Chicago - My Sweet Home
That Toddlin' Town
I have to believe that I could be one of the greatest Chicago tour guides.
I have always had an awareness of the 'hotspot' restaurants as a 'foodie'. I always have an awareness of the hotspot dance halls as a 'clubber'. I know all the neighborhoods and their specific attractions. I know of all the festivals that are always a joyous riot to participate in.
Chicago Food and its overwhelming portions? Sloppy Italian Beef Sandwiches, Maxwell St. Polish Sausage, Deep Dish and Thin Crust Pizza is the debate. Chicago Style Hot Dogs with everything on them, Smelt Fry & Jumbo Perch Fry are the classics that a Chicagoan is familiar with. Our traditional ethnic foods to be found in their respective, segregated neighborhoods. All I can say is to make sure you visit one neighborhood restaurant and you are unlikely to be disappointed.
Yes, Chicago is truly segregated and nobody here seems to be complaining about it. An acceptance of that segregation proven when we all gather together in harmony as one at many of the events held in Chicago's grandest park, Grant Park. To catch the spray off Buckingham Fountain, or rolling in the water exhibits at Millennium Park, or playing at one of the lakefronts many beaches as ways to cool off on our hottest days. We all seem to get along just fine with our pockets of diversity.
North Avenue Beach is maybe the best kept secret in the world for those who are into that kind of thing. The contrast of Skyscrapers on top of the perfect sand at Oak St. Beach always makes me smile. North Avenue Beach with dozens of volleyball courts and the old men in the shade playing chess on permanently placed concrete chess boards.
All cities have their diversity. Chicago is no different. Other than how well we all seem to get along so fantastically, and how we are able to make visitors feel at home. Even when we live in our own specifically segregated neighborhoods. Our diversity takes advantage of out strengths that allows us to get along with each other very well. I can go on and on about the people from Chicago as a whole. My opinion a bit biased.
My opinions of Chicago have been developed by plenty of exposure to all the other major great cities in this country. Cities that I have had the chance gain a thorough knowledge of from my long term exposure to them. Yes, I get to know the other cities inside and out as best as I can. Knowing them for a duration that allows me to know them well, before I present them for comparison to Chicago.
San Diego (La Jolla, the Lamplight District, Coronado, Imperial) is a city that comes close. New Orleans (The Garden District, the French Quarter, yet no baseball team) San Francisco (The Wharf, Chinatown, Sausalito, Muir Beach) Ft. Lauderdale (Another quietly unpublicized gem) & get this !!,, Detroit (The Ford/Edison Museum, Greek Town, Windsor) always surprises me.
Those are my top 5 cities outside of Chicago.
In Chicago we too have our Greek Towns, China Towns. We have our Little Cuba, Little Italy, and our jewish representation in Skokie. The Swiss of Andersonville, The Black soul, and Irish passion found in The Southside, The Latinos of Humboldt Park, The Northwest Side of Eastern Europeans (Polish, Russians, Germans, Lithuanians, Romanians, & Czechs) blended together making this area a food mecca that represents all.
Chicago's State Street surely not as much of a great street as it was once known for. Yet the Chicago Theatre still anchored there as one of the most ornately beautiful stages ever to be seen.
What is truly Magnicent is Michigan Avenue. The Magnificent Mile for a reason. Anchored by Architectual marvels such The Wrigley Building, Tribune Tower, and The Hotel Intercontinental representing the old. With The John Hancock Building, Water Tower Place, & Bloomindales representing the new.
It is also hard to describe the glory of the world class Chicago Museums. (The Field Museum , The Art Institute, The Museum of Science and Industry, The Adler Planetarium, The Shedd Aquarium) Museums that have everything to feed your imagination. Our sports teams that do not need to be winners in order to be winners. Our 25 miles of wide open uninterrupted coastline for what is surely one of the greatest 50 mile round trip bicycle rides on this planet.
I can not begin to describe the seemingly endless schedule of Fairs, Festivals, and Celebrations that accents a lot of the greatest music one will ever have the opportunity to hear.
Yes, the power and the passion found in Chicago makes this 2nd city forever the 1st city in my heart. It is a place that just gets under your skin, and it can't get out. Imbeds itself into your heart within your first 24 hours within it. Always leaving you wanting more of it.
The adrenaline, the ambition, the strength, the humor, the friendly attitudes so welcoming and warming. The windy city. The city of big shoulders.
My Sweet Home.