"The place I call home" Top 5 Page for this destination Chicago by Dabs

Chicago Travel Guide: 5,994 reviews and 12,688 photos

When I'm not busy jaunting around Europe...

I'm having fun in my hometown of Chicago. Summer is my favorite time of the year in Chicago, the city really comes to life from Memorial Day until Labor Day with a multitude of festivals every weekend, the lakefront is jammed packed with bicyclists, walkers, joggers and roller bladers, the al fresco dining areas are open, it's perfect weather to hop on a boat and go for a ride on Lake Michigan or the Chicago River or catch the Cubs at Wrigley Field or the White Sox at Cellular Field.

Current/Coming Soon Hot Events in Chicago

IT'S ALMOST SUMMER!!!! Here's a guide to some of the festivals in Chicago during the warmer months Red Eye guide to summer festivals

Everyone likes free things to do, especially in this economy, here's a list of FREE THINGS TO DO

There are a ton of daily deal sights but the original and the one with the best offers is Groupon, I've bought many of them now and they are a great deal!

One to see discounted entertainment options for specific dates is Goldstar, I've bought tickets for several shows through Goldstar

If you are looking for some ideas on what to do in Chicago for the Christmas holidays, have a look here

Late Spring/Early Summer starts festival season, here's a guide to the city's official festival listing

**Choose Chicago festival guide**

2016 Festivals, the BIG ONES**33rd Annual Chicago Blues Festival, June 10-12**31st Annual Chicago Gospel Music Festival, June 3-4**36th Annual Taste of Chicago, July 6-10**Lollapalooza July 28-31**58th Annual Chicago Air and Water Show, August 20-21**38th Annual Chicago Jazz Festival, Sept 1-4**18th Annual World Music Festival, September 9-25**

Monster Page

I've lived in and around Chicago since I was 8 years old and like many Chicagoans love this city and can't imagine living anywhere else (just don't ask me that question in February when the wind chills have dipped below zero!!!) My Chicago page has turned into a monster page, since joining VT I keep finding things that I want to share with all of you-interesting architecture, neighborhoods to explore, restaurants that I want to try...

I've tried to organize the tips into sections to make it easier to navigate if you use author's order

Must Sees
Top 10 which is what most visitors to Chicago will see, I know there are dozens of tips on these but I wanted to have a complete page
Art Institute, Cultural Center, Shedd Aquarium, Hancock Building, Architectural River Cruise, Buckingham Fountain, Lincoln Park Zoo, Museum of Science & Industry, Sears (Willis) Tower, Field Museum

I guess I could even make it a top 15 since I've left out seeing the Cubs play at Wrigley Field, Blue Clubs, shopping on Michigan Avenue, Navy Pier and Pierogi Fest :-)

Architecture which is one of my favorite things about Chicago, here's a few of my favorites
Chicago Tribune Tower
Wrigley Building
Carbide & Carbon Building

Public art the major public art in the city
Misc things that don't fit anywhere else


I've tried to identify the neighborhood that the restaurants are in, the NMA (North Michigan Avenue), River North and Loop restaurants are the most centrally located and I've located them together if you use author's order. If I've made a more recent visit than the tip, I try to remember to note that at the top so you know if the information is current. Here are a few of my favorite spots:
Italian-Rosebud on Taylor in Little Italy, there's also a location on Rush Street downtown
Greek-Greek Islands
Mexican-Salpicon or Adobo Grill
Spanish-Cafe Iberico
Steaks-Wildfire for more casual, Morton's for a special occasion
Pizza-Lou Malnati's, Edwardo's, Giordano's
Seafood-Joe's Stone Crab or Shaw's
Dim Sum-Shui Wah in Chinatown
Chinese-Lao Sze Sichaun in Chinatown
American contemporary Atwood Cafe
Breakfast-Bongo Room
Indian-Tiffin or Viceroy on Devon Avenue

