Thursday, December 10, 2015

Fighting the Cold On A Wintry Chicago Day

Chicago has great museums, a magnificent lakefront, fabulous architecture, and many other wonderful attractions. I usually recommend that people visit here between the middle of April to about the middle of November when the weather is pleasant or at least bearable so they can enjoy being outside to see all the great things that Chicago has to offer.

There is a way to enjoy Chicago in the winter, however. I don’t know why the city of Chicago doesn’t give it more publicity. That way is utilizing the Pedway. This system of underground walkways in downtown Chicago is quite extensive connecting many buildings and subway stations to each other. One can use it to navigate a good part of Chicago’s downtown to avoid going outside when it’s too cold or rainy.

The Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF) at, which gives about 80 walking tours of various parts of Chicago, gives two walking tours of the Pedway-Pedway East and Pedway West. Since we’d already taken the Pedway East tour, we decided to take the Pedway West tour last week.

Our tour began on the lower level of Block 37 at the Guest Services Desk. This block has gone through many changes but is now being used to house stores, restaurants, an AMC movie theatre, and will soon have a Condo building. Prior to the tour, we ate lunch in the building at Latinicity, a

lower level of Block 37 
new Latino fusion restaurant. Only open a few weeks, it is already very busy. Word must have gotten out about how good it is.

After lunch, we met up with the CAF tour. Our docent Roy Slewinski did a great job of ushering us through the labyrinth known as the Pedway. He pointed out the Pedway’s logo that one can see on the walls and use as a guideline to follow throughout the network of walkways. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough of these logos and it would be difficult to find your way relying solely on them. Thinking of everything, Roy provided us with maps of the Pedway. These would be helpful for anyone unfamiliar with it. I think it would be great if the Chicago tourist office handed these maps out to anyone visiting Chicago in the winter.


Pedway Logo
Walking through the Pedway, we went up to the Richard J. Daley Center, the County Building, the 120 N. LaSalle Building, the Leo Burnett Building, and the James R. Thompson State of Illinois Building and several others. Along the way, we learned something about the architecture and the history of these buildings and about the Pedway itself. It was a cold, rainy day, but who cared? We didn’t have to go outside for any of it.

at the Daley Center looking across at the Burnham Center

lobby of the State of Illinois Building looking up

lobby of the Marriott Renaissance Hotel

The CAF offers the Pedway Tours from October through February. You can check the CAF website for details of their schedule. I highly recommend this tour.

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