Friday, November 28, 2008

Things I Like About Chicago


The first time I visited Chicago, I was 23 years old. I had just graduated from college, but an old room-mate of mine had transferred to Wheaton College near Chicago. It was one of my first trips out of parochial Minneapolis/St. Paul by myself. I spent one day going to classes with her (I will say that evangelicals do higher education a little differently than Lutherans). Saturday we spent the day at the Art Institute and the Sears Tower. We also did a little shopping, although I don't remember where.

I also visited Chicago and had some high times when I worked for the now-infamous AIG. A couple of underwriters took me places in the evening, and I believe I went shopping at Watertower Place. One trip involved both the Art Institute and the Museum of Science and Industry (jokingly referred to by one of my hosts as the Museum of Commerce and Industry).

Now, I think of Chicago as the home of many of my husband's relatives. I think of it as a place to relax, and feel at home. When we visit, sometimes we don't even get out of the suburbs.

Here are some of my favorite things about Chicago. Feel free to share yours:



  • The Art Institute. This has to be always on the top of every list. It's worth it just to see the originial American Gothic, and the wonderful Impressionist Art. The Art Institute scene is one of my favorites in the movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off (itself a minor classic, right?)

  • Carl Sandburg. As in his famous poem poem about Chicago, Hog-butcher for the world. It really is the City of the Big Shoulders.

  • The Pump Room of the Ambassador East Hotel. I used to stay at the Ambassador East when I worked for AIG (now infamous). I got really excited when I found out that my aunt and uncle had honeymooned there, back when it was a Really Big Deal. Also, I later recognized the Ambassador East from the movie North by Northwest.

  • Studs Terkel. Interviewer par excellance. He can get a story out of anyone. My favorite books are Working, and Will the Circle Be Unbroken?

  • Chicago Style Pizza. What more can I say?

  • The beginning of Historic Route 66. The mother of The Mother Road, right here.

  • The Ell, and the other trains, especially the one we take from here in the 'burbs. I especially like to sit on the upper deck. I bought my first Bark magazine (Dog is my co-pilot) at the train station in Hinsdale, and read it cover-to-cover before I got downtown.

  • My sister-in-law's homestyle cooking, and my brother-in-law's fabulous mixed drinks.

  • In Chicago, you never know who you might meet! I have a blogger meet-up later today with Jennifer of An Orientation of Heart. Pictures to follow!

Do you like Chicago? What are you favorite things?

20 comments:

mompriest said...

do I like Chicago...? I am envious because if I were still there we could have meet up, along with Jennifer...sigh...

well. I love Millennium Park, Watertower Place, the Art Institute, the Field Museum, I have many memories of The Pump Room including a bottle of champagne shared over brunch with my husband the morning after we were married. I love the lake shore. I love the culture. Chicago pizza, of course....and sushi...I really could go on and on...

You can also find me at my new blog, desert prayer

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

Wrigley Field and the Cubs. Andersonville (the area of Clark and Foster) The lake front. So many others.

I'd love to hear what the differences between Wheaton and Lutheran education were. (I went to Wheaton.)

Brandon said...

You must visit one of the most unique things to do in Chicago offered by Chicago Dine-Around. Chicago Dine-Around provides a Progressive Dining Tour of Chicago’s finest restaurants. Guests are chauffeured around the city to enjoy Hors D'oeuvres served at the first restaurant, the Main Course at a second restaurant, and Dessert at a third restaurant. This Progressive Dining Tour offers a unique, fun and exciting way to experience Chicago dining at its finest restaurants, interact with others, and tour Chicago. This tour brings the culinary spirit of Chicago dining to life. Visit www.chicagodinearound.com for more information on Chicago Dine-Around.

Jan said...

How I envy you meeting Jennifer! I've only been to Chicago O'Hare Airport--never the city. Oh, well. Glad you're having such fun.

