Chicago will be your kind of town. Every time you leave, Chicago will be calling you home. It’ll say, “Don’t you wanna come back for a Chicago style dog or pie?” And no, I don’t mean actual dogs or a sweet dessert. I mean Chicago style hot dogs and pizza. When you visit Chicago, you’ll experience the blue waters and boats drifting lazily on Lake Michigan. Your mind will be blown by the Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium and the Planetarium. You’ll feel the wind ruffle your hair as you go on a boat tour of the city down the Chicago River.
Ah, yes. Chicago. What can I say about such a grand city in the heart of the United States?A place where the people are friendly and the fashion is great. With plenty to do, Chicago will draw you in like sugar to cotton candy. If you don’t go, you’re skipping out on one of the best metropolitan cities in the heart of ‘Murica.
You wanna act like a local? You gotta sound like one too. Here’s some quick pointers on how to fool the locals into thinking you’re one of them, As a proud Chicagoan, I find myself guilty of most things below.
- The most important rule is how you annunciate your A. It’s a small drawn out A.
- Replace the ‘th’ and ‘tt’ with D.
- Example: Da BEARS and budder.
- Example: Da El (the train) Da Loop (highway).
- Use ‘The Lake’ for any reference to Lake Michigan.
- Use ‘The City’ for any reference to Chicago.
- Sandwich is pronounced sammich.
- LSD is not a drug. Let’s get real. It means Lake Shore Drive.
- Distance is measured in minutes.
- Example: It’s about 20 minutes out.
- Slur your words. (I find myself EXTREMELY guilty of this.)
- Example: garage key= gratchkey
- Example: Three= tree
- It’s POP not soda.
- Learn the Interstates.
- I 290 = The Ike or the Eisenhower
- I 55 = The Stevenson
- 90-94 South of Downtown = The Dan Ryan
- 90-94 North of Downtown = The Kennedy
- 94 on the North side = The Edens
Now that this has been established, you may now proceed to navigating the city like a Chicagoan.
What to Do
Locals will always call it this. The Willis Tower? WTF is that? If you wanna get around like a local does, use this expression and you’ll fit right in. On a clear day, you can get a fantastic eye orgasm from the city.
Cost: Adult $22 Child $14
The Signature Lounge on the 96th Floor
If you want the breathtaking views of the city while enjoying a drink, you need to go to the John Hancock on the 96th floor. It’s busy, so you should definitely book a reservation. P.s. The women’s bathroom has the best views on the entire floor!
No trip to Chicago is complete without visiting this theme park on the water. While you’re there, ride the Ferris Wheel, make a candle, and have an ice-cold draft at the beer garden. Excitement alert: the brand new Ferris Wheel is opening! It’s climate controlled, bigger and better than ever.
I went on this tour as a kid and much later with my boo bear when he visited me. This tour gives you a bit of the history of Chicago and you can learn a thing or two on how it became so great. I suggest the Signature Lake and River Tour. We took the later tour when the sun was setting and watched the city change from day to night. It was breathtaking.
I never get tired of selfie-ing at the Bean. If you’re there this giant bean with a reflective surface is actually quite entertaining. You can walk around the park for hours and there’s always something poppin happening from food festivals to concerts.
This is my personal favorite and way less crowded than the Shedd or Field Museum. If you dig astrology and space and shit, then you need to go here. Your mind will be blown with their awesome facilities.
Cost: Adult $12 Child $8
If you’re a junkie, I cannot offer you drugs, but Lake Shore Drive is a great way to see the city. LSD spans part of the Lake’s coast, where the city literally meets the sea.
Cost: Gas Money
What to Eat
Chicago Style Pizza
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to sink your teeth into a plate of diabeetus so divine you taste purple, hear yellow, and smell blue? Look no further because this delectable delight is bound to make your taste buds sing in harmony. Chicago style pizza is a deep dish where they pack on the cheese on top of the crust and chunky tomato sauce on top of the cheese. Wanna know why Chicagoans call it a pie? Deep dish literally looks like one. While you’re in Chicago go to two famous joints by the name of Gino’s East or Giordano’s.
Chicago Style Hot Dog
What’s this? You want ketchup on your hot dog ONLY? What kind of Chicagoan does this? The answer is no one. Our unique dogs come with Vienna beef, inside a poppy-seed bun, topped with mustard, relish, onions, tomato wedges, a pickle spear, sport peppers and a dash of celery salt. To eat a hot dog with plain old ketchup in Chicago is just blasphemy. Go and get a real dog, you hooligan! lol
Besides bdubs, this is my kryptonite. Portillo’s is a fusion restaurant with all your Italian and fusion favorites. Need a beef sammich or a shake? No problem. Want an Italian sausage (don’t get dirty on me here) or a delicious burger?
Cost: $2.75- $10
Italian Ice and Lemonade
For a long time, the city of Chicago was segregated. My dad grew up in the Italian neighborhood in the 1950s and he knew were all the great joints were. I came to love Italian ice and lemonade in the old Italian neighborhoods where the nonnas would make it fresh. One of the best places to go is Mario’s Italian Lemonade for your palatal pleasure. This is only open during spring until late fall. Don’t miss out on your chance for great noms.
P.s. I just seriously made myself super hungry after composing this. Are you feeling hungry? I’m famished. Who would have thought Chicago is an amazingly culinary place?
Okay, so maybe I haven’t convinced you that Chicago is great because of aforementioned. But you can’t go wrong with music festivals and Chicago is home to one of the coolest summer festivals– Lollapalooza. This is a fantastic festival where everyone lights up, tokes up, gets drunked up and enjoys three days of great music and energy. We also are home to:
Spring Awakening (an electronic music festival)
Pitchfork Music Festival (hip hop)
Riot Fest (rock and heavy metal)
As a Chicago native, I love da city more than anything. I love the food, I love the beach and the freezing cold lake all days of the year (even in summer). Chicago is a grand city that will take your breath away. A city doused in the modern with a bit of history. What are you waiting for? Let Chicago whisk you away!
And now for the GIVEAWAY! [CLOSED]
I’m super pleased to announce I have partnered with GPSmyCity which makes iOS and Andriod apps for all you travelers out there! This app features self-guided city walks in 470 cities around the world! I’m giving away 20 promo codes. Each of these ensures one free download of the app which normally costs $4.99 in the Apple and Google Play stores.I will announce the giveaway winners on my Facebook page, YouTube channel, blog and Twitter!
- This giveaway is open WORLDWIDE!
- Give me a like on my Facebook page and follow me on Twitter.
- Leave a comment below telling me your favorite destination and favorite food to try from that destination.
- You can enter on my YouTube channel as well! (For a total of two times to go into the drawing.)
- The contest will run for 3 weeks. I will announce the winners on March 26th!
- If you are a winner, you have one week to claim your prize. If you do not claim it after one week, I will redraw names and give it to someone else!