The first day of official exploring began fairly innocuously. I explored the less useful / less interesting part of the Pedway that begins at the nicely appointed Art Nouveau-style Paris Metro entrance on Michigan and Van Buren. From outside it looks like you are about to descend to a place that looks historic and pleasantly designed, but once underground it is ugly and functional – with a pathway east-west to the Van Buren Street Metra Station platforms, and north-south along the Grant Park South Garage.
The north most part of the Pedway here ends at Jackson Blvd., so I had to head up to street level and the blistering heat.
I continued walking north along Michigan Avenue, and ducked down into the Pedway again just north of Monroe Street. Again the Pedway was part of the underground parking garage, this time the Grant Park North Garage. It was a toss-up whether it was warmer underground or at street level, as the path was largely alongside air-conditioning vents, which nosily blasted hot air. Around Randolph Street things improved, with cooler air-conditioning and a more tourist-friendly décor as the Pedway became part of Millennium Station. I grabbed a very quick lunch at Market Creations Café (in Prudential Plaza – the Pedway exits here), and then rapidly got lost amidst the passageways below the Aon Centre and Hyatt Regency Hotel. Luckily there was a map to help me orient myself.
Here the Pedway largely resembles an out-of-town shopping mall, with food courts, hairdressers and newsagents. Coming from the grungy parts of the parking garage it feels a little surreal.
I headed back south and exited at Boulevard Towers where Lake Street meets Michigan Avenue. A somewhat surreal, but fun lunch break.