Chicago is a large city full of great activities. Here is my list of ten things you have to do when visiting Chicago. They are perfect for locals or tourists alike.
1. Eat deep-dish pizza at Giordano’s. You can visit Chicago without eating a little deep-dish pizza. I recommend Giordano’s. The crust is flaky and buttery, the cheese is thick and melted, and the sauce is superb. There are locations throughout the Chicago area. You can find the one near you at www.giordanos.com.
2. Travel to the top of the Sears Towers. The Sears Tower is the tallest building in the western hemisphere. You get an unparalleled view of the entire city of Chicago. Make sure you take some quarters to pop into the telescopes so you can take a peek into the buildings around the city. Also, if you can, make sure you get in line right before they open at 10am. I went on a Sunday at about 9:45am and only had to wait until they open the doors! On the other hand, some friends went at about 1pm that same day and had to wait over 3 hours in line.
3. Swim in Lake Michigan. Chicagoans love their lake Michigan beaches. The best thing about them is that they are free. You can people watch, cool off in the water, and enjoy a beautiful summer day for free. You can find locations for the public beaches on Lake Michigan near you at www.chicagoparkdistrict.com.
4. Walk out on Navy Pier. Navy Pier is the number one tourist attraction in the city of Chicago. While it is free to walk down it, you might find yourself spending money on items like souvenirs and refreshments. On Saturday and Wednesday nights during the summer they put on a free fireworks show for all to see. It is a huge crowd pleaser and a must see if you are in town.
5. Stroll down Michigan Avenue. Chicago is known for their great shopping. The place to shop first is definitely Michigan Avenue. You will find every store from Saks Fifth Avenue to Payless Shoe Store. These are the flagship stores, so even if you have a Gap in you home town, check the store on Michigan Avenue out. It will be larger and carry different inventory than you might find at home.
6. Laugh at a comedy club or improv group. Chicago is well known for their comedy clubs. Many SNL cast members have paid their dues in the windy city. You can find lists of great comedy clubs online at yelp.com/c/chicago/comedyclubs.
7. Eat an Italian Beef at Hot Diggity Dogs. They are located about 2 blocks off of Michigan Avenue at 251 East Ohio Street. They sell everything from chicken fingers to Chicago dogs, but the main attraction is their Italian Beef. This is Chicago’s answer to Louisiana’s Po’ Boy and Philadelphia’s Philly cheese steak.
8. Watch a baseball game. You can take in the 2005 World Series Champion White Sox or the ever-popular Chicago Cubs all summer long. For a more intimate experience try the Sox, for a more touristy crowd check out the Cubs.
9. Drink some intelligentsia coffee. Intelligentsia is a strong black coffee that is a local favorite in Chicago. You can find it in many restaurants throughout the city as well as in some of the gas stations. You can visit the Intelligentsia Coffee shop at 3123 North Broadway Street.
10. Ride a bike anywhere in the city. Chicago is quickly becoming one of the most bike friendly cities in America. There are miles and miles of paths along the lake as well as through most of the city streets. You can rent a bike or even join a bike tour at www.bikechicago.com.