Sweet Home, Chicago

With this being the last blog post for the semester, I want to wrap up my blog with the city that forever has my heart–Chicago. I grew up in the suburbs of the windy city, and continue to feel drawn to aspects of life here. The food, the sites, and the Cubs are this city’s pride and joy. In this post, I will discuss my personal top 5 of Chicago’s very best.

#5 Deep Dish Pizza

OK, I will admit, this isn’t exactly my favorite type of pizza, but I absolutely must include it. This staple was invented in the heart of Chicago at Uno’s Pizzeria. The name “Deep Dish” is in place because the thin crust is put into a deep, cast-iron skillet. The ingredients are added to the inside, starting with the cheese. Toppings are to follow, along with tomatoes, a little more cheese, and more tomatoes on top. Truly unique to the City, this pizza style can be found at nearly any Italian eatery including Gino’s, Giordano’s, Rosati’s, and my only deep-dish favorite, Lou Malnati’s.

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That’s a good lookin’ pie, Lou

#4 Navy Pier

The famous pier is located near the North side of Chicago’s Lake Michigan coastline. With nearly 50 acres of room, the pier is home to a variety of attractions, restaurants, and stores. Depending on the season, fireworks can be seen on Wednesday nights, and during the day, visitors have access to skating rinks, the Ferris wheel, and Chicago’s Shakespeare Theater. There’s also an IMAX theater inside the mall, along with beautiful botanical gardens.

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#3 Museums

Chicago is home to several famous museums that should not be ignored. First, the Art Institute is one the country’s oldest and largest museums, contains nearly 300,000 pieces of modern and classic art. The exterior of the building is guarded by two great lions, which the is often decorated to commemorate current events (recently, the lions were given Cubs hats). Second, the Field Museum is similar to the Smithsonian in DC, as the Field hosts a variety of cultural exhibits as well as some of the rarest and most impressive fossils in the world. It is a joy for all ages to see the life-sized dinosaurs that once ruled our planet. Third, the Museum of Science and Industry depicts the biggest finding’s in America’s history. Here, you are able to see a full-scale coal mine, WWII submarines, and the Apollo 8 (first spacecraft to carry humans to the moon). Finally, the Shedd Aquarium, adorned with tridents on its exterior, is nicknamed “Neptune’s Temple”. This aquarium hosts over 1500 species of aquatic animals, and includes a dolphin and whale show.

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The King of the Art Institute

#2 Sports Teams

If you’re a fan of sports, you’d love Chicago. The city is home to its own NFL team, the Bears, two baseball teams, the Cubs and the White Sox, one NHL team, the Blackhawks, one basketball team, the Bulls, and one soccer team, the Fire. Though the Bears haven’t been doing very well over the past few years, the Cubs has finally broken the curse, and won their first World Series in 108 years. The Blackhawks have also been successfully representing the city, as they have won the Stanley Cup three times within the past ten years. Each stadium and/or arena is unique, and draws fans and tourists throughout the year.

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#1 The Culture

I know you’re probably thinking, “Really? That’s the number one on your list? How original” but this city has maintained a culture unlike any other city in the country. Chicago has a deep history of blues, jazz, and soul music that continues to thrive today. It is home to Lollapolooza, one of the world’s most popular music festivals. Much like other cities in the United States, Chicago hosts a variety of smaller ethnic towns like Chinatown, Germantown, and Polishtown. The best food in the city can be found at events like the Taste of Chicago, and it varies from Korean BBQ to the regional favorite, Italian Beef sandwiches.

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Ornette Coleman, Henry Threadgill, David Murray and Antoine Roney play the blues in Prospet Park

I really miss this city. I’ve been to plenty of other cities in the United States, but none seem to compare to Chicago. This destination should only be visited in the warmer months, as the winters can be extremely brutal; however,  I encourage anyone and everyone to visit with an open mind and an empty stomach.

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