“ Chicago refers to the City of Chicago, or, more informally, to the Chicago metropolitan area, colloquially called Chicagoland. Chicago is the largest city in the state of Illinois, the largest in the Midwest, and, with a population of nearly three million people, it is the third-most populous city in the United States. The Chicago metropolitan area has a population of over 9.4 million in Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana, making it also the third largest metropolitan area in the United States. Chicago is located along the southwestern shore of Lake Michigan and is a major center of transportation, industry, politics, culture, finance, medicine and higher education. Chicago's monikers include the "Windy City," "Chi-Town," and the "City of the Big Shoulders" (from Carl Sandburg's poem Chicago). Chicago is the financial, business, and cultural capital of the Midwest, and is ranked as an alpha world city by the Loughborough University Globalization and World Cities Study Group & Network. The city was founded in 1833 as a town to link the Great Lakes with the Mississippi River System. It soon became a transportation hub of the Northwest Territory, with major connections by steamboats, canals and (by 1855) railroads. By 1890, it was one of the ten most influential world cities. „
A summer of soccer coaching in 2007 took me from top to bottom of America, and I mean that literally, with my destinations including new york state and detroit, New Orleans and Miami. I also had weeks in between, Alabama, Virginia to name but a few, and it so happened that my final week sent just outside Chicago. Having visited New York many times I had imagined Chicago to be a less spectacular version, but I underestimated the Windy City.
The first thing that struck me in comparison to New York, in fact in comparison to almost anywhere, was the cleanliness of the city. For such a bustling metropolitan area to be so clean is quite remarkable, and is very pleasant. It is a picturesque city on the whole, situated on the shores of lake Michigan, and with beautiful buildings both modern and old lining every street. Parks and grass areas are in plentiful supply, and you will not struggle for a good photo opportunity when walking around the city.
Shopping is much as you would expect, plentiful and wide ranging. Every designer you could name seems to be represented at least once, and large shopping malls adorn Chigago with regularity. If you are looking to spend money you will not struggle. Food and drink is also easy to find, and a visit wouldnt be complete without trying a Chicago style pizza. I was warned by the waiter I would struggle to finish half a pie, and after 2 slices I realised I would have been well informed to take his word, it was outrageously thick, but delicious.
It can be tricky to manouvere around the city by car, and walking can take it out of you as attractions and shops are fairly spaced out, so a brief study of the buses and trains would be reccomended. Parking is sparce apart from multi-stories, which charge a fair bit for their services, especially around landmarks.
While in Chicago you have the option to view a sports game hosted by one of America's major clubs. The Bears in American Football, Fire in soccer, the illustrious Bulls in basketball, and the White Sox or Cubs in baseball. Having had the privelige to attend a sold out Chigago Cubs game at Wrigley field, I would put this near the top of the list. Just outside the city centre, Wrigleyville is full of life with packed bars and on a matchday is quite an experience. Get there early, enjoy the build up, and sit back and watch the game accompanied by a couple of gallons of Pepsi and a seemingly endless box of popcorn. Whether you know anything about baseball is almost irrelevant, it truly is a unique experience.
The skyline driving in to the city is immense, it rivals any i have ever seen. The locals are friendly, more-so than you will find in many major cities, and the range of attractions caters for all ages and tastes. Having only spent a week in Chicago I am already planning a return, to enjoy a few more rounds of golf in the afternoon sun, and some cold beers and a pizza slice in the evening. For a city break Chicago has all bases covered, and if you are not so into being bumped in to and sworn at, may well be a better bet than New York. Most definately a city I would suggest visiting if given the chance
A few years back I was lucky enough to fly over to Chicago for a training course. Now, because my company are so tight with expenses I flew out on a Saturday and returned on a Saturday so that meant the fare was £250 instead of £1000+.
Good news for me was that it gave me time for a cracking day out in the city on the Sunday and I have to say that in my opinion, Chicago is one amazing place.
Even the trains are impressive, travelling in from the suburbs, sitting on the top deck -not used to doing that! When it comes to buying my ticket, the ticket collector gets a bit confused with my english accent, as I asked for a return instead of a 'round trip'. Next thing I know this girl turns round and gives it the old "schucks are you from england? - I went to London last year" routine
Thing was just as a way of having something to say, after a few minutes of confusing anglo-american conversations, I say to her, "isn't that Jerry Springer show filmed round here?"
Turns out that her Dad actually works as one of the producers on Jerry Springer - I meet just one person in a city of 8 million and she knows Jerry Springer in the flesh - my kind of place!