Off the beaten path
Chicago is a city of neighborhoods that Chicago visitors often don't get a chance to see as they are outside the central area. If you are staying longer than a weekend, venture out into the neighborhoods to have a meal at one of the terrific ethnic restaurants throughout the city, take a free tour with a Chicago Greeter or one of the excellent tours offered by the Architecture Foundation. Here's a couple of my favorite neighborhoods:

Hyde Park

Top 10 reasons to visit Chicago

Chicago is often overlooked as a tourist destination for overseas visitors, it's the 3rd largest city and yet is only the 9th popular for overseas visitors, partially because of it's Midwestern location and partially because people thinking of visiting a large US city choose New York. Here's my top 10 list of reasons to visit Chicago:
Chicago Top 10

Best websites on Chicago:

Explore Chicago
Chicago Reader
Center Stage
Chicago Loop Alliance Loop walking tours
Yelp, user reviews
LTH Forum dining reviews

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Architecture, museums, FOOD!
  • Cons:Cold and snowy winters
  • In a nutshell:My favorite city in the US
  • Last visit to Chicago: May 2016
  • Intro Updated May 16, 2016
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Reviews (416)

Comments (121)

  • EasyMalc's Profile Photo
    May 22, 2016 at 9:01 AM

    I've enjoyed reading the introduction to your home city and the first few pages on Things to Do. I'll be back for more

  • jo104's Profile Photo
    Oct 16, 2015 at 6:04 AM

    love browsing your pages x

  • angiebabe's Profile Photo
    Mar 2, 2015 at 8:05 PM

    I drove the Fairytale road during a 4 day stopover between planes from Thailand to Scotland, the very first time in Germany and loved it. Headed back to Germany for self drives many times after being so impressed.

    • Dabs's Profile Photo
      Mar 3, 2015 at 10:36 AM

      Mongolia sounds interesting, have fun! All kinds of stuff on the Fairy Tale Road online, I'm sure I'll narrow it down at some point.

    • angiebabe's Profile Photo
      Mar 3, 2015 at 4:56 PM

      thanks Dabs,nearly packed, will go next door for breakfast and then look for a taxi and off to the huoche zhan! and its thousands of travellers there lol to find my way around ;) yeah it wont be difficult narrowing it down, well for me i just sort of have a plan and then see how things are on the ground, never needed to commit too much ahead though deciding whether Rhine area or Fairytale...both will be lovely, but so many lovely timbered buildings along the fairytale road! all the best to your plans!

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Mar 2, 2015 at 3:28 PM

    I'm glad to see you are keeping this big page up to date.

    • Dabs's Profile Photo
      Mar 2, 2015 at 6:05 PM

      I don't have a lot of time these days but I do try :-) Trying to plan a trip to Germany for May, debating between the Rhine Valley and the Fairy Tale Road

    • Nemorino's Profile Photo
      Mar 2, 2015 at 10:48 PM

      I'd take the Rhine Valley, but that's just me.

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Jul 11, 2014 at 4:34 AM

    Hi, Kristi! Your page is a real travel encyclopedia of Chicago! Thanks a lot!

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Jun 27, 2014 at 3:00 AM

    Me again, coming back to read some of your new tips and updates since 2012. I haven't been back to Chicago for twenty-five years now, but it still seems like home, sort of.

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Feb 18, 2012 at 11:30 AM

    As a child I used to go to the games at Wrigley Field sometimes, but then when I was nine years old the Cubs had a thirty-six game losing streak. I was so disappointed I vowed never to set foot in Wrigley Field again, and thus far I haven?t.

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Sep 26, 2011 at 8:04 AM

    Hello, Kristi!~ What an interesting page! It's very detailed and comprehensible...

  • Kaspian's Profile Photo
    Sep 26, 2011 at 7:39 AM

    Nice--Much better than that dour "American Gothic" couple!

  • DSwede's Profile Photo
    Aug 9, 2011 at 1:03 AM

    Yeah, I know there's no corn there... I dated a girl for a long while who was from Merriville and the family was spread across Schererville, Crown Point, etc. Even that far south is just barely on the fringes of corn.

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