Chicago City and Travel Guide
If you were to head to Chicago’s O’Hare Airport and ask tourists who were on their way out of town what they thought of their adventure, the one phrase that would pop up again and again would be, “We had no idea there was so much to do,” followed by, “We’ve already decided to come back and see everything else as soon as possible!” Let’s face it, when most folks think about the ultimate family vacation, Chicago isn’t exactly on the top of the list. Places like Orlando or a tropical island or even cities like Seattle or New Orleans are often mentioned above this Midwestern capital. It’s not that the city doesn’t have powerful spokespeople working to enhance its imagine. Both Oprah and current US President Barack Obama call the Chicago area home and spend most of their free time trying to get you and everyone else to visit, but Chicago has been overshadowed for decades by its larger, older brother New York and by the warm climate and movie stars of Los Angeles. Chicago only boasts incredible restaurants, amazing art galleries, top flight museums, dozens of parks and more to do than you can possibly imagine. If you are making a list of prime destinations this spring, summer or fall, you might want to consider moving Chicago to the top of the list.
What most people will notice about Chicago when they first arrive here is the immense size of the place, but the feeling that it is just a spread out small town. You never get that impression walking the walled streets of Manhattan, but even the densest downtown neighborhoods here have a more open, friendly feel that beacons you to explore. This feeling is magnified greatly by the people here. The idea of Midwesterners being friendlier than people on either coast has become such a cliché that most people don’t believe it any longer, but for the most part, it is still very true. People you don’t know will hold doors for you, make direct eye contact with you on the street and smile and offer assistance if you are stuck on a street corner reading a map. You won’t find that in many other places (save other Midwestern spots like Minneapolis and New Orleans.) This is still a very industrial city but new technologies have transformed this city to a great degree and it is now as modern as any spot on the globe.
If you want to get a feel for the city before you arrive, consider delving into the rich and colorful history this city offers. From organized crime to legendary politics, books on the past of Chicago could fill up an entire library. Even during the 2008 presidential election, accusations were thrown about that referred to the cities’ colorful and often times corrupt political past.
Chicago is a massive city that sits on the shores of Lake Michigan. You can still swim in it during a warm summer day, assuming you can find a spot on one of the cities beaches to put your towel down. If you can pull yourself away from the lapping waves for a moment, you can begin to explore all of the various attractions and neighborhoods here. Grab a ticket to Wrigley Field to see the Cubs, even if you only stay long enough to have a hot dog and walk around. Check out the world class shopping throughout the city and be sure to see a show or two at one of Chicago’s classic theatres. The amount of fun you can have here is essentially limitless, so book that flight, grab a map and don’t be afraid to ask a local for directions. You’ll likely be greeted with a smile, a knowing nod and perfect directions to where you need to go.