Hot Cup Lutheran said...

oh chi-town used to be my home... yes i like it. something about the skyline says "mmmm you are home"... but thta was then... and the skyline now consists of haybales and grain elevators....

FranIAm said...

I love Chicago, I have not been there in a couple of years.

Jennifer said...

Zoos! Brookfield Zoo and Lincoln Park...The Lakeshore...Hyde Park...
Wicker Park...Andersonville..Grant Park...Fourth Presbyterian...Morton Arboretum...Chicago Botanical Garden...

Such fun to meet Diane today.
Anytime we want to have a fun blogger meet-up, I'm willing to host!

Border Explorer said...

*the old Marshall Fields (tho it has now changed names)
*the Lakefront...the city skyline
Berghoffs
*The North Shore suburbs
*The East Side
*thousands of ethnic restaurants
*all the summer festivals

I lived there also for a couple years, and I just loved your list.

Jennifer said...

PS: My savvy children both knew Andrew Bird immediately and expressed great respect for J.'s coolness-by-association.

I am off to improve my coolness and listen to Andrew Bird all day.

PS (PSanafter-thought) said...

I had to chuckle at the comment about higher education and evangelicals. My son found an evangelical college that was cheap on the 'net. He said, well, we're evangelical and so are they...so he was checking it on on the web. They had rules. Well, RULES. Don't walk on the grass. Don't visit certain areas of town. Wear certain clothes to class. Don't go to the beach.

My husband said, "Jesus wouldn't make it at that college."

Barbara B. said...

I've never been to Chicago (except for the airport which doesn't count). I need to go there!

Grandmère Mimi said...

We've only been to Chicago once, a few years ago, but Tom and I loved the place. We had a Valentine's Day special at the Palmer House at a very good price, with a welcome gift of champagne and strawberries dipped in chocolate waiting in our room. Imagine! Choosing Chicago in February! We were fortunate in that the temperature never went below 26 degrees, and there was only a bit of dirty snow left on the ground from the last storm. The day after we left, there was a huge blizzard, and no planes were flying out.

The Art Institute is at the top of my list. What a great museum. It's big enough, but not so big as to overwhelm. I spent a whole day there and another half day.

Stud Terkel, was, of course, a local treasure and a treat for many of us outside Chicago.

The high spot of our trip was seeing Mel Brooks' "The Producers", with Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, when it tried out in Chicago, before it ever opened in New York. I was smart to order tickets ahead of time, because by the time we arrived, the play was sold out.

The thing I missed that I wanted to see was the Frank Lloyd Wright house on the campus of the University of Chicago.

Thanks for your post which brought forth memories of a lovely trip.

Crimson Rambler said...

well, while my husband was at the Business School, I had a baby in Chicago, so I'm rather fond of Chicago Lying-In. Also the Hyde Park Co-op...and the Berghof, hurray that somebody else remembered it! and the Auditorium...and the look of the Baha'i temple in -- is it Evanston?
Trying to remember the favorite U of C pub, and can't...anybody?

PS (PSanafter-thought) said...

Please see my blog for prayer requests for ELCA missionaries in Nigeria. Thanks.

dust bunny said...

My sister lives just outside of Chicago....I really need to go for a visit!!

Kievas said...

I like Chicago...I enjoy walking around the lakeshore. The last time I visited, I was surprised by how much it had changed (for the better).

Jennifer said...

Wow, Diane! Look what you started!
Revgals gathering in Chicago, anyone?

Diane said...

I'm up. Anyone for a revgal meet up in Chicago?

aka The Swandive said...

I heart Chicago so much. You have listed some of my loves, but my most favorite, of all time, is Puppet Bike. Dot com. Check it out. Best free fun, ever.

Lindy said...

I used to go to Chicago quite a lot. Only for work though. That was back when NorthWest flew right into Midway from DC about once an hour and they waited on you hand and foot. Those were the days. One of my regrets is that I never had any time to really look around. It seems like a great town.