THE TOP 5 THINGS TO DO IN CHICAGO, Çağakan Vişne | 11.11.2015

Chicago, Illinois is the third biggest city in the United States. Also home to the first skyscraper ever built (1885) and the first aquarium (1893), the "Windy City" guarantees an extraordinary experience for its visitors thanks to the vast Lake Michigan, the city’s gigantic skyscrapers, the famous "Chicago Bulls" and scenes that you will already know from many movies and TV series (you’re thinking about Gotham City, right? Well, you’re not the only one!). 

The locals refer to the city as "Chi". In the following list, I have tried to put together the top 5 things to do if you ever visit Chicago. Here are those 5: 

1-) “Get Some Fresh Ocean Air”: True, the city does not have its own shoreline, but Lake Michigan, the largest lake in the States, is so huge that you feel as if you are standing right by the ocean. If you visit Navy Pier, you can go on a boat tour with a fun and friendly group, ride the Ferris wheel, which has 40 passenger cars that can accommodate 6 people each, act like a big kid by taking a turn on the carousel, and even play some golf. If you are lucky, you can visit an exhibition or see a show, which take place during certain periods, or learn about something interesting at the Chicago Children's Museum. Alternatively, you can take a trip to North Avenue Beach and go for a swim while you enjoy an amazing view of the city’s skyline, or sunbathe on the beach. 

2-) “Feast”: You definitely need to give the famous deep-dish pizza a try. This thick pizza made with tomato sauce, plenty of cheese and a range of other ingredients is extremely satisfying and incredibly delicious. If you don’t like pizza, there are many restaurants that offer Japanese, Chinese and Mexican cuisine. And if you are looking for some other local flavors, you can give a Chicago-style hot dog a try. Remember, though, it is served with mustard and not with ketchup, so never ask for it!

3-) “Talk a Walk in the Open Air”: Set out towards Pilsen and stop at 16th Street to see some amazing wall art. The Randolph Street Market, where you can buy second-hand goods and antiques and see some amateur artists selling their own works, and the Maxwell Street Market, where you can see clothing, jewelry and furniture shops as well as restaurants serving Mexican cuisine, are just some of the places that you can visit. 

4-) “Spend an Amazing Night in the City”: This city is the capital of jazz and blues, so if you are interested in this style of music, make sure to visit a music event or concert and see a live performance. If you are not a concert person, stop by Tuesday Funk: There is no entrance fee, and the participants get involved in reading sessions. So you can either have something to drink and listen to the speakers, or read them your own stories or poems. 

5-) “Experience the Classics”: There are some must-dos in Chicago, so make sure not to leave before you try them: Get some caramel-flavored popcorn and visit the Millennium Park. And while you're there, make sure to visit the Cloud Gate (also known as “the bean”). If the mood takes you, after seeing the Crown Fountain, go to the Skydeck Chicago, where the first skyscraper was built, and enjoy the amazing city view. Although it requires some effort to climb the Willis Tower, which used to be known as the "Sears Tower" and which is the second-highest building in the States, the view is outstanding. 

Before you visit Chicago: 

Watch: Rob Marshall's 2002 movie, Chicago, which won 6 Oscars including Best Picture and for which Catherine Zeta-Jones won Best Supporting Actress for her performance as well. Even if you’re not a lover of musicals, you should give it a chance. 

Listen: To Nat King Cole, of course. As you listen, you will find yourself imagining the streets of this capital of the blues. 

Read: "You Were Never in Chicago", an amazing book by columnist Neil Steinberg, who spent most of his life in Chicago where he was also born. This book received positive reviews and is largely based on the writer's own memories.

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