This holiday season, I’m not traveling to a tropical destination or ski chalet. Instead, I am going to the one place where it feels right to spend Christmas break: home. And for me, home is the beautiful city of Chicago! Having lived there for 10 years before coming to Montreal, I’d like to think I know the city pretty well. So if you happen to be stopping by the Windy City over the holidays (or you’d like to visit someday!), here are my Top 6 must-do’s in Chicago:
#1 Walk around Millennium Park
Okay this one is obvious, but for good reason! Millennium Park is a charming park located right in the middle of Downtown. Its main attraction is the Cloud Gate (which everyone calls “the Bean” by the way), but there’s plenty more to see, like the Crown Fountain and the Lurie Gardens. Just walking around the green spaces is a relaxing experience. And, do not, I repeat DO NOT, miss the Art Institute, located right next to Millennium Park. It’s a wonderful museum, with lots to see, and even if you’re not an art fan, it’s a must-do. They also renovated the Modern Wing a few years back, so that’s cool too.
#2 Go watch a Bulls game
It’s the ultimate All-American experience and definitely worth the trip to the United Center. The atmosphere is indescribable, but just imagine over 20,000 energetic and loud fans cheering on their favorite basketball team, dancing along to the music, sipping beer, and trying to get noticed by the cameras. Totally wild, totally worth it.
#3 Go see a Blue Man’s Group performance
Blue Man Group is yet another indescribable experience: it’s basically a show that combines everything you love: intense music, comedy, technology, and (spoilers) food! I won’t say more, but you’ll thank me after the show.
#4 Just walk around
It might sound weird, but just walking around Chicago is a treat. Not only does the city have a real charm, but each of its neighborhoods have their own personality. You’re sure to discover something whether it’s on Michigan Avenue, surrounded by an interesting mix of modern skyscrapers and ancient architecture – Lincoln Park, home to the Chicago zoo and some really cool gardens – or Old Town, where you’ll most likely be surrounded by hipsters and young families. The list of awesome neighborhoods goes on, but the point is, don’t stay in one spot and move around!
#5 Go chill by the lake (literally)
Okay, I use “chill” in two ways, because the Lakefront in wintertime is probably not the first place you want to visit, but at least stop by for a few minutes. The Lake really gives Chicago that extra charm, and it’s a great spot to get a full view of the city.
#6 And finally: food!
You might not know, but Chicago is a renowned foodie town. It has everything from the classiest restaurants (like Alinea, ranked one of best in the world) to good ole fast food joints (all hail Chipotle!). Some of my personal favorites: Tre Kronor, for a comforting, satisfying meal served in a friendly, casual setting; Mindy’s Hot Chocolate, for out-of-this-world desserts (my tip: barely eat anything before, you’ll want to have plenty of room); and Café Des Architectes, for delicious, flavorful French food served in a refined setting.
There you go: my Chicago must-dos! Honestly, there is much more to do, but these are my highlights, the places that I have never gotten tired off in my ten years in the Windy City.
Written by: Marie Le Cannellier