It’s been a year since I’ve travelled to Chicago, and I can’t stop reminiscing about this lovely city aka the windy city. While I don’t believe in love at first sight with another human being, can I just say love at first sight with a place, a location, or whatsoever DO EXIST?! Let me just show you this…

Lake Michigan

Nope it’s not edited, it has no filter, and it was just this blue – this perfect shade of turquoise. I totally didn’t expect this from a city, let alone the 3rd largest city in USA that is all urbanised?!

And how about this…

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and this

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The sky so blue, the ocean so calm, it blew me away (pun intended) immediately. My immediate thought was: omg can I stay here already, this ocean is perfect!? Sadly I only planned for a weekend in chi-town due to school and other travel plans, but I was so glad I made it.

I’ve seen many people going to USA (tour groups or not) and they usually skip this part of USA. They’d do a Hawaii-San Francisco-Los Angeles-Las Vegas-New York City that kinda route for ~10 days. While I guess time could be a huge deciding factor but they sure have no idea what they’re actually missing out! And here’s 10 reasons why you should totally add Chicago to your USA plans even if you’re short of time:

1. THE BEAUTIFUL LAKE MICHIGAN (as seen above)

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I guess I just needed more excuses to insert more beautiful photos of Lake Michigan, or ocean… I’m not quite sure but just BEAUTIFUL WATERS alright. The waters are very prominent and it’s along the coast so you’ll never miss it. You basically could walk along the coast from one attraction to another. More on that later!

2. A GOOD MIX OF NYC & L.A.

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Paradise at the end

I’ve been to New York City and Los Angeles before stepping on the shores of Chi-town, so I had a basis for comparison. While it’s very much a concrete jungle like that of NYC, with all the broadway shows and theatres downtown, it certainly has a very laid back feel to it like that of L.A. especially when you have such beautiful turquoise waters around. And not to forget, it’s much less crowded than NYC – you have ample of space! NYC constantly gives off a stressful vibe, and everyone on the street seems to be rushing off to somewhere, but you won’t get that in Chicago and certainly not L.A.

3. FREE LINCOLN PARK ZOO

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Another thing I liked was their free zoo. I love free attractions that are actually good. Kids love this place, but I thought everyone should check this place out. It’s pretty neat and even if you don’t like animals, it’s a good place just to chill and take a stroll. Just look at this:

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From here, you could walk along the coast where you’ll pass by a beach and finally reach Navy Pier. It’s a long walk but it sure as hell would be worth it. And this place is certainly a good spot to take a tourist shot with the skyline of Chicago!

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4. DEEP DISH PIZZA

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You cannot, I repeat, you cannot, leave Chicago without trying out their specialty aka the deep dish pizza. If you hate thick crust pizza then you might not like it, but personally I love it because it’s topped with more sauce and cheese than normal ones, which made it more flavourful than ever. I tried it at a famous chain called Lou Malnati, but there are others out there such as Uno’s, Pizano’s, and Gino’s East which claimed to be just as good. Also, not to confuse this with ‘stuffed pizza’. More explanation here.

5. NAVY PIER

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Because this pier extends out to the beautiful Lake Michigan and makes a really good cover photo. Of course that’s not it –  you can also take a cruise, dine at a beautiful McDonald’s (their entrance is more beautiful than others), eat Garrett’s popcorns, and catch an IMAX movie. More details on upcoming events here. Oh btw if you’re a fan of the Divergent series, then you’d remember the scene when Shailene Woodley climbed up the ferries wheel… and that’s the very one at Navy Pier. #justsaying

6. WILLIS TOWER

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Previously news went crazy reporting that a crack was found in that observatory skydeck where you could step on the transparent glass/plastic from above. I certainly hope that it’s all safe and good now, but if you’ve been following my blog, I’m very much a person who loves to go on observatories just to look at cities high above, especially during sunsets, even though they might just look the same from above. In any case, this is Chicago from above, which is pretty neat with the distinct straight roads like NYC I’d say.

7. BILLY GOAT TAVERN

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Another Chicago specialty, this is their famous cheeseburger, of which you could help yourself with the ketchup and mustard. I was sooo full when I bought this but I ate it anyway… as a snack. Yeah a cheeseburger for a snack, but totally worth the calories. Most of their outlets are in Chicago (duh) and Navy Pier has one of it. Other locations here.

8. MAGNIFICENT MILE / THE LOOP

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Other than food and touristy attractions, you can also head to Magnificent Mile for some upscale shopping, or dig the shelves at Nordstrom Rack, or just hang around The Loop where everything else is. However, a point to note is that different parts of USA has different sales tax, and Chicago is actually one of the highest and is higher than that of NYC and LA. So if you’re on a budget, it may not be wise to go crazy shopping here if you’re also going other parts of USA! Nevertheless, this part is really nice to just walk around and chill out.

9. FIELD AND ART MUSEUMS

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Chicago is also known for its various field and art museums – the most popular being The Field Museum, Art Institute of Chicago, and Museum of Contemporary Art. If you’re heading there for a weekend, you could just do one museum to get a feel of the art scene in Chicago, it’s pretty fab I would say. 🙂 More info on the museums in Chicago on Timeout

10. THE BEAN

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And of course, the bean definitely has to make the list. Where else would you find such a huge bean reflecting the skyline of a beautiful city? However, something that I don’t get this how photographers manage to take photos such as this:

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Uh, where is the photographer? lol. He/she probably has a super long lens or something. In any case, the usual routine, when you head over during broad daylight, you’d see tons of tourists crowding around and thus there would be NO WAY for you to take such a such picture of it or with it.

I hope I got your feet itching to hop over! How about you? Have you been to Chicago? Tell me about your experiences!

keep travelling,
J

  • Great post! I love Chicago, especially in the winter because it’s less crowded. I actually got to the Bean at 8:30am and was the only one there. It was in December so again less tourists. 🙂

    http://www.mintnotion.com

  • thank you eden! 🙂 I would totally love to return, and hopefully get a snapshot of an empty bean too. :p