I was going to spend a lot of time in Chicago. I’d lined up some work that would see me through summer, and there were some other projects floating around that may become realities. But that didn’t mean I paced myself in seeing the sights. As per usual I hit the ground running, seeing much of what Chicago had to offer in the first few days.
The wonderful thing about Chicago is how walkable it is (especially in Summer, when I arrived). At the time I was staying in a hotel next to the John Hancock Tower, an iconic, and incredibly tall building, with an observation deck, bar and restaurant on level 95 and 96. I don’t think I’ve ever been up that high in a building, and the views were spectacular, both during the day and at night.
I walked around ‘The Loop’ or Downtown Chicago, which featured a lot of film locations from movies such as The Dark Knight, Super Man, Ferris Bueller, and Transformers, as well as The Cloud Gate, or as it’s more commonly known- The Bean. I found the original Rock N Roll McDonald’s, or Maccas Mecca as I called it, along with that Chicago institution- The Deep Dish Pizza (though I could live without it.)
Heading up a little further north is the wonderful, and free, Lincoln Park Zoo (which has Kangaroos…) as well as some of the wonderful little neighbourhoods that make Chicago so vibrant. There’s great feel and atmosphere to places like Lincoln Park, Boys Town and Andersonville, and they’re all pretty accesible via the L (the elevated train!).
There’s an amazing theatre scene, both with big national touring Broadway shows, and the smaller independent scene, known as Storefront Theatre, and you can’t really go anywhere in the city without discovering a theatre.
If you love musical theatre and want to see something a little different head to Sidetrack on a Monday Night. Musical Mondays sees a room full of Musical Theatre Queens belting out their favourite songs (including wild throw backs) to projected clips on a big screen. Plus their alcoholic slushies are phenomenal.
Up a little higher is the college town of Evanston, home to Northwestern. A quieter town (well…unless you’re there on a raging college party night) it’s lakeside beaches, shops and restaurants, plus green lawns and great architecture are a nice escape from the city. And if you’re looking for a great burger you can’t go past Edzo’s.
Another great place to grab a bite, if you’re in Chicago, is the Doughnut Vault. Only open early in the morning until all the doughnuts are sold means that lines build up at this hole in the wall shop next to Merchandise Mart. But the wait is worth it because the product (pictured below) is fantastic.
Yes. I do love Chicago.