My need to visit Chicago began when I started watching the Chicago TV series franchise: “Fire,” “P.D.,” and “Med.” They made me want to see the city for myself, so I made it happen. I am so glad I did because Chicago is an excellent place. From its food to its architecture and its pier, it has a lot going for it. Here are the top five things I recommend you do when visiting Chicago for the first time.
Stroll Down Michigan Avenue
Michigan Avenue, or the Magnificent Mile, is a great place to begin. Enjoy shopping up a storm on the avenue, or visit the 360 Chicago Observation Deck at the John Hancock Centre. From its 94th-floor position, visitors will get an unparalleled view of Chicago’s impressive cityscape. Next on the Michigan Avenue list is visiting the Riverwalk and admiring the city’s impressive skyscrapers.
Visit Millennium Park
Can you go to Chicago and not see Cloud Gate, also known as The Bean? Enjoy getting your bean selfie — I sure did! Other must-see areas in the park include the Crown Fountain and Wrigley Square. In summer, enjoy a show at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, and in winter, go ice skating at McCormick Tribune Plaza. Don’t forget to walk across the BP Bridge to Buckingham Fountain, which is opposite the lake. It definitely has a British influence.
Loop the Loop
The Loop is a great area to base yourself in Chicago. Once you book a hotel, get your bearings by doing a walking tour with Free Tours by Foot. I did several tours with this company throughout the United States, and I highly recommend it. There are a couple of tours that focus on the Loop and its interesting architecture. Learn more about the city through its commercial core and visit some of its most fascinating buildings. Don’t forget to visit the iconic Chicago Theatre and sign, too.
Check Out Navy Pier
Navy Pier may be a cliche activity to do in Chicago, but I really enjoyed my visit. There are rides available for kids and adults, including a Ferris wheel. However, I just walked around the pier and admired the view of Chicago’s skyline. I may have also stopped inside to pick up a souvenir or two at one of Navy Pier’s many specialty shops. In summer, visit in the afternoon and enjoy a drink outside in the beer garden.
Eat Deep Dish Pizza
You can’t go to Chicago and not try its infamous pizza. I had the most delicious pizza from Giordano’s, which I still remember today. It was thick, saucy, and unforgettable. But there are plenty of restaurants around the city that offer deep dish slices. Remember, go there on an empty stomach!
Chicago is one of those great cities that has a lot to offer visitors. From the Loop to Lincoln Park, make sure Chicago is on your American bucket list.
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