I thought it would only be fitting to start with dear old Chicago, IL because I currently live in this beautiful, lively city! Chicago has so many great things to see and do and for all ages.
- The Sears Tower (currently called The Willis Tower): okay, I know they changed the name, but who knows it by The Willis Tower? Either way, this tower is the tallest in Chicago, yet alone the Western Hemisphere! On the 103rd floor of this building is the Skydeck which has amazing views of the city and the Ledge, a glass box that lets you see what it's like to be 1,353 feet in the air. Pretty freaky if you ask me. See more info here.
- The Cloud Gate (pictured on the right): referred to locals as "The Bean" due to it's shape, this structure is an interesting one to see! The mirrored surface gives amazing reflections of the city! It's located in Millennium Park, in downtown Chicago.
- Navy Pier: Although Navy Pier is seasonal, there is much to do and see if the weather's right! One of its most famous attractions is the Ferris Wheel. At 150 feet high, Navy Pier's Ferris Wheel will also give you a great view from above. Other Navy Pier attractions include a putt putt course, carousel, kid's theme park, boat rides, and many restaurants (including Bubba Gump Shrimp). This is a great attraction for families. See more info here.
- Wrigley Field: Come during baseball season and go to a Chicago Cubs game at Wrigley Field! This baseball field, located in the Wrigleyville neighborhood, is historic with its beautiful green ivy wall. Also, it is one of the most fun baseball games I've ever been to. Sit in the bleacher section for a great time filled with beer (try Chicago's Old Style), classic and Chicago Style hot dogs, and a great crowd! Come before and stick around after to experience Wrigleyville bars and restaurants with the rest of the Cubs game fans. It's sure to be a great time!
- The Magnificent Mile: Famously known for its shopping, the Mag. Mile has everything from upscale shopping at Neiman Marcus to sportswear at Niketown. Also located on the Mile, fine and casual dining.
- Chicago Pizza: Save one meal for the famous Chicago Style deep dish pizza! There are a few delicious pizza serving restaurants, some of my favorites include: Lou Malnati's, Giordano's, and Gino's. Be aware, this pizza is very filling!
- Neighborhood Festivals: During the summer (late May-September), more than 400 festivals take place in different Chicago neighborhoods. These are one of the best ways to see different areas of the city while enjoying live music, good food, and refreshing beverages for a low cost (less than $10) entry fee. Come and enjoy the locals scene! Some of the larger, more popular, and well known festivals are Lollapalooza and the Taste of Chicago. See more info and schedules here.
- Old Town: A great Chicago neighborhood, Old Town has some great shopping, restaurants, bars, and not to mention a little place called Second City. Second City (not really a hidden gem, as it is very well known) is only one of the many hilarious places to catch a comedy show in this city.
- Lake Michigan Beaches: I never really thought of going to the beach in Chicago before I lived here, but believe it or not, this city has some great Midwest beaches! Come to North Avenue beach and lay out, and when you're hungry or thirsty you can stop by Castaway's, the north avenue beach bar and grill.
- Volare Restaurant: My favorite Italian restaurant in Chicago! It has the ambiance of a restaurant you would find in Italy and some of the best food! My go to dish every time is the gnocchi with vodka sauce. Delish.
- Rise Sushi & Sake Lounge: This upscale sushi restaurant has some of the best signature makis. My favorite is the Flaming Maki, served warm it is simple with only salmon, avocado and spicy mayo. And for presentation, it comes circled around a little bowl of flame!