Our hotel is at the northern end of the ‘Magnificent Mile’ (Michigan Avenue). After inadvertently eating a lunchtime pizza at famous Gino’s (we wondered why our pizzas took so long!) we walked down the Mile to Millenium Park. Chicago was really sweltering today (well over 100° F), so we were aiming at the cool indoors of the Art Institute. On the way, though, we stopped off at Anish Kapoor’s iconic public sculpture, Cloud Gate, which has clearly become an integral part of the city’s urban fabric and interacts so well with the skyscrapers behind it and the crowds around it, like a gigantic version of a fairground mirror. Behind it, we visited the Frank Gehry-designed Pritzker Pavilion, with its cleverly-designed spans bringing all of the audience in the adjoining park into the intimacy of the performing space, and just opposite Renzo Piano’s modern wing of the Art Institute. But we headed first to the original Art Institute and, as my little picture illustrates (I was trying to look suitably Gothic), it is jam-packed full of well-known works, both European (Monet, Renoir, Matisse, Cézanne, Toulouse-Latrec, Seurat, Van Gogh) and American (including Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks), as well as containing a wealth of less well-known but equally precious works and objects. The modern wing is just as rewarding. (My favourite work there was Charles Ray’s Hinoki.) Afterwards, I bowed out of a visit to the Sears Tower (now re-baptised as the Willis Tower), for long the tallest building in the world and one that I find rather ugly (certainly when compared with the Hancock Tower). An Irish pub dinner rounded off a hectic, and very hot, day. My younger brother lived in Chicago for a while and had given me the addresses of a number of jazz clubs, but with only one night in the city and potential restrictions on entry for our young companions (ID requests for any drinks are a constant refrain), we decided we’d have to give them a miss this time.