By Jessica Knutzon, Co-editor
Chicago, situated in the Midwest at the northeast corner of Illinois on Lake Michigan, also known as Chitown and the Windy City holds a rich culture of various backgrounds, making it a top destination in the United States.
Chicago is the city of neighborhoods and whether you are looking for a romantic evening in Little Italy, dim sum in Chinatown, gyros in Greektown or some polka in Polish Downtown, there is an endless list of ethnic neighborhoods to fulfill your global mindset needs.
The two most famous landmarks in the city are the Sears – I mean Willis – Tower and Cloud Gate at Millennium Park (commonly called “The Bean”), but there is much more to see in Chicago. When booking a flight there, it is important to know that there are two airports, but both are convenient to the city. Last time I went I landed at Chicago O’Hare and took the blue line into the city, which was convenient to avoid traffic and high taxi fares.
Getting around is easy in Chicago. There is the Chicago Transit Authority, which includes a subway and several bus lines to get you where you need to be. Walking around the city is sometimes the quickest way to get around, depending on where you are located and there are enough taxis and Uber cars to get you where you need to be. Chicago is known for its deep dish pizza and polish sausage, so depending on which neighborhoods you want to visit, be sure to do your research on where to find the best eats.
There are several museums throughout the city and some even offer a student discount, so keep your student ID handy. My favorite museum is The Art Institute of Chicago, which has sculptures, paintings and photography from around the world. In this beautiful building, you can see everything Byzantine art pieces, Van Gogh paintings to an extensive Native American collection and everything in between. The arguably most famous painting there is the American Gothic by Grant Wood. The Chicago Field Museum and Museum of Contemporary Art are both regarded as must-sees in Chicago.
The Chicago Cubs play at Wrigley Field, which in and of itself is an impressive stadium, built in 1914 and is the home of a long history of devoted sports fans and famous baseball players. If you like sports or are into American history, check the team’s schedule and try to catch up a game while you’re in town.
If you are looking for more classically “tourist” experience, these next two spots will fulfill your needs. The Magnificent Mile boasts all the best shopping you could ever imagine. Along the way you can stop by the historic Water Tower, an iconic building in the city. I like to start at the beautiful DuSable Bridge and work my way up Michigan Avenue. The Navy Pier is the perfect place to spend a cool afternoon or evening and you will not be bored even after spending hours there. There are parks, restaurants, shops and activities in a 50-acre span giving you the best view of Lake Michigan.
Fun facts about Chicago: It is the oldest Polish settlement in the United States; the Chicago River is died green for St. Patrick’s Day; it is called the Windy City because of its politics, but it is literally a windy city; and Chicago is where the notorious Al Capone made history – you can even visit his house.
Chicago’s weather is beautiful in the spring, summer and fall months, but the winters are very cold. Be sure to check the weather before you head there. Bon voyage!
All photos courtesy of Aayush Sawhney, MBA ’16