You can grab a hot dog from Papa Chris's across the street and make a day of it.
Niles, Illinois is a suburb of Chicago close to O'Hare airport with a terrific eccentric roadside attraction: a half-size replica of the Leaning Tower of Pisa in front of a YMCA. As you tool past motels, light industries and old strip malls on West Toughy Avenue, it appears like a beacon and it's surprisingly large and not tacky. Incongruous, maybe, but not tacky. In fact, it's quite beautiful. It was built in 1934 by industrialist Robert Ilg as part of a recreation park for employees of the Ilg Hot Air Electric Ventilating Company of Chicago. It was also is an elaborately decorative water storage tower for outdoor recreational swimming pools. In the early 1960s Ilg's family donated the land so the YMCA could be built and in 1991, the city of Niles established sister-city status with Pisa and spiffed up the place with fountains and nicer landscaping. I hope to make it to Pisa some day, but until I do I've got the next best thing to hold me over. Bravo, Niles! Bello!
This blog is devoted to old fashioned American roadside attractions... the wonderfully big, bizarre, crazy, wacky, quirky, weird, funny, unique and mundane sites you see travelling cross-country by car in the USA, where getting there really is all the fun!