot of the Food Network)! Instead you go out to sightseeing and stopping in at whatever kind of place you happen to find when you finally can't take any more of the cold and biting wind. Sometimes it's a coffee shop, sometimes it's a CVS or a Walgreens, and sometimes it's the Chicago Cultural Center.
The Chicago Cultural Center is 1/2 government owned and 1/2 public space but it's 100% awesome. It used to be a library but now it hosts special events, exhibits, and it can even be rented for weddings or other private parties.
There are two parts to the building. If you change stairways you end up in a completely different wing. Randolph MusicCafé,Studio Theater, Dance Studio, Michigan Avenue Galleries, Landmark Chicago Gallery, In the other you have, Claudia Cassidy Theater, Grand Army of the Republic Rotunda, Hall, and Annex Healy Millet Dome.
Even with all those amazing sounding things, the two best parts are the two stained glass domes.
First, you have the world's largest stained glass Tiffany Dome. It's 38 feet in diameter and has more than 30,000 pieces of glass. It's amazing.
It's in the old library which also a thing to marvel at. Here are some photos:
|World's Largest Tiffany Dome|
|Original Library and Tiffany Dome|
The other dome is in the other part of the building. It's done by Healy and Millet and it is a 40-foot dome with even more glass. This dome is in the Grand Army of the Republic Memorial - a huge hall. The carpet is amazing as are the windows and the view they provide. The dome here is in a Renaissance pattern. Here's some more photos:
|Grand Army of the Republic Memorial|
|Grand Army of the Republic Memorial Dome|
There are also some amazing stairs and archways that you've just to to see to believe. But just so you get an idea...
|Library Stairs and Arches|
While we were there we also toured some outdoor public art but since it was so cold we didn't stay out for very long. The two most impressive parts were Marc Chagall's Four Seasons glass mosaic in the financial district. The mosaic is 70 feet long and 14 feet high and contains glass from more than 12 countries.
But don't forget the reason why we went to Chicago.
This guy right here: