There are a lot of awesome cities close to Fort Wayne if you want to take a weekend trip to escape your daily routine.
Detroit has amazing architecture, Toledo has museums, Indianapolis has an exciting speedway. But the best city in the region to visit is Chicago because it has it all and then some.
Chicago is known for its architecture. The Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower), which is the third tallest building in the United States (New York's One World Trade Center is first and Central Park Tower is second), rules the city's skyline. If you're brave, you can step onto the glass box that extends more than 4 feet out from its Skydeck.
The St. Regis Chicago is the tallest structure in the world designed by a woman. The skyscraper has glass patterns with different shades that cause the building to stand out among Chicago's many buildings.
A great way to see Chicago's architecture is to take its famous river architecture tour. You can also just stare at the city's skyline and, as the sun sets, enjoy the colorful sky that enhances its beauty.
Chicago also is known for its museums. The Art Institute of Chicago, established in 1879, is one of the oldest and largest art museums in the world. It is home to the famous painting “The Bedroom” by Vincent van Gogh. Every time I visit, I see something I missed in my previous visits.
The Field Museum, a natural history museum, has nearly 40 million specimens and artifacts, including Sue, the largest Tyrannosaurus in the world, which towers over visitors. We are lucky that Sue is not alive today or she would eat the visitors.
Chicago is a sports town. It has two Major League baseball teams. The Chicago Cubs, winner of the 2016 World Series, and the Chicago White Sox, winner of the 2005 World Series.
It has a professional hockey team: The Chicago Blackhawks, winner of five Stanley Cups. It has a professional basketball team – the popular Chicago Bulls. In the '90s, the Bulls seemed almost unstoppable, winning six championships. And it is home to a professional football team, “da Bears.” The Bears won one Super Bowl in 1985.
It is home to the Chicagoland Speedway, a 1.5-mile tri-oval speedway that opened in 2001 and hosted the NASCAR Cup Series until 2019. So pick your sports and book your tickets.
Chicago knows how to take advantage of its shoreline along Lake Michigan. The city has beaches and 18 miles of paved pathways that edge the water. It is great for bike rides or walks. There is also the 3,300-foot-long Navy Pier. It has dining, shopping, concerts and the Centennial Wheel, a ferris wheel that offers spectacular views of Chicago's skyline.
Chicago is where Route 66 begins. If you want to drive cross county, the legendary route will take you through the states of Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.
You can travel to Chicago from Fort Wayne by plane, train, or automobile.
By automobile, it is at least a two-and-a-half-hour drive, and you may encounter stress from traffic, not to mention shock from the cost of parking in the city.
American Airlines has direct flights that can cost as little as $140 round trip. At O'Hare airport, you catch the Blue Line and arrive in the heart of downtown.
By train, you can catch the Amtrak from Waterloo and arrive in two hours. Tickets can be as little as $52 round trip.
But no matter how you get there, you arrive in a city that has plenty to offer.