Chicago Travel Tips To Explore Like A Local
- RESHMA DEWDA
- UPDATED May 16, 2018
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She is always a novelty, for she is never the Chicago you saw when you passed through the last time. Mark Twain was referring to the playful spirit of vibrant Chicago; a city that is constantly changing faces while preserving its cultured soul. One of the biggest cities in USA, Chicago is not just huge in size but has a heart to match it. Here's the best of Chicago Travel Tips to help you explore Chicago like a local.
There's so much this metropolis is good at. The birthplace of soulful music and the harbinger of creativity, Chicago has aced many genres and is almost like a pilgrimage for lovers of Jazz & Blues and architecture. A city in metamorphosis, Chicago is always transforming into something new and exciting.
There's never a dull day here. One day, you could be shedding a bucketful of tears at a moving performance of the Symphony Orchestra and the next day, youd be gasping for breath between bouts of laughter at a neighborhood stand-up comedy show. You could pig out on sky high hot dogs for dinner and have a delicate cr¨me brulee served on a silver platter for dessert. That's the beauty of Chicago; it caters to many tastes beautifully.
Sure, if your'e a first timer, don't miss the temptations of Michigan Avenue and take the mandatory selfie with the Bean. Heck, we say also take in the magical birds eye view at 360 Chicago! Head to the Navy Pier and do every touristy activity to your hearts content; ride the ferris, take some swings at the mini golf course and shout in excitement on the old fashioned swing ride- Chicago is ready to indulge you and how!
If you haven't had enough, head to the Lincoln Park and say hello to exotic animals that look more comfortable in this concrete jungle than people living here by choice. (dont be surprised if they start serenading a blues number for you!) Of course, if we know you, wed also expect you to do the Loop Chicagos business district that is known for everything else but business. After youre done with Chicago's star attraction Millenium Park that is home to mind boggling installations like the interactive crowd fountain, youd head over to gawk at the larger-than-life Willis Tower, post which you'd want to explore the artsy side of Chicago at the Art Institute. While you're at it , do stop over at Grant Park and let the boastful Buckingham fountain put up a pompous show for you. After the customary museum visits (don't miss the Field Museum of Natural History and Museum of Science & Industry), take a deep breath and get ready to do it like the Chicagoan.
Be part of a few more tours to be like Chicagoan
To see this bustling city like a local, here's what you should remember:
1. Loose the sports shoes, hop on the bus:
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
The best way to meet locals and perhaps the cheapest way to get around in Chicago is to travel by local transport. Whether its the elevated trains or subways or the buses even, Chicago is one of the lucky few American cities to have brilliantly connected public transport. To hit it like a local, take the quaint Pedway which is basically a labyrinth of underground walkways that act as a blessing in the harsh winters of Chicago.
2. Forget the blockbusters, get cozy in a small hall:
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
Chicago is full of grand multiplexes but that's not where it finds its entertainment. If alternative films are where you look for meaning amongst the commercialism of mainstream cinema, head to one of the many small gems like the Music Box Theatre that host exciting screenings from celebrated film festivals like Sundance and Cannes along with sing-along shows and midnight movies too.
You may also read - How to Plan a One Day Road Trip
3. Tickle your funny bone and chug a few cold ones:
Image Source: Pixabay.com
The city with a legendary sense of humor, you'd be amazed at how much Chicago loves a good laugh. From plain nasty to racist digs, youd find many degrees and kinds of stand up comedy here. And even though you might come close to being very offended sometimes, we promise you a hearty laugh for sure. If youre in the mood for beer, head to Map Room, Hop Leaf or a dozen other bars around town that have managed to preserve their Midwestern warmth.
Look out for the hotels near the coolest zone of Chicago
4. Take off that six pocket, get into a sports jersey
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
Chicago is plain maniacal when it comes to sports. The energy in the stadium is stuff of legends .Wrigley Field is where you will find the raucous action. It is the home turf for the cursed Cubbies but is one of the biggest baseball parks in major leagues. Slather on the colors of your favorite team (if you don't have one, just go with the majority!)and head for a match at this grand venue where you can blend in with the locals.
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5. Forget the deep dish, head to the local market
Image Source: Kirk Bravender/flickr.com
We are not going to make a case for healthy veggies against deep dish pizza. Of course, you're going to devour on Chicago's claim to fame. But if you're feeling too guilty afterward, head to the local farmers market on Saturdays at Green City Market. In winters, the market shifts to the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. You'd find fancy chefs and locals rub shoulders at this colorful place and you can even stock up on fresh veggies and fruits.
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6. Forget the hip-hop, croon to the blues
Image Source: BriYYZ/flickr.com
Ask any local and they would swear by the fame of Buddy Guy and Al Capones Green Mill. As authentic as it gets, these venues have seen legends perform on their humble stages and are the epicenter of all things Jazz & Blues. Sip on some Whisky Sour and lose yourself in the melodies of yesteryear's.
Chicago is a different city for every person who lives here or visits it. There's so much you can take away from this city; its enthusiasm, originality and whimsy is sure rub off on you too. Nobody can visit this place just once!