Running in Chicago experience

Chicago. This legendary, rebellious, and industrial city until the end of the 20th century, did not miss the turn of modernity of the 2000s. Rehabilitating its brownfields and the Lake Michigan shores, Chicago entered the 21st century, heads-up, and can face the future quite serenely…

So yes this city deserves its urbirun route, because of its history, its location, and its spirit…

And I personally guarantee that you will not be disappointed…

NB : you can watch a short video of this run on urbirun’s youtube channel, right here. Or simply down here, at the end of this post.

Our running exploration of the city began at the foot of the Pittsfield Building in the heart of the Loop, downtown Chicago, surrounded by the loops of its famous sky train rails. And what better than this Pittsfield Building to symbolize Chicago, since this skyscraper seems coming straight out of Tintin in America… and close to the city’s iconic Theatre

And let’s run, heading to the Chicago River, which we cross with the DuSable Bridge. This approach gives a magnificent view to the Wrigley Building, as well as the Tribune Tower so representative of the historic architecture of the city that saw the first skyscrapers bloom. These two buildings mark the southern end of the Magnificent Mile, that we run up (in fact no, it’s flat, but as we are running north…

The Magnificent Mile is the Champs-Elysees of Chi-town: a wide avenue, lined with luxury shops, and along the avenue, you will also find the Chicago Water Tower, a century-old historical monument, and the famous Hancock Building, 100 floors and 344m high

We follow the avenue all the way to Lake Michigan, you get to it across a small underground pedestrian tunnel (do not worry, urbirun explains it to you very well).

Once on the shore of the lake, at Oak Street Beach, we head back south, enjoying a magnificent view of the legendary skyline of the Midwestern capital.

The lake on the left, sparkling blue under the June sun, the city on the right, and in front, the black and massive silhouette of the Hancock Building. It’s time to take your souvenir picture…

We keep running along the Lakefront Trail, a pedestrian path and a paradise for runners and cyclists. In front of us, the large wheel of the Navy Pier stands out to the left of the imposing silhouette of the Lake Point Tower.

urbirun gives us the choice: go around the Navy Pier, or continue along the lake. Going around the pier extends the route with about one mile, but it’s worth it. On the way back on the south side of pier, the view of the city is magnificent.

Listening to urbirun, we are guided to the Chicago River, which seems to flow in the bottom of vertiginous gorges, made of steep and high buildings. It’s amazing, and yet you do not feel oppressed between these glass cliffs. The River Walk (Chicago Riverwalk) is beautifully landscaped, it’s a real delight to run there. We are at the water level, under bridges, quiet. (but we recommend you to run in the morning, it can be very crowded in the afternoon). It is at the end of this promenade that we go back on a bridge to cross the river.

Turn left”, “go straight along the river”, “turn left and cross the bridge”: the directions are clear, and here we face the Sears Tower, the tallest building in the city, now called the Willis Tower: 527m with its antenna, this building was the largest in the world from 1973 to 1998, with 108 floors, and it is still the 2nd highest on the american continent.

And here we are again in the Loop, under the creaking skeleton of the sky train. Urbirun leads us to the iconic Route 66, which starts here, in the heart of the city, and ends at Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles (you can run the other end of this iconic route on the Urbirun Los Angeles tour).

We then enter the parks area, former brownfields magnificently redeveloped: we start with the Maggie Daley Park, from which we reach the Millennium Park thanks to an aluminium footbridge that wiggles like a snake, made by the architect Frank Gehry .

And here we are in front of the Cloud, the famous giant bean, which shimmers in the sun, perfectly smooth, and in which the whole city is superbly reflected. The perfect place to end this run, which really goes beyond what you would think of this city … Chicago, you rock !!!

Explore Chicago running on your own too, download our free tour here and urbirun Chicago !

PS : thank you silvia @silvia7one for the beautiful pictures


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