Since it’s opening in 1927, the Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel in Chicago has only had two doormen. 2010 marks the 39th year that Taha “Tom” Alaraj has welcomed visitors to the historic property, earning the title “Mayor of Walton Place” by neighborhood locals and returning guests. Now, Tom shares his top five “must-sees” for visitors coming through The Windy City:
Oak Street Beach: Formed from sand washing up against the northern side of “Streeterville,” Oak Street Beach is known by the locals as the best beach in all of Chicago. Located off of Michigan Avenue, this stretch of sand offers a haven to inline skaters, cyclists, volleyball enthusiasts and sunbathers.
Lincoln Park Zoo: One of the nation’s oldest zoos, the free Lincoln Park Zoo houses 1200 animals representing 230 species. Located in Lincoln Park, the zoo also holds yoga classes on “Nature Boardwalk,” and hosts a children’s zoo and paddleboats for visitors.
John Hancock Observatory: Located on the 94th floor of the John Hanckock Center, the John Hancock Observatory is complete with full 360 degree views of the city, up to four states and over 80 miles. The Observatory has Chicago’s only open-air SkyWalk and also features a free multimedia tour in six languages.
Art Institute of Chicago: The world-renowned Art Institute of Chicago houses both a museum and school, with one of the most notable collections of impressionist and Post-Impressionist art. Its holdings also include American art, European and American decorative arts, Asian art and modern and contemporary art. At one million square feet, it is the second largest art museum in the United States.
Chicago Cultural Center: As the nation’s first free municipal cultural center, the Chicago Cultural Center is one of the city’s most popular attractions and is considered one of the most comprehensive arts showcases in the United States. The stunning landmark building is home to two magnificent stained-glass domes, as well as more than 1,000 programs and exhibitions.