Welcome to My Top 5, a blog series where I share my top choices for recipes, makeup products and things to do around Montreal (and beyond).
Over reading week, I visited Chicago for the first time with one of my friends. I didn’t really know what to expect other than there would be pizza which would be different from what I get in New York, and photo ops in front of a giant silver bean. The trip ended up being wonderful and I am already looking forward to the next time I can go back. The following are my top reasons to visit the Windy City from my short time there, although there are many more than just what are listed here.
1. The food
When I think of Chicago, I think deep dish pizza and hot dogs, so I made a point to try both throughout my trip, and they definitely lived up to the hype. But Chicago is more than those two staples and has quite a bustling food scene. There seemed to be a donut shop on every corner, and I was able to eat Spanish tapas, Southern biscuits and gravy, and Swedish cinnamon rolls within the few days I was there. There is no shortage of good food to eat, so here are some of my favorites that I would recommend trying in Chicago:
- Portillo’s for a hot dog and chocolate cake shake
- Lou Malnati’s for the Deep Dish Malnati’s Chicago Classic
- Ann Sather’s for a Swedish-style brunch
- Café Ba-Ba-Reeba! for tapas and sangria
- Do-Rite Donuts & Coffee for a chicken sandwich on a donut
2. The views
If you’re looking to get some great views of the Chicago skyline and Lake Michigan, there are several options to do so. My friend and I went up Willis Tower which has glass boxes that jut out of the top of the building and were able to view the skyline at sunset which was beautiful. There is also the 360 Chicago Observation deck which features a bar with view. While you can probably expect lines at either, the wait is definitely worth it (unless you’re afraid of heights!). You can also take a ride on the Centennial Wheel at Navy Pier for some equally nice, although slightly less photogenic, views.
3. The neighborhoods
Downtown Chicago is extremely expansive and as soon as you venture outside “The Loop”, the scenery changes instantaneously. Some of the cool neighborhoods I was able to check out were Pilsen, Lincoln Park, Magnificent Mile, and Wrigleyville. Each one has their own distinct vibe and set of activities, so I would recommend exploring as many as you can. The “L” train system is super easy to navigate too, so you have no excuse to not see more than just The Loop.
4. The comedy
Chicago is home to several comedy clubs and improvisational theaters, including The Second City, which my friend and I were able to catch a show at. It was probably the best sketch comedy (with some improv thrown in) I had ever seen, and it was so cool to know that some of my favorite celebrities started out there. I wish I was more knowledgeable about where else to go, but I’m sure a little research can lead you in the right direction, although I definitely recommend checking out Second City if you can.
5. The art
One of Chicago’s most famous landmarks is Cloud Gate/The Bean, which is a public art installation in Millennium Park, where you can also find other cool sculptures. The Art Institute of Chicago is another must-see, featuring the works of Warhol, Picasso, and Monet, and is one of the largest art museums in America. Throughout the city, there are smaller museums around, such as the National Museum of Mexican Art, and there are tons of cool murals you can admire just from walking around.
All images provided by Prairie Broughton