Chicago has bean on my travel list for a while now (lol, see what I did there). Sadly, a professional conference is not the best way to see a new city, since you spend all day, every day, in panel sessions and net working events. So, for my first four days in Chicago, I basically saw the Palmer hotel and surrounding block.

Fortunately, my friend Sophia was also presenting at the conference and we decided to book an extra day and a half to explore the city. While a day and a half is not nearly enough time for a city like Chicago, we managed to pack in most of the major highlights.

Per usual, starting early is the key to maximizing your time. We opted for the early bird entrance to the famous Sears/Willis tower. And it was completely worth it. Not only did we not have to wait in a line, we had the entire sky deck to ourselves before it opened to the public! We made the most of it and had too much fun taking ridiculous pictures. If you don’t know what the sky deck is, it is a collection of four clear glass boxes that hang off the side of the western hemisphere’s tallest building (well, tallest until 2014 when One World Trade Center was completed). Let me tell you, these boxes make for some crazy views! They say on a clear day you can see four states. But, don’t worry, it is not as scary as you think.

In addition to the Sky Deck, we visited the famous Bean sculpture in Millennium Park, the Chicago Art Institute, brunched at The Hampton Social, went on an architectural river tour, strolled the Magnificent Mile, and had dinner at the famed Siena Tavern (although as part-time Florentines, we were not supper impressed with their take on Tuscan cuisine). On my extra half day, I was able to meet up with a friend and fellow Italian scholar and explore Wicker Park and grab the famed Negroni slush at Parson’s.

Overall, I think it was a nice highlight tour of Chicago, although I would love to return and see more!

Any suggestions on what to see for my next visit?




2 thoughts on “Chi-Town”

  1. Ah you made it to Chicago!! So sad we didn't get to meet while you were here but LOVING the shots! The Skydeck is so cool isn't it? I shake like crazy whenever I go out onto that glass ledge though!


    Ashley || Sed Bona

  2. I suggest going up to the top of the John Hancock building (360 Chicago). You know the saying that the view from the Eiffel Tower is the worst view of Paris (because the Eiffel Tower is the most iconic feature of the Paris skyline). Similar situation with the Sears Tower in Chicago. The view from the John Hancock building gives you a much better view of the skyline that includes the Sears Tower. They also have an attraction up there called Tilt. It tilts you out 30 degrees so you can feel the gravity while looking out of the glass box at the scene below and around you.

    I also suggest coming to visit during the summer (or late spring – early fall). The city really comes alive in the warmer months! Festivals everywhere and some great rooftop bars.

    If visiting in the fall, a great option is to come during Open House Chicago. A bunch of buildings are open to the public for free, about 200 locations around the city. Last year (2016) you could go backstage at the Pritzker Pavilion and the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Some great companies open their offices to tour, such as Red Frog Events. There are also a bunch of churches/cathedrals, historic hotels, and new top-market apartment buildings open for free tours. It's an interesting way to see a lot of the city for free that isn't always open to the public!

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