The Windy City…my favourite city in the US (so far).
There’s more to Chicago than the pizza, but whilst we’re on the topic, let’s talk about how good it actually is!
Here in the U.K., we can indulge in ‘Chicago town pizzas’, and yes, they are good, but nothing could actually prepare you for the goodness of Chicago’s famous deep dishes. The pizza slices sold on the street are good enough, but if you want to go full out and experience what’s considered “Chicagos best pizza”, then a recommendation for a visit to Giordanos pizzeria is 100% needed. Giordano’s has over 40 stores across Chicago, so you’ll easily be able to find one, and, despite the possible long wait, and fairly expensive price, you’ll soon realise it being 100% worth it!
If you’re a deep pan, cheesy, stuffed pizza kind of lover, then Giordanos famous pizza pie is definitely a must for a visit to the city (see pictures below), but if you prefer the more traditional, Italian style thin based pizzas, then there’s also plenty of those to choose from. In other words, if you like pizza (or pasta, they have that too) then a visit to Giordanos has to be on top of your list for a trip to Chicago! There’s probably more to Chicago’s gastronomy than pizza, but for my first visit, I wanted to indulge in all the pizza possible…who wouldn’t.
Moving on from the food side of the city, Chicago has alot more to offer…this is what I got up to during my 72 hours in the city!
Cloud Gate, otherwise known as ‘the bean’ is likely to be Chicagos most iconic sculpture. Hundreds of tourists flock to Millenium Park, gathering around the sculpture; snapping photos of Chicagos skyline and the clouds reflecting through the polished stainless steel plates, seeing their reflection through the sculpture, and even walking through it to see its unique shape formation…so I joined them.
Millenium Park, itself, is an attraction; home to an array of sculptures, and acting as the perfect gathering spot, right in the heart of the city. It’s also the perfect spot for the viewing of Chicagos beautiful skyline.
Not far from Millenium Park is where you’ll find the famous Navy Pier; a Chicago landmark home to parks, attractions, such as the iconic Ferris wheel, mini golf, cinema and more, alongside multiple restaurants, shops, and home to numerous boat tours across Lake Michigan or the Chicago river. Being on a budget, I opted for just exploring/’window shopping’, all the Pier has to offer, whilst enjoying the views and the summer sun!
If you wish to see the sights from a different height, then the Willis Tower’s Sky Deck is not to be missed! The tower takes you up to the observation deck on the 103rd floor, 1353 feet up, offering spectacular views of the city…it’s actually currently the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, cool fact of the day. What makes the difference of this skyscraper observation deck, compared to the likes of the Empire State in New York, is definitely ‘The Ledge’ experience. The Ledge is the opportunity to go into one of two glass boxes that are extended 4.3 feet from the sky deck, offering a unique, unobstructed views of the city at both eyeline, and below…I loved it, but I guess it could put the heart in the mouth of some people!!
If you’re travelling on a budget, like I was, then a trip to the Licoln Park Zoo is the perfect attraction – I mean, who wouldn’t love a FREE zoo?!
I’ve got to be honest, I wasn’t very optimistic about visiting the zoo, as being free, I was imagining practically empty exhibits, and the typical bird and reptile areas…I was wrong. I’m pretty sure this zoo had every zoo animal possible (and the likes of reptiles and birds); the place is so big, you could definitely spend a lot of time here. My favourites were definitely the monkeys and gorillas…I even got up and close with them for a selfie!
The rest of my time in Chicago was just spent walking around, with no specific destination in mind, seeing what I could find. The majority of the walk was spent along the shore of Lake Michigan, which not only was it a great spot because of the views of the skyline, but it was also playing host to the Chicago air and water show at the time, so along with the good weather, the place was heaving with people setting up camp to watch the array of entertainment across the shore, eating good street food, and just having a jolly good time – it was a great atmosphere, and the perfect distraction for what ended up being a very long shoreline walk to the heat of the city.
Once in the heart of the city, the rest of the day was spent in Water Tower Place; another of Chicago’s skyscrapers, this of which plays home to an 8 story shopping mall, housing various stores, restaurants and attractions. It’s a good job I didn’t have a credit card, that’s all I can say.
That’s basically everything I got up to on my trip to Chicago; there’s even more to enjoy there, hence why I’d love to go back again soon, but for now – thank you Chicago for being such a wonderful city, and acting as my favourite place in the states, so far…who knows, maybe I’ll live here one day.
(Visited August 2015)