My Favorite "Big" City

After visiting Milwaukee, my next stop was Chicago. Ever since the first time I visited the city, I have always enjoyed spending my time here. Back then, I remember thinking how it contrasted New York City - it was clean, easy to navigate, not nearly as crowded and fairly compact (downtown). On top of that, the iconic elevated subway system, simply referred to as the 'L', always brings back the memories of watching old gangster movies back in Ukraine (the Sting, anyone?). I remember visiting Justin, a high school good buddy of mine, here multiple times while I lived in Iowa and he was in chiropractor school. We would often take the Metra downtown, walk around, and always end up at Exchequers for some delicious deep dish pizza (Giordanos is for tourists!).

Then there was the awesome Air & Water show along the lake side together with a bunch of local CouchSurfers. Hanging out at the Navy Pier with my family and watching amazing fireworks on the lake to the tunes of latin pop. Flying up to the city every weekend two winters ago to take Saturday MBA classes at University of Chicago Booth School of Business' Gleacher Center downtown.

All those memories sprung up on me as I exited the Union Station and saw the familiar sight of Willis Sears Tower, well, towering above downtown Chicago. From there, it was a short and familiar walk to cross the river next to the iconic Trump Tower to get to where I was going to stay for the next couple of days. Vlad, a buddy of mine from the Ohio State, has scored an awesome condo with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking already mentioned Trump Tower, the river, the Michigan Avenue bridge, and other portions of downtown. I used to stay here when I was taking weekend classes at Booth and since then absolutely love the night view of the city.

Chicago History Lovers Tour

Even thought I have been to Chicago more times than I can count, I never really learned much about its history. Vlad has signed us up for the History Lovers Tour, majority of which included us walking through parts of Pedway - the system of underground passages connecting many of the buildings downtown. I never even knew it existed! Along the way, we would briefly stop and get a lesson in Chicago history.

While most of it was quite fascinating (the population grew from 15 to over 100,000 people in less than fifty years), I felt that three hours it took was a bit too long. As the weather was perfect on Friday, we decided to end the day with a grill out on the eighth floor patio, chatting away with Vlad's friends, overlooking the city, and enjoying the warm breeze.

Another awesome trip to Chicago. More to come for sure!

TraveldimaChicago, IL, nonrev, tour, USA