This is my second Chicago post and follows up the first post with a few more things I enjoy to do and eat when I visit the city. It is a place booming with activity, so I can guarantee one would never be bored or hungry when visiting. But these are some suggestions I can offer on how to spend a few days.
The city has incredible shopping and is something I make sure to always sneak in. Michigan Avenue, which is also referred to as the Magnificent Mile, has a combination of luxury (Gucci, Rolex, Chanel, etc.), more fast fashion (Forever 21, Gap, Zara, Topshop, etc.), and department stores (Macys, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, etc.). On the other side of the river the shopping continues and starts to blend into restaurants.
Deep Dish Pizza
Even if you don’t like pizza I think getting deep dish is a must. I’ve tried two places, Gino’s East and Lou Manalti’s. I preferred Lou’s, mainly for the ambiance, buttery crust, and overall taste.
Chicago Hot Dog – Portillo’s
As a west-coaster, my hot dogs usually have ketchup and mustard and nothing else. In Chicago ketchup is not an option and I found out quickly that I am completely okay with that. A classic Chicago dog has a pickle spear, onions, tomato wedges, neon green relish, mustard, celery salt, sport peppers (which I pass on) and a poppy seed bun. Man, that was a great hot dog and I think a must-have, specifically at Portillo’s.
Coffee Shops & Bakeries
I found in Chicago there were a large number of fantastic coffee shops and places to dip in when I wanted an extra snack or a pick-me up. One in particular I really enjoyed was Magnolia Bakery. Though this was founded in New York City, I stumbled into the storefront in between wandering and shopping and had the banana pudding. I love banana anything, so I when I saw the sign I knew I had to go inside. In June, for pride, they had a rainbow banana pudding, which I loved! In July I had the chocolate, which was also fantastic.
The obvious route, when in Chicago, is to see a Cubs game. Last year they won the World Series and have only seen their popularity skyrocket in the last few years. I know a lot of people enjoy walking around Wrigleyville as well. But, a White Sox game is cheaper, easier to get to, and the stadium offers breathtaking views of a beautiful city.
Go to the Top
There are a lot of incredibly high buildings in Chicago, especially for someone who does not live in a tall, condensed big city. I feel like half of my time walking is spent looking up at the skyscrapers, spectacularly different in their size, age, and design. The tallest building in Chicago, second tallest in the country is the Willis tower, which I think is the more popular. But, for a better price and a shorter line you can go up some 1,030 feet to the top of the Hancock Center for the same feel. It is right by the water and treats you to a breathtaking composition of skyline/shoreline views (not to mention there’s a full bar at the top). It also has The Tilt, a hydraulic section of the window that will drop you to a 45-degree angle from the buildings edge, so that you feel as if you’re floating above the city. When you are up there you get a feel for how TALL it really is and it can bring out a fear of heights you didn’t know you had. Sometimes you see people teetering on one leg in funny poses to avoid getting too close to the glass. It is just neat to see the city from that perspective.