I am the opposite of a city slicker. For almost my entire life I’ve resided in suburban California, rarely going outside the confines of the state. So I jumped at the chance to get out of my comfort zone in order to visit Chicago, Illinois.
Transportation there is easy. I could walk almost everywhere. To go shopping, to eat, to visit Millennium Park and touch the famous “bean” which reflects the entire city around it. Its smooth surface is barely obscured by various handprints. Everywhere I turned there was a new adventure; my eyes were always busy scanning store windows and signs for various restaurants. I’d start walking to down one street, but then be drawn in by the wafting aroma of Garrett’s Popcorn on Ontario.
â–º Quarter Finalist 2011 Teen Travel Writing Scholarship
I had to try famous deep dish pizza of course, and the only place to respectably do it is Gino’s East Pizzeria. It’s placed conveniently right off Michigan Avenue, more commonly known as the “Magnificent Mile.” The atmosphere is bustling, just like the city itself, and you have the opportunity to insert your own personal footprint by writing your name in sharpie all over the booth seats. The writing also a great time killer too, to read what others have left before you while your pizza is being cooked to perfection. (This usually takes around 45 minutes) While the wait to even get seated in the restaurant can be a pain, it’s very well worth it for their famous pies.
I dedicated a couple days to the Museum Campus. One day we didn’t have enough money to visit the more popular Shedd Aquarium, so we decided to go to the more underrated, less crowded Adler Planetarium instead. I found it much more exciting and interactive; you can do activities such as a “lunar jump” which simulates gravity on the moon. To me, you can get a lot more fun with a lot less cash. Just before we left, we discovered a little area which is dedicated to kids which teaches kids how astronauts live in space and so forth. We had so much fun “living” in a “space shuttle”, which was even equipped with a space toilet! I eventually went to the Shedd later, but found it slightly disappointing compared to the less crowded (and cheaper!) planetarium. Still, the aquarium was full of wonders and too many fish to count, just probably not worth the wait in the blistering sun to get into the building, as well as the 35$ price tag for adults if you want to see all of the exhibits and shows.
One of my favorite things I did in Chicago was to watch a Cubs game at Wrigley Field. To get there from downtown is only a couple stops away on using CTA’s subway, commonly referred to as “the L train” It’s fast to reach various parts of the city, and quite cheap. Even though I am not an avid baseball lover, I enjoy going to Wrigley Field because of its historic feel. It was built in 1914 and looks almost like it did back then. It’s also great to sit down with an iconic, delicious Chicago Dog and see various buildings with stands on the rooftops so patrons can watch the game from there.
In all, Chicago is an amazing city which pairs towering skyscrapers with tidbits of historic sites, and is incredibly beautiful. There are so many places to explore, and all you need to get there are stable shoes and a sense of adventure.
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