Chicago, Illinois

Chicago is such a great city – there’s so much to see and do. The architecture is fantastic, there’s great shopping, fabulous restaurants and a myriad of activities that will keep you occupied during your stay. Here are some of my favourite things about Chicago…

  1. The unique architecture – I’m a big fan of cities with interesting architecture (Gothic being my favourite style) and Chicago certainly does not disappoint in this area. There are so many beautiful buildings here and you can see many of them by taking an Architectural Boat Tour (there are a few companies offering this tour; we chose Wendella Boats and they were fantastic). As we passed by the buildings along the river, the tour guide explained each buildings history and architectural details. This really is a must if you find yourself in the windy city, even if only for a few days. Strolling through the city, you will also come across some pretty interesting buildings. I really liked neo-Gothic structure The Tribune Tower as its exterior is quite unique – stones from sites such as the Great Wall of China & the Great Pyramid of Giza are embedded on its surface.

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2. The Purple Pig restaurantThe Purple Pig which is located on Michigan Avenue along the Magnificent Mile, is one of my all time favourite restaurants. They have a substantial tapas style menu that is both unique and diverse. Their turkey leg confit and chorizo are to die for, not to mention the loukoumades for dessert. There is almost always a wait but trust me, it’s worth it – have a seat on their patio and enjoy a drink until your table is ready.

3. Shopping on the Magnificent Mile – I’m not a big shopper but I will admit, the shopping along this well known district really is great. It has everything from Anthropologie to Betsey Johnson; average to high-end retailers and everything in between. The Magnificent Mile also has some great bars and restaurants for when you (or your credit card) need a break from all the shopping.

4. Museum of Science & Industry – When I was in Chicago, I stopped by the Museum of Science & Industry because they were featuring the exhibit Animal Inside Out (by Dr. Gunther von Hagens who created the amazing Body Worlds exhibit). This fascinating exhibit allows you to explore the inner workings of over 100 specimens. I really enjoyed this exhibit as well as the rest of the museum – the weather centre and U-505 submarine exhibits were my favourites. It’s a great place to spend an afternoon and you will certainly learn something new along the way.

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Animal Inside Out exhibit at the Museum of Science & Industry.

5. Millennium ParkMillennium Park is home to the well known sculpture Cloud Gate AKA The Bean (the nickname given to the sculpture because of its shape). This free park is a great place to spend an afternoon soaking up the scenery, checking out a nearby museum or taking in one of Chicago’s many wonderful events that are held here such as the Chicago Jazz Festival.

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6. The deep dish pizza – What can I say, I’m Italian and I love my pizza. I usually prefer thin-crust style pizza but the deep dish at Gino’s East Pizzeria was delicious. Keep in mind that it takes a while to cook, as it’s pretty thick, so if you’re in a rush you might want to try something else or save it for a day when you have time to spare. There is usually a lineup as well because some of these popular establishments do not take reservations for small parties – we asked our hotel which one to try and they were able to get us in rather quickly at Gino’s; it’s always worth asking the concierge.

7. The festivals – I was in Chicago for the 35th annual Jazz Festival. I’m not even a big Jazz fan but I had a great time at Millennium Park, where the festival was held. There always seems to be some sort of concert or festival happening in Chicago – it’s a great atmosphere whether you are enjoying the Pride Parade, the Chicago International Film Festival or Macy’s Flower Show.

Thanks for the great time Chicago – I will certainly be back visit you soon!

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