Harold Washington Library Center, Chicago, IL

We’ve spent the week in Chicago while my husband attended the Joint Statistical Meeting. One of the things we like to do to relax while we’re in a big city is spend some time in the library. Big city libraries can be quite impressive. So, we searched out the main library in Chicago and checked it out.

As expected in Chicago, where there are numerous architectural tours and every other skyscraper has a name, the front of the Harold Washington Library Center was quite imposing.

A ground floor door

A ground floor door

The side view. It was hard to get a good view of the building because it was close to the metro line.

The side view. It was hard to get a good view of the building because it was close to the metro line.

While we usually head straight to the children’s section so the kids can read graphic novels (they’re quick, so you can finish the whole thing in one setting), I like to look around the building. Big libraries like this usually have some impressive artwork, and Chicago didn’t disappoint.

The lights on the ground floor.

The lights on the ground floor.

Make sure you go up all the escalators to see what each floor has to offer. Mr. Curiosity and I were impressed with this bit of art:

The ceiling above the second floor escalators

The ceiling above the second floor escalators

Turns out it’s made of dog tags – one for every soldier who died because of the Vietnam War.

And don’t forget to go all the way up to the ninth floor where there’s a winter garden. This would be an awesome place to visit in the winter to get a bit of sun without the cold and wind.

The winter gardens on the top floor.

The winter gardens on the top floor.

Overall, a hidden little gem and a great way to kill an hour or more in some air conditioning and sitting down.

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