Cultural Experience | Chicago

Living in the Windy City: Why I Love Calling Chicago My Home

If I Named Everything I Loved About this City, I’d Have to Write a Book!

By Shannon Kelly, University of Illinois

I live in Elmhurst, IL., when people ask “Where are you from?”, I always answer with “Chicago”. Last Saturday I took a 40 minute train ride to the city, and spent the day downtown. From going to Millennium Park and Navy pier to simply strolling the streets of Michigan Avenue, I was reminded of how much I love the city of Chicago and why I am proud to call it my home.

Chicago is a vibrant city that is unlike any other place. Besides being the third most populated city and home to the second tallest building, the Willis Tower, in the United States, there are many things that gives Chicago character and makes it one of a kind.

The Chicago Skyline

I may be biased, but I don’t think you can take a bad picture of the Chicago skyline. It is picturesque both during the day and at night. Both the lakefront and the Willis Tower make the skyline unique. You can take a tour of the Willis Tower (which most Chicagoans still call the Sears Tower) and the John Hancock Building, in which you will see the whole view of the city. It is almost impossible to leave Chicago without admiring the skyline and capturing a picture to take home as a memento.

Chicago skyline image

Museums

Chicago has an abundance of museums that can turn a boring rainy day into a fun experience where you are bound to learn something new. It was great growing up so close to the city, because that meant there was always a field trip coming up at one of these places.

If you ever have a free day to kill while your in Chicago, be sure to check out a museum or two listed below. In addition to museums, Lincoln Park Zoo is also a great place to go as well. The zoo has free admission and some of the museums have discounted prices on weekdays, which is definitely a perk!

  •  The Shedd Aquarium
  • The Field Museum
  • The Museum of Science and Industry
  • Museum of Contemporary Art
  • Children’s Museum
  • Chicago History Museum
  • Lincoln Park Zoo

Navy Pier

Navy Pier is one of my favorite attractions in Chicago. It is located right on water and you can see a beautiful view of the skyline. There are an abundance of things to do for people of all ages including:

  •  Boat rides
  • Shows and concerts
  • Wave Swinger, Ferris Wheel and Carousel rides
  • Chicago Children’s Museum
  • Restaurants and shopping
  • Fireworks during the summer months

navy pier chicago image

Millennium Park

Millennium Park is a public park that is filled with beautiful architecture that the whole family can enjoy. Millennium Park is home to the Cloud Gate which is better know as “The Bean” which is a reflective figure that people love to take pictures of.

cloud gate chicago the bean image

the bean cloud gate chicago image

There is also Crown Fountain which are two towers with faces on them which change from time to time. This is a place that many young children like to splash around in during the summer.

crown fountain chicago image

Jay Pritzker Pavilion is also a part of Millennium Park that is used for concerts and events. According to The City of Chicago website, this accommodates 11,000 people and has a state-of-the-art sound system.
These are just three of the great things that Millennium Park has to offer, and it is a place that should be explored if you ever go to the city.

Concerts, Plays and Events

There is always something to do in Chicago, without fail. There is always a selection of plays at different theaters around the city; Book of Mormon is a popular choice right now. Chicago is always a destination for popular artists to come perform when they are on tour. There are many venues in the city and surrounding suburbs that have an abundance of concerts. If you are looking to save some money, there are often times free concerts and movies in the various parks in Chicago during the summer months which never disappoint. Lollapalooza is a well known three day musical festival that is a favorite of many which is coming up this August.

Throughout the year you can also participate in various organized runs, like The Color Run and The 3-Day Walk for Breast Cancer. Many of these walks are charitable, so you also support a good cause while spending time outside in the beautiful city.

Sporting Events

Although I’m not much of a sports fan myself, Chicago has many teams fans love to support throughout the year. We have the Chicago Cubs and White Sox for baseball , Chicago Bears for football, Chicago Bulls for basketball and Chicago Blackhawks, who just took home the 2013 Stanley Cup, for hockey. No matter what your sport is, there is always a game for you to watch during every season.

It was pretty difficult to narrow this list down to six things that are great about Chicago, but if I named everything I loved about the city, I’d have to write a book. I think everyone should put “spend a weekend in Chicago” on their bucket list… you won’t be disappointed!

Shannon Kelly

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign | 10 stories

Shannon Kelly is a Journalism major at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is involved with the student newspaper, new student programing, and greek life on campus. She has a passion for travel, loves animals, and never turns down an adventure. Always looking for a reason to laugh and be spontaneous, Shannon also enjoys music and movies.


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