House Sitting in Chicago, the City in a Garden
Incorporated in 1837, Chicago chose as its motto “City in a Garden”, an apt reference to its many parks and gardens. House sitting in the Chicago will bring you into a city that has more than 550 parks with almost 3,000 hectares. In addition, the city has over 30 park beaches, 10 bird and wildlife gardens and 16 historic lagoons. All this green space is further expanded by the Cook County Forest Preserves. This is an entire network of open spaces designated as natural areas consisting of forests, wetlands, prairies, streams and lakes. Visiting the famous sites of Chicago will invariably take you to many of these parks.
The Chicago Loop - In downtown Chicago,The Loop is the commercial center, the theater and shopping area and site of the seat of government of Chicago and Cook County. Almost 30,000 people live in The Loop which has one of highest prices of real estate in the city. The historic landmarks in The Loop include the first skyscraper, the Home Insurance Building; Willis (formerly Sears) Tower, the tallest in the USA; and the Chicago Board of Trade Building, which is a national historic landmark. These buildings are artfully spaced throughout the area giving the skyline a bridge-like look.
Art in The Loop starts on the street with outdoor sculpture created by artists like Picasso, Joan Miró, Henry Moore and Marc Chagall. The Art Institute of Chicago, the Chicago Theater, Lyric Opera, Civic Opera House and Chicago Symphony Orchestra are all found in The Loop. The lakefront area is devoted to recreational parks such as Grant Park, where you find the Buckingham Fountain, the Petrillo Bandshell, Jaume Plensa's Crown Fountain and Anish Kapoor's Cloud Gate sculpture. At Grant Park, the Grant Park Symphony offers free concerts during the summer and a two-week food festival called The Taste of Chicago offers different kinds of foods from more than 70 vendors.
North Side - Outside of the downtown area, the North Side has the highest population density in Chicago, thanks to the many high-rises along the lakefront. Here you can find Lincoln Park, a 490 hectare park by the waterfront which houses the Lincoln Park Zoo and the Lincoln Park Conservatory. The largest collection of contemporary art outside of New York City can be found in the River North neighborhood, while in the Jefferson Park area, the Taste of Polonia Festival is celebrated during the Labor Day weekend every year.
South Side and West Side - This area is the academic face of Chicago, housing the University of Chicago and the Museum of Science and Industry in Jackson Park. Burnham Park, Washington Park and the Midway Plaisance are also in the South Side. Every year, the Bud Billiken Day parade, one of the city's largest is held here. Most of the facilities of the Port of Chicago are in the South Side as is a Ford assembly plant.
The West Side has a strong Latino influence and is where the Puerto Rican Day parade is held. The Institute of Puerto Rican Arts can be found in Humboldt Park, the National Museum of Mexican Art in Humboldt Park while the Garfield Park Conservatory is also another West Side feature.