Monday, May 21, 2012

Monday 5 List #23-My Kinda Town

Chicago is one of the greatest cities in the World and for the next 4 months or so, it's also one of the most beautiful, busy and HOT places in the USA.
So for today's Monday List here are a few things you'll need for a summer in Chicago.

  1. Sunscreen. Chicago has 26 miles of beaches. Theater on the Lake, beach volleyball, numerous sailing and yacht clubs, Chicago Air and Water Show, music, festivals, markets and more. You'll need lots of sunscreen.
  2. Cash for cabs. Chicago is a City of neighborhoods and on a typical summer day you might go to a Cubs game in Wrigleyville, a street festival in Lincoln Park, dinner in Old Town and drinks in River North. Yes Chicago has an excellent transit system that combines the Metra trains, the L subway and buses, but transfers and delays make cabs the way to go in the summer. Don't even think of trying to park on the north side of the city, the parking meter rates and time limits are ridiculous. Although you might catch a break on major streets like Ashland Avenue for Cubs games and festivals. 
  3. Festival calendars. There is a wide variety of festivals throughout Chicago including Blues, Jazz, Taste of Chicago, Garden Walks and Art Fests. For calendars and locations click here and here
  4. A Hangout. Whether you are a Chicagoan or just playing one for the summer, you need a hangout. Over the years I've been a regular at many bars and clubs, a few of the great ones are now long gone and I still miss the familiarity of them. However the great thing about a city the size of Chicago is that you can always discover a new hangout. Here are a few of my favorites, you will likely see me perched on a bar stool or playing pool.
    1. Millie's. Small, old school street corner tavern with a pool table and darts and the nicest bartenders around. This is a beer bar, don't be an idiot and order a martini. If you see Toni behind the bar, tell her I said hello.
    2. Map Room. Its gone hipster which can be annoying on a weekend but Map Room still has an unparalleled beer selection and stacks of old National Geographic magazines. 
    3. Fernando's. Good Mexican food, great bar. My friend Michael knows everyone in this family owned establishment and it's a great place to watch a game. 
    4. O'Donnell's. We wandered into this bar on St. Patrick's Day and will definitely be back. The true definition of a Chicago neighborhood bar. Pool table, bar games, staff who have been there forever and locals. 
    5. The Museum Cafe and McKinlock Court patio at the Art Institute. As a member I am at AI as often as I can and in the summer, the interior courtyard is a beautiful oasis in the middle of the City. Delicious food and cocktails. Best enjoyed during the day as it closes before 8 pm.
  5. Your I've-Got-Your-Back Person. You know who it is. The person who will do something crazy with you, try experimental food, curl up on a beach blanket and nap after a festival, stop the world from spinning after drinking in the sun, toss you in a cab and take you to listen to great music. I'm lucky to have 2, Diana, my soul sister, world traveling companion, adventure seeker and Paul, my life partner, musician, fellow foodie, pool player, and Chicago lover. Chicago is better with them. If you are looking for your "person(s)"...the City is also an amazing place to find someone. 
Whatever you do in Chicago this summer, just enjoy it and if you are not here already come and visit. 

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