Anyway, after all that 'excitement' I took a circular tour of the whole city with the Chicago trolley company which runs from outside Sears tower, with stopovers at all the main sites. Highly recommend taking one of these tours, the drivers do the commentaries on the way round and are really funny - put those Guide Friday tours in the shade!
Some highlights include the huge John G.Shedd Aquarium, Navy Pier family centre looking out over Lake Michigan , Water tower (about the only thing that survived the Great Fire), magnificent mile of shopping, the fabled House of Blues, and at Union station, you can even find the very stair-case at the train station where Kevin Costner and Andy Garcia did their incredible baby balancing routine in the Untouchables!
Actually, even at the end of the tour there was a little 'Jerry Springer' style drama. I got off the tour trolley outside the Sky deck at Sears Tower, and I stopped to get my bearings and work out which direction the station was in.
Anyway, just as I've worked out I need to head across one of the multiple versions of 'Wacker drives' (you'll see what I mean if you ever get chance to go) and start heading towards the road junction and crossing, a guy comes up to me, hands me a leaflet and then starts talking about a homeless project he's involved in. Meantime, a few moments later, in mid-conversation the guy suddenly shouts out 'What the ****!' and behind me there's a loud smash.
I turn around, and there are two cars which have collided, one of which was sliding in our direction only stopping about 10 feet away right where I probably would have been walking - scary!!. Both drivers got out of their cars and were unhurt fortunately, and pretty soon the police had cordoned off the area and I believe from the news on TV later there were huge traffic jams as a result. According to the guy I was talking to (who naturally at this point I was more than happy to give a wad of dollars to!), the Porsche driver had jumped the red light and a cab turning right clipped right into the side of him
So after a day touring the home of movie sets Blues Brothers, The Untouchables, Backdraft, the Fugitive to name but a few, and weirdly enough a minute or two earlier opposite the Sears tower I'd just taken a picture of the setting for one of the scenes from John Travolta's film - 'Michael' where he plays an Angel there I was in the thick of it (thanking my lucky stars!)
Forgive me this small indulgence but perhaps I can put it in the form of a Jerry Springer 'Final Thought'!
"You know, often, we are all in such a hurry with our daily lives we never really stop to think about what really matters. It's strange that some of us can place more value on saving a few seconds speeding across a red light than on our own safety, let alone that of other people. For me, the experience of very occasionally coming face to face with our own mortality is made all the more real, when you consider that every day on the streets it is always a matter of life and death for the homeless. Take care of yourself and each other"
So there you go a great day out and an important life lesson - what a city!!
***I have had to put this in this category as I have already written in Museums and Art Galleries in Chicago and the site will only allow me to change my opinion when in fact I have a new opinion on a different museum. Maybe Dooyoo can sort this out and in the meantime please read on.*** We really like museums and especially museums that try to be a little different. Museums that try to engage the visitor in the exhibits and get you involved in what is going on in front of your very eyes. The museum of Science and Industry in Chicago is one such museum. It is an exciting and fun day out for all the family. You will need a full day at least if you want to get the most out of the experience, so plan your trip well before setting off. The museum is at 57th Street and Lake Shore Drive just ten to fifteen minutes south of the city. From downtown you can get a bus from the corner of State and Jackson. The number 6 will take you right to the front door while the number 29 stops just across the street. All buses are $1.50 each trip and you should ensure that you have correct change. Alternatively you can purchase a one-day visitor pass for $5, which allows you unlimited travel for 24 hours in the downtown area. The museum is open from 9:30 to 5:30 and the admission charge is $9 for adults and $5 for children. The place is huge so it is well worth sitting down and having a look at the map before you set off on your adventures. We really enjoyed the place and could have stayed for another few hours but here is a flavour of what is on offer. Omnimax Theatre. A five-storey wrap around screen that shows two different movies and puts you directly into the action. While we were there they were showing The Human Body and Space Station. The former has now been replaced by Titanica, which visits the wreck of the tragic liner. Time. Over 300 different time pieces from all over the world and your chance to ex
plore the science behind time and how it affects our lives. The Farm. Have a go at driving a 20-ton combine harvester. Explore the inside of a milking parlour and generally learn about life on a family farm. Idea Factory. A learn through play experience for children. At busy times you will need a ticket but in quieter times this area will keep the kids amused for hours. Colleen Moore’s Fairy Castle. Apparently Ms. Moore was a star of silent movies and had a penchant for dolls houses. You can view her fairy