When I travel, I like to look for virtual caches. Not only do they bring me to pretty awesome spots that I would want to visit as a tourist anyways but they often also teach me something that I would have missed otherwise. This means the 4,000 new virtual caches that Geocaching HQ awarded last year have ended up being a boon for me! My prior visits to Chicago were kind of a bust as far as geocaching was concerned because of the scarcity in the downtown area. So you wouldn’t believe how excited I was when I opened up my app and noticed a slew of new virtual caches pop up for the Grant Park area! Moreover, the GEO was thrilled at not having to dig through trash like he usually does when he is looking for traditional urban caches for me.
The historic Hilton Chicago where we were staying was a perfect starting point for exploring the South Loop area by foot from the Art Institute down to Soldier Field. In between these two landmarks are the park and multiple world class museums, which is why the area is aptly named Museum Campus.
As a big fan of Impressionist paintings, I love stopping in at the Art Institute of Chicago. It is home to such iconic paintings as A Sunday on La Grande Jatte and American Gothic, major works one would study in a college art history class. I could spend days here and still not see everything. Just outside, you can easily complete the steps for claiming GC7B6B1 (Art Institute of Chicago).
Next, make your way over to Buckingham Fountain. This centerpiece of Grant Park is one of the largest fountains in the world, coming in at twice the size of the Latona Basin in Versailles, which it is modeled after. At night, the fountain has a light and music display, which I hope to see one day. If you find yourself needing to hydrate, stop for an adult beverage at the snack stand nearby. This is also GZ for GC73FD (Passing the Buck), an easy “grab” for anyone attending the epic Taste of Chicago food festival that happens here each summer.
Heading further south along the lake, you will finally reach Museum Campus. I highly recommend a visit to the Shedd Aquarium. It is not only the most architecturally stunning aquarium I have ever been in, but the collection is also one of the largest and best I have ever seen. There are Beluga whales swimming around inside! On my bucket list for a future trip is hitting the Field Museum for dinosaurs and Egyptian artifacts, two of my favorites!
Not having grown up a football fan because the Raiders ditched Island in my formative years, I gained an appreciation for the sport as an adult after participating in several fantasy football leagues, so it was pretty cool to end my walk with a visit to Soldier Field, home of da Bears. This is an absolutely gorgeous facility. The designers did a beautiful job blending the stadiums original classic design with an updated modern facade. I would love to see a game here but I don’t know if football season is a good time for a California girl to be sitting around outdoors in Chicago.
I love this virtual because there are so many options to log it. Needless to say, I was so enamored with every spot I came across for GC7B9M3 (Museum Campus – Chicago) I stopped and posed at every waypoint I came across. Thanks for all the picture taking, GEO!
Believe it or not, visiting these virtual caches ended up being one of the best days I ever spent in Chicago. Geocacher or not, making one’s way over to this area should be on the top of every Chicago sightseer’s list.