Blending the energy of a city with the tranquility of nature, Chicago offers tourists a plethora of activities. Born and raised in the Windy City, I have seen my hometown welcome millions of visitors. Whether coming from Florida or France, tourists will be captivated and charmed by the city, and will leave each of your senses with a lasting impression.
Strolling through the heart of Downtown, locally referred to as “The Loop,” you can gaze at the towering buildings that rank among the tallest in the world. Chicago, being the birthplace of the skyscraper, knows a thing or two when it comes to reaching new heights. The Willis Tower, completed in 1974 as the world’s tallest, provides great views of the city, the suburbs, as well as four states! The tower was completed shortly after the centennial anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire, which damaged, destroyed, and desolated the city. Though with strong perseverance, Chicagoans rebuilt the city, and thus started the construction boom towards the sky. This skyline is an eye jewel, best viewed from the southern end of Grant Park.
Chicago is a sports town; there is no doubt about it. In this city, games do not have to be seen, but can be understood via the ears. Sports fans here are known for their loud approval of the home team. Either at the United Center or historic Wrigley Field, fans roar with excitement from the stands whenever Chicago scores. The city is rooted in sports’ history: the Bulls and their winning dynasty during the 1990s, the Blackhawks and their current championship, and the Cubs and their historic streak of some sort. With such devoted fans in Chicago, cheering along with them is a great way to experience the vibe and exuberance of this city.
When international tourists are in Chicago, they will not feel far from home. That is because Chicago is home to different ethnic neighborhoods scattered across the city, each with numerous traditional restaurants that emit delightful smells. While traversing through such neighborhoods, tourists, regardless of origin, give their noses a workout. The spice of jalapeño peppers in Pilsen. The scent of oregano lines in Little Italy. The fragrance of ginger in Chinatown. Within a single stay, you can smell the entire world all within this diverse city.
Food is everywhere in this city. With its former reputation as “hog butcher to the world,” Chicago now serves as a dining capital for the world. Though there are endless choices to satisfy your taste buds, there is a must-eat when in Chicago: deep-dish pizza. Deep-dish is exactly what it sounds like. It has a crunchy, cheesy crust that encloses tomato sauce, toppings, and more cheese, all piled inches high (as you might have guessed from the name). Another food-related must-do is the annual Taste of Chicago, the largest food festival in the world, where dozens of local restaurants exhibit their finest gourmet dishes to the public.
This is a difficult sense to write about, as there isn’t a single tangible object that represents Chicago. But, I interpret it this way. By the end of your trip in this magnificent city, you will have seen the wondrous sights, you will have heard the rowdiness of fans, you will have smelled the fragrant aromas in the neighborhoods, and you will have tasted the food that Chicago craves. All these senses contribute to the overall feel of Chicago. You will have become part-Chicagoan. By the end of your trip, you will have “felt” the city, and it wasn’t just the wind.
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