In the battle of east and west, the Midwest is often overlooked. While the region may not be a popular destination on people’s travel lists, Chicago should be on everyone’s top list of cities to visit.
You might not get an ocean view, but the Riverwalk along the Chicago River, or the shoreline of Lake Michigan against Navy Pier make up for it. The Willis Tower may only be the second-tallest building in the country, but it offers a birds eye view of the whole city that will make it hard to not fall in love with. No matter what time of year you visit, Chicago has something for everybody and a uniqueness you won’t find anywhere else. Here is my guide to the Windy City, but by no means do not limit yourself to it.
Where to Stay
Fortunately my brother lives in Chicago so I always have a place to stay, but for those not as fortunate I highly recommend using Airbnb. The first time I visited, I used the travel app and stayed in a house in the Lakeview neighborhood. What’s nice about staying in someone’s home, rather than a hotel, is that you really get immersed into the city. Another great thing about Chicago, it doesn’t matter where you stay because they have an incredible public transportation system that‘s super easy to understand and use.
What to See
Art Institute of Chicago – Chicago is flooded with different museums for every type of person, out of all of the ones I’ve been to the Art Institute sticks out most to me. Before you even get inside, the architecture of the building alone is incredible, with two bronze lion statues guarding each side. The Institute houses art from all different periods and artists from around the world, including classics like Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, Rene Magritte and Andy Warhol.
Wrigley Field – Home to the Cubs, or more appropriately last year’s World Series winners, Wrigley Field is a must-see in the city. Catch a ballgame if you’re visiting during their season, or take a behind-the-scenes tour of the stadium.
Lincoln Park Zoo – The great thing about the Lincoln Park Zoo is that it is completely free to visit. They have every kind of animal that you would expect a zoo to have, and more.
Millennium Park/Grant Park – Another must-see in the Windy City is Millennium Park. There’s an array of sculptures like the bean, free outdoor concerts, public art and the list goes on. A few blocks down is Grant Park, also referred to as Chicago’s “front yard.” When the weather is nice, stroll through the park and take in the city. If you plan to go during the summertime I highly suggest getting tickets to Lollapalooza, one of the country’s widely-known music festivals that completely takes over the park.
Where to Eat
If there is absolutely one thing you have to do in Chicago, it is try the pizza and hot dogs. It’s difficult to find a pizza that is comparable to New Haven style (because it’s the best), butdeep-dish pizza is no joke. Giordano’s in Chicago is my personal favorite, plus Lou Malnati’s is also a popular contender. What’s awesome about these two places as well, is that you can get their pizza shipped to you anywhere in the country.
Now for the Chicago-styled hot dog– it consists of yellow mustard, onions, sweet green pickle relish, a pickle spear, tomato wedges, sport peppers and celery salt. My go-to place is Chubby Wiener (yes, you read that right) because they have a vegetarian version of the American classic, but hot dogs are not hard to screw up so you can find a good one anywhere.