There's something about Chicago. It's sort of like the mean neighbor you tried really hard not to like but there's just something about him that you can't stop thinking about...and before you know it you're in a full on love affair! At least that's how this city was for me.
When I was 18, I went to Roosevelt University and spent one of the worst years of my life in Chicago. I wanted so badly to blame the cold winds, the loud noises, or tall buildings for my troubles but I just couldn't. No matter how bad things got, I fell more and more in love with Chicago. So some *cough* 15 years later...I was pretty excited to go back and explore again.
Chicago really does have it all! Beautiful skylines, awesome sports teams, good midwest people, art, and ridiculous food! Oh the food!
I started my exploring with a feature that wasn't yet created when I lived there and has now become a staple of the city, The Bean! This gorgeous art sculpture was inspired by the look of Mercury and reflects the city's skyline. And of course it's fun to high-five yourself underneath.
From here we headed to Navy Pier to take a ride on the Seadog Speedboat Tour. Being on Lake Michigan, there are many different boat tours to take around and through the city. The Seadog was a blast because it combined it's high speeds with a fun party atmosphere and incredible skyline views to top it off! After the boat tour we hopped on the DW60, the Navy Pier's newly remodeled ferris wheel. Inspired by the London Eye, it goes up a whopping 200 feet tall. I love that this city is so proud of it's buildings and skylines that they really give you a plethora of ways to experience and view them!
After working up an appetite sitting and enjoying some epic views, it was time. Time to get the really Chicago experience, time for PIZZA!!! Now I'm not a fan of deep dish pizza in general. Give me a big thin-crust slice that I need to fold to eat and I'm in heaven. And I'd had Chicago-style pizza in the past and wasn't craving it or missing it in a big way. But this time I'd brought a local, and she told me about this magical, heavenly place called Lou Malnati's. Game changer! I have never experienced such incredible cheese before! Ugh, just writing about it makes me want to go back or drive to the nearest one in Arizona right now. So, so good! If you ever get the chance, GO! I even went back the next day for seconds.
The other Chicago food that is always a must on my list is Garrett's Popcorn. Growing up in Michigan, we would make the four hour drive to Chicago just to wait in line for this delicious treat! So when you come to Chicago, come hungry!
The last adventure I did in Chicago was to check out the Skydeck and more importantly The Ledge. The Ledge is the newest feature on the 103'rd floor of Willis Tower (formerly, and always to me, The Sears Tower) and is a glass box that extends out from the building with a view straight down! It was a cloudy day when I went and I was told that there was 0% visibility but I thought I'd give it a go anyway. Turned out to be a great choice! Not only was there no one else up there, but there was an eerie sensation stepping out into the clouds. And as a bonus, the clouds cleared and we got to experience that terrifying view to the street! Now I know that I'm afraid of heights but I don't think I really grasped what this sensation would be like. I mean you're in a protected box, can't be that scary right? Wrong! Stepping out onto a glass floor that, in my mind, could crack and fall off the building at any time was so scary! I went with a friend who'd been skydiving and even she had a difficult time walking to the corners. Such an exhilarating feeling! Highly recommend it!
I have so much love for this city. Chicago really does blend that best of big cities into one amazing place! I cannot wait to go back and who knows when that Lou Malnati's craving will set in and give me the excuse to go!
Check out the full episode below!