"Captivating City of "The Big Shoulders": Chicago" Top 5 Page for this destination Chicago by deecat

Chicago Travel Guide: 5,920 reviews and 12,132 photos

Scenic Skyline

"I have struck a city--a real city. And they call it Chicago. The other places do not count." Rudyard Kipling

I recently took this photograph (July, 2006) on a beautiful day in the city when my daughter Jill and I were celebrating my birthday. The sky was so beautiful that it looked fake. Believe me, it is not fake. Sometimes, I'm lucky with a photo taken with my digital camera, and the perfect shot results. This, I feel, is one of those times.

Chicago might be one of the most misunderstood cities in the United States. When people from other countries think of Chicago, they speak in terms of "gangsters", "Mob Bosses", "Murder Capitol", and "Second City." But, we who live in Chicago or near Chicago, know that those stereotypes are FALSE.

Chicago is one of the cleanest, safest large cities for tourist to visit.

It's a city with one of the best lakefronts... Lake Michigan.
Also, Chicago is filled with some of the best and most varied restaurants; it has the finest and best known shops which "line" the Magnificent Mile, the famed Water Tower Place as well as that great street, State Street, in the "Loop".

Beautiful, easily-recognized architecture is scattered throughout the city; it's a city with a reputation for a lively music scene with Blues Bars, Broadway Musicals, major Rock Concerts, and an Opera House.

In the category of Sports, Chicago shines. We have teams with great long histories and nationwide followings. The basketball Bulls with six Championships, The Black Hawks hockey team, The Chicago Bears Football team affectionately called, "The Monsters of the Midway:", and let me not forget the two great baseball teams: The Chicago White Sox from the South Side (The World Champs, 2005), and the Chicago Cubs from the North Side. My husband and I are, of course, Cub fans. My husband has followed them faithfully for 50 years!

The beaches along the lakefront are activity-packed, from the competitive Beach Volleyball games to the graceful Hand Gliding activity.

There are two zoos: The Brookfield Zoo (Large zoo located in a nearby Western Suburb) and the city zoo, Lincoln Park, which, by the way, has FREE ADMISSION.

The best positive characteristic about Chicago is its neighborhoods, which have kept the "flavor" of the immigrants who came here long ago.

There's Taylor Street with wonderful Italian Restarurants, Greek Town and its authenic eateries, Lincoln Square and its German food and Beer Fests, Chinatown, South Side with its wonderful Soul Food as well as a myriad of other nationalities and their food specialties.

I've often thought that even if I ate in a different restaurant every day from now until the end of my life, I would not have eaten in all of them...and I 'm talking about restaurants that serve GREAT food.

We're not a Second City, just a different kind of city
.

Facts You Might Not Know About Chicago

"Chicago likes audacity and is always willing to try something once; no matter who you are, where you come from, or what you set out to do, Chicago will give you a chance." Lincoln Steffens, journalist & muckraker, c. 1900

I did some reading about Chicago's history before I started these pages so that I could glean some insights into the personality of the City.

I found out some things I never knew and will share them with you.

1. The first nuclear chain reaction
took place in Illinois at THE
UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO in
1942.


2. Pinball was invented in 1930
in an Outdoor Games Company
in CHICAGO.


3.The first Aquarium opened in CHICAGO in 1893.

4. The Home Insurance Building
was built in 1885 in CHICAGO,
being the world's FIRST modern
skyscraper.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Clean, friendly, vibrant, soulful, musical, sport's minded yet filled with culture and art
  • Cons:In some neighborhoods there are gangs and drugs just like all big cities
  • In a nutshell:A Working Man's City with a Sophisticated Edge
  • Last visit to Chicago: Feb 2005
  • Intro Updated Oct 22, 2008
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Reviews (223)

Comments (198)

  • ana111's Profile Photo
    Jun 6, 2012 at 6:14 AM

    very interesting page , very beautiful photographs

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Apr 9, 2012 at 3:08 PM

    Hi Dee, I’m glad to see you back online. Hope everything is well. I’ve just been looking at some of the newer tips on your definitive Chicago page. Last September in Paris I finally met Kristi (Dabs) and her husband David at a VT meeting. Also I have met Chet (yooperprof) twice here in Frankfurt; we went to the opera together both times.

  • Yaqui's Profile Photo
    Dec 25, 2011 at 10:06 AM

    Awesome Chicago page Dee! Your tips and photographs are so delightful. Lots of wonderful information here that will be so helpful when visiting such a beautiful city! Merry Christmas Dee & Alan!

  • atufft's Profile Photo
    Nov 27, 2011 at 8:08 PM

    Dee, your informal introduction to the great city of Chicago makes me want to return that much sooner. Thanks for the details...alan

  • Pawtuxet's Profile Photo
    Nov 8, 2011 at 4:59 AM

    My visit to Chicago was much too short. Fun to explore through your tips and pics. I tried finding the Polish neighborhood but found only one small museum. Wished for one of those wonderful Polish food markets. Maybe you'll do a travelogue on that ethnic history in the city. All the best! Congrats on your rising position in VT!!

  • Nov 12, 2010 at 10:45 AM

    Extraordinary tips about various places to eat. This is a masterpiece. This was incredible to view and read. This city is fantastic and you are its biggest advocate.

  • Marisola's Profile Photo
    May 8, 2010 at 7:38 AM

    Happy Mother's Day, Dee! Hope you have a wonderful day! I bought both my parents massages for Mother's Day and Father's Day! :)

  • jillzi's Profile Photo
    Apr 14, 2010 at 11:34 AM

    Completed! Speaking of comprehensive; these pages are amazing. The city should be paying you for your positive comments, beautiful photographs, & brilliant narration. Great introduction. What a city.

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Mar 29, 2010 at 5:50 AM

    ~ Hi, Dee, I marvel at your pages that are truly encyclopedias of knowledge and traveling. I wish I could revisit the Splendid Chicago...

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    Mar 17, 2010 at 3:33 PM

    I think your intro explanation of this fabulous city should go to Chamber for tourism promotion. You do such great detail to guide us through the reality of what and why to see and do. The tip of restroom view is good stuff

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