Chicago is that third city often getting left out of the conversation when talking about the main cities to visit in America, always in the shadows of New York and Los Angeles. It's the capital of the Midwest, however, and it definitely has a unique feel that separates itself from its bigger brothers.
Being into photography, it's a blast to shoot around as I found it to be an extremely photogenic city.
I went to visit my sister who was living there, so having a resident guide take me around was nice. While Chicago's a big city, it still had a somewhat laid back feel to it, letting you explore at your own pace. To top it off, it has one of the most beautiful skylines you can find.
One of the unique characteristics about Chicago is the canals that run through the city. They run right between some of the iconic towers that shape the skyline. We took a boat tour through them and it was a very good experience. The one that we took was Wendella Boats, and their Original Architecture Tour will take you by and explain about some of the city's most historical buildings.
Michigan Ave is one of the main streets, and is known as the shopping street. Even if you're not looking to get some new clothes, it's just a nice walk - lined with tulips and various flowers when I went - and it also crosses one of the main canals for a good photo op.
Another iconic spot is Cloud Gate, otherwise known as "The Bean" at Millennium Park. After walking around and taking some cool mirror pics, you can check out the Frank Gehry-designed Jay Pitzker Pavillion nearby.
Conveniently next to it is Bike and Roll, a place you can rent bicycles to ride around the city. This was such a good idea and I'm glad that we got to do it. You can head out towards the lake and head south. You'll pass Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park towards the Shedd Aquarium, The Field Museum, Adler Planetarium and Soldier Field. We didn't go into any of them, choosing to enjoy the city views then head up a little north to explore a bit.
If you go north along the shoreline, you'll pass Navy Pier. Continue on to the sand volleyball courts, then look back and you'll see another nice cityscape behind you with the buildings wrapping around the lake.
Chicago is quite a great sports city as well, as it's the home to NFL (Bears), NBA (Bulls), MLB (Cubs & White Sox) and NHL (Blackhawks) teams. We checked out a Cubs baseball game at Wrigley Field, and while I'm not a big baseball fan, it was fun and you could sense the history there.
Chicago was a good time and I can't believe that I hadn't visited it earlier. It's very well rounded and there's something for everyone. There's also a lot of good food:
The Angry Crab
There's no way to make this look appetizing, but this is one of my favorite eats that I've had on any trip. Seriously. I've been to other delicious, cajun seafood on the table, dig in with your hands and get messy type of places, but this one is the best. The flavor is maxed out and with spiciness levels named after local professional sports teams, it's fun. You can't go wrong.
What's a Chicago trip without some Chicago deep dish pizza? Giordano's was one of two shops that was recommended to me and it didn't disappoint. I had some of the cheesiest, wholesome slices ever here and would go again for sure.
If you're a pancakes or brunch fan, check out Wildberry. It's immensely popular and, as you might have guessed, is known for their berry pancakes. I'm not a big sweets person nor a pancake one so I only tried a little, but I'm quite sure anyone who is a fan of them would love it. I went with their Los Altos Benedict, which featured chorizo sausage. Delicious.
If you ever wished for a combination of Mexican and Korean food, Del Seoul is a pretty good wish granted. It's got a good balance of both. I tried an assortment of tacos as well as their kim chee fries. Nothing was a disappointment, it should definitely be considered if you're in the area.
Molly's Cupcakes is a cute little shop a little north of the downtown area, right down the street from Del Seoul. They've got small batches of creative combos of cupcakes and a nice, homemade feel. The creative vibe continues as the counter chairs are actually playground swings, and their window sign is quite different (last pic).