castle and listen to the commentary from the lady herself. U-505 Submarine. A real German submarine that was captured during WWII. You get to take a guided tour of the submarine and get a taste of what life must have been like for the crew in such cramped surroundings. Baby Chick Hatchery. This was really wonderful as you can watch as baby chicks peck their way out of the shell and take their first steps. I had never seen a chick hatch before and was eagerly pressed up against the incubator as the little guys struggled out. Heart. A huge 16-foot replica of the heart, which you can walk through. I was a little scared as I walked inside the model and heard the rhythmic pumping. It makes you realise how fragile life is and how reliant we are on this one muscle! Henry Crown Space Centre. Have your picture taken in a space suit! Walk around the lunar landing module and take a look at the first orbital space ships. They are so small and cramped that it is hard to believe that a man sat inside on top of a huge rocket and was shot skyward. These are only the things that we had time to explore. There are many further attractions including virtual reality games, flight simulators and the Silver Streak, a Pioneer Zephyr Train, which takes you across the US on a tour every 30 minutes. There is the usual array of food courts and shops to keep you satis
fied and let you pick up the odd souvenir. There is a lot of ground to cover so be prepared for lots of walking. You can get all the details on the museum website at www.msichicago.org Thank you for reading. © MurphEE 2002
So here you are you've just spend the whole day trying to escape the evil clutches O'Hare airport right?...now its time to unwind and do even more walking around the downtown area of Chicago...HUH...but where do you begin?..thats what this is all about. Being my home town and all-even though i do live in the UK these days sadly.. i still know a few little titbits about the greatest town in the world(well it is to as we have such great teams like the Bears!!!-really) anyway your best bet is to start off at Union Station as its pretty much in the thick of things and even if you wnat to go somewhere else but can't be bothered walking you can always get the 'l' or the subway accross town but i find it better walking so you can take in the size of things there. Sears Tower is only a few blocks from Union Station and is well worth the $8.50 admin. to go to the Skydeck and watch the city from above-some of the views you get on a clear day are amazing but beware of sunny, clear days as the tower will no doubt be chocka' full of people. Navy Pier is a tourists dream-full of great little resturants and bars its situated on Lake Michigan, if your're lucky when you go there may well be a exhibition on which 9 out of 10 times is well worth a look and even if not theres still the ferris wheel which gives you a awsome view of both the city and the lake and again is well worth queueing up for. If food is your thing then Chicago is no better place to go with so much to choose from ranging from Italian, Chinese, Greek, German, Mexican-in fact anything you want...damn look and its sure to be there somewhere!-the only real dissapointments are the 1.2 zillion Starbucks in chicago and the 'Rock n' Roll MacDonalds!! Chicago also offers a huge cultural base with so many different communities based there-China Town, Little Italy, Polish, Russian and Irish communities amongst others-i
cant stress enough the shopping-Merchandise Mart, N.Michigan Avenue and the Marshall Fields base store all other fantastic ranges-but expect to pay for it!!! Only downsides to Chicago are that on the week days everyone is in a hurry so you'd better be a fast walker to keep up!, (once again) Starbucks coffee houses all over the place, the scarily fast rate that you can be in a good area one minute-turn the corner and be in a bad area(mostly behind Union Station)-as i found out more than once!! All in all Chicago is a great town-i've sadly only covered the basics but i will write another article about things to do outside of Chicago when i get around to it!! PS-i did'nt mentio the chicago river-take a guided tour-its the only river in the world that flows the 'wrong' way-whatever that means!!!
""Chicago refers to the City of Chicago, or, more informally, to the Chicago metropolitan area, colloquially called Chicagoland. Chicago is the largest city in the state of Illinois, the largest in the Midwest, and, with a population of nearly three million people, it is the third-most populous city in the United States. The Chicago metropolitan area has a population of over 9.4 million in Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana, making it also the third largest metropolitan area in the United States. Chicago is located along the southwestern shore of Lake Michigan and is a major center of transportation, industry, politics, culture, finance, medicine and higher education. Chicago's monikers include the "Windy City," "Chi-Town," and the "City of the Big Shoulders" (from Carl Sandburg's poem Chicago). Chicago is the financial, business, and cultural capital of the Midwest, and is ranked as an alpha world city by the Loughborough University Globalization and World Cities Study Group & Network. The city was founded in 1833 as a town to link the Great Lakes with the Mississippi River System. It soon became a transportation hub of the Northwest Territory, with major connections by steamboats, canals and (by 1855) railroads. By 1890, it was one of the ten most influential world cities.""