Not only is Chicago a city that I love, it is also a city in which I’ve thought of attending college. In this spirit, I decided to combine my summer trip with college visits in order to get the most of both practicality and amusement. By the end of my trip, I felt as though I had managed to explore more of the heart and soul of the city (at least, as much as you can during a one week period).
Chicago, like many other cities, has no shortage of hotels, but choosing the proper location is key. My mom and I elected to stay on Michigan Avenue at the Allerton Hotel, due to it’s central location that allowed us access to a number of our destinations, including Roosevelt University in the Loop, DePaul University in Lincoln Park, as well as Navy Pier and The Shedd Aquarium. Chicago is a city of almost limitless transport opportunities, be it taxis, buses, the El, the Metra trains, water taxis or even horse drawn carriages, as well as walking. However, even the process of getting from place to place is never dull due to all the scenic views of the soaring skyscrapers, richly cultural neighborhoods and glimpses of the oceanic Lake Michigan that accompany it.
No matter what kind of cuisine you prefer to indulge in, Chicago will have a remarkable place to consume it. With a long history of culinary excellence, you are always only a short walk away from something truly appetizing, no matter where you are. In the Lincoln Park area, I highly recommend the Bourgeois Pig Cafe, a delightful coffee house that also serves sandwiches with names inspired by classic literature. Located on West Fullerton Parkway, you can order The Old Man and the Sea(a tuna sandwich), The Catcher in the Rye (served on rye bread, naturally), or any other of their curiously named items and eat outside or upstairs in a sitting room filled with old fashioned furniture and, of course, bookcases. If upscale cuisine is more your style, you need only walk the Magnificent Mile to find it, though Geja’s CafÃ© (located about 2.5 miles away from the Mile on West Armitage Avenue) is a well established fondue restaurant at which you cook your own food in a decidedly interactive way. If you should choose to visit, the flaming chocolate fondue is an absolute must. As I’m writing about Chicago, it would be vaguely ridiculous not to mention deep dish pizza, a local favorite that every single establishment serving it will claim to have perfected to a point far beyond the others. Where you choose to consume it matters less than the amount of time you are willing to devote to it. While Brooklyn style pizza is a fast food, Chicago deep dish takes longer to cook, and longer to eat as every single bite is filled to bursting with flavor, so much so that a fork is often required. Also, nearly every single deep dish haven I’ve seen is also packed, and this is often the cause of longer wait times.
Chicago’s attractions should not be overlooked, as the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears tower), Navy Pier and the Shedd Aquarium are all spectacular in their own ways. However, be warned: the Windy City often lives up to its name and extreme weather changes are common, especially close to the lake. In spite of this, Chicago is a vast city of possibility to all; an urban atmosphere so full of life that’s its heartbeat resonates deeply through both resident and visitor alike.
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