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Bridget Gleeson Travel Writer

My mom and I were looking for the toy camera exhibit.
Last-minute hits: the Windy City

It’s a bittersweet fact of travel – we discover some of our favorite things about a place in the moments before we leave it.

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I’ve been in Chicago for three months. Soon I’ll be off to sunnier destinations: Spain, Portugal, Argentina, California. But as the Windy City thaws out, I’ve seen a few things that I like.

I like them, I really like them!

Chicago History Museum exhibit on the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893

Chicago History Museum exhibit on the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893

I have a strong aversion to reading the popular novel of the moment. I guess that's why I passed on 'Devil in the White City' when everyone else in my family was reading it - and now I don't know anything about the world's first ferris wheel or the serial killer who stalked the city's young women. I can't get over how lavish this event was. Obviously I'm ordering the book now. I'm always late to the party, as it turns out.

Louis Sullivan's Idea at the Chicago Cultural Center.

Louis Sullivan's Idea at the Chicago Cultural Center.

Recommended to me by a friend. I'm embarrassed to say I didn't know who Louis Sullivan was a few weeks ago - I'll blame the winter weather (again!) for the fact that I haven't been on one of the architecture-themed boat cruises. Anyway, fabulous exhibit with a model of the Chicago Stock Exchange and an interesting panel on Sullivan's youthful ambition contrasted with his depression and alcoholism late in life.

The cultural center is located in the former public library.

The cultural center is located in the former public library.

My mom and I were looking for the toy camera exhibit.

We saw a pair of Louis Comfort Tiffany's glass domes here.

We saw a pair of Louis Comfort Tiffany's glass domes here.

One, located over the former circulation desk, was his largest and dates from 1897. The restoration cost upwards of $2 million.

Window (and secondhand) shopping in Lakeview.

Window (and secondhand) shopping in Lakeview.

Scored a pair of vintage sundresses, a cotton spring jacket and an Italian leather bag for this week's trip to Spain. Speaking of cool window displays, my clever and ever-stylish friend Jaclyn, who's currently a design student in Chicago, was just accepted as a visual display intern at Anthropologie this summer. Talk about a dream job.

Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie House

Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie House

The women in my family have become full-blown FLW groupies. We read the books. We visit the houses. We can't get enough.

Palmer House

Palmer House

This glamorous hotel had its grand opening 12 (or 13?) days before the great Chicago fire. (As my sister Liz would say, 'what a bust!') After it was rebuilt, Charles Dickens and Oscar Wilde slept here and Judy Garland, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra performed in the dining room.

We sat down for coffee and cookies in the lobby's Lockwood Bar.

We sat down for coffee and cookies in the lobby's Lockwood Bar.

Walking along the lake beaches.

Walking along the lake beaches.

It's been bitterly cold this winter, so we haven't been able to appreciate the shoreline - even though we live close to the water. A couple of times I tried to walk by the lake, but my takeaway coffee chilled quickly in my hands and the wind cut through my wool coat. It started to feel like spring this week because we could actually walk out on the pier without suffering too much.

Mark Morris Dance Group at the Harris Theatre

Mark Morris Dance Group at the Harris Theatre

Loved the orchestra, opera singers and diaphanous costumes, though the 'Death of Socrates' act went right over my head.

Kopi - A Traveler's Cafe

Kopi - A Traveler's Cafe

I was walking down the street in Andersonville and I knew I had to stop here; they had hundreds of Lonely Planet books (represent!) and hot spiced wine. The menu said it's a 'French cafe classic' but I associate it more with the Christmas markets of Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic. Ah... memories.