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Chicago is the third-most populated city in America and the largest city in the mid-west region of the country. Famous for its high-profile sporting teams, prominent jazz and soul music history, and art and culture contributions, Chicago is a large and culturally exciting city. While downtown Chicago is surrounded by high skyscrapers and observatory towers, the CBD and surrounds enjoy a laid back atmosphere with parks and lakeside charm of Lake Michigan. Known also as ‘The Windy City’ for its breezy weather, Chicago is undisputedly the mid-west capital of culture and entertainment, shopping, live performances, museums and fine dining.
One Perfect Day Upper East Side New York
There are perfect days and not-so-perfect days when traveling. Kerry Widdup went in search of classic New York dining and drinks venues for a perfect Upper East Side day.
Chicago Blues and Jazz Scene
Although you can head out to see just about any music type at one of the many Chicago bars and clubs, discover how blues and jazz became part of the heart and soul of ‘Chi-town’. Chicago’s blues scene emerged way back in the 1920’s, leading to the description of Chicago as the ‘sweet home’ of blues. Many blues clubs celebrate this culture today. A highly rated club is Rosa’s Lounge, not only for the live performances and vibe, but the home-cooked Italian meals too. Kingston Mines plays music 7 nights a week, and with an on-site Rib Joint, it’s a perfect Chicago night out. Jazz is also synonymous with Chicago. Louis Armstrong made his debut here, while today you can celebrate jazz with the Chicago Jazz Festival (Labor Day weekend, first weekend in September), or by visiting one of the many CBD jazz clubs like the legenday Green Mill.
Chicago Deep-Dish Pizza and Chicago-Style Hot Dogs
Famous for its food and cuisine options, Chicago has developed its own unique style of pizza and hot dogs which have tourists scrambling. Chicago signature pizzas are ‘deep dish’ ones that have a 3-inch crust, stuffed with cheese or tomato sauce. Popular pizza hotspots include Giordano’s, which has multiple locations specialising in authentic deep-dish pizza since 1974, and Lou Malnati’s, which uses hand-selected ingredients, exclusive sausage blend, and fresh cheese from the dairy which has supplied the restaurant since the 1960’s. Chicago-style hot dogs developed in the Great Depression and feature an al-beef frankfurt, steamed poppy seed bun, mustard, relish, onions, tomatoes, pickles, peppers and even celery salt. Surprisingly ketchup is widely considered an unacceptable accompaniment! Try the famous creation at Hot Doug’s, Portillo’s or Kim and Carlo’s Hot Dog Stand near Southside.
Chicago Sports Scene
Like many American cities, sporting clubs unite the Chicago town and its people in a thrilling and patriotic way. But Chicago is only one of 4 American cities to have a team in all 5 of the major national leagues: baseball, football, basketball, hockey and soccer. The Chicago Bulls (NBA), Chicago Cubs (Baseball) and Chicago Blackhawks (hockey) have some of the largest followings in the nation and the world. Even if you’re not a sports fan a visit to a home game for one of these teams is a remarkable, energetic day or night out. Americans know how to party and sports games are no different. Cheerleaders, fireworks, light shows, half-time entertainment, team songs, chants and rituals all make for an unforgettable time and a chance to feel what truly makes the city unite.
John Hancock Observatory Tower
It’s not every day you can get skyline views spanning four states and activities to fill a full day of your trip. The John Hancock Observatory Tower is an iconic Chicago destination for tourists, boasting views of Indiana, Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin. Located 1,000 feet above the Magnificent Mile, you’re guaranteed spectacular views at day or night. Learn more about Chicago with digital CBD tours and interactive touch screens letting you zoom in on particular sites. If heights don’t scare you, get fresh air and open air views in the ‘highest outdoor public space’ in America at the Skywalk. To complete your experience, the Lavazza café and bar is a perfect place to sip on a coffee or cocktail while taking in the world-famous views.
The Magnificent Mile
An exclusive shopping and tourist strip, the Magnificent Mile is a 13-block stretch of Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago that runs from Chicago River in the south, to Oak Avenue in the north. Over 460 shops and 275 restaurants are situated along this block, a pretty and scenic walk through the heart of the city. While events take place all year, Christmas is a particularly beautiful time to visit, with the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival and ice carving competitions. Dining options are spectactular and varied, including Shaw’s Crab House, which even offers sushi-making lessons.