Chicago is perhaps one of the nicest urban surprises I’ve had in recent years. Coming in for a conference visit I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect but Chicago has far exceeded any expectations I had.
May provided me with perfect weather to enjoy all that Chicago has to offer – wonderful urban architecture, world class museums, terrific lake beaches, lovely funky neighborhoods, lots of cultural events to choose from with plenty of live music joints.
I’m generally lucky when it comes to meeting people when I travel, but in Chicago it was incredible. My host family, the East Lakeview community, Chicago professors who opened their homes and lab meetings for me to join, some friendly people I met at the conference and some really charming local residents who I immediately connected with and who were kind to share some of their lives with me while taking me around the city. These are all wonderful memories I shall not soon forget.
To sum it up, here are some of the places I visited while I was in Chicago.
- Chicago Art Institute
- Chicago Museum of Science and Industry
- Museum Campus : Chicago
- Museum of Contemporary Art : Chicago
- Chicago Museum of History
Chicago Parks, Small Attractions and Neighborhoods
- Wicker Park : Chicago
- Cloud Gate "The Bean" & Crown Fountain : Millennium Park
- Lincoln Park Zoo : Chicago
- Farmer Market Lincoln Park
- Blue Bars : Chicago
- University of Chicago : Campus Walk
- China Town
Other than that :
- Attended the wonderful APS conference. My first psychology conference. Met lots of people there, and it is what eventually led to my 6 months visiting scholar expedition to FSU in Tallahassee in September.
- Visited a couple of blues bars, saw the Jersey Boys Broadway musical, a small theater production – Freud’s Last Session, and a few non-Hollywood films in some of the small movie theaters.
- Stayed with the most wonderful host family that has been overwhelmingly welcoming and friendly to me. Through them I also got to join and meet some of the local East Lakeview Jewish community on weekends and the holiday of Shavuot, as well as indirectly experience some of the very extroverted "boy’s town" atmosphere every night walking back home.
My suggested 5 days 4 nights itinerary would be :
- Day 1 : Downtown and architecture tour, Millennium Park, Art Institute.
- Night 1 : Blues Bar
- Day 2 : Lincoln Park & Zoo, Michigan lake walk, the Magnificent Mile all the way to the Navy Pier. Visit the History museum near Lincoln park at the beginning of the tour, or better yet – the contemporary museum near the Magnificent Mile. Go up one of the towers for grand views of Chicago.
- Night 2 : Musical.
- Day 3 : Museum campus.
- Night 3 : Theater production or stand up comedy.
- Day 4 : University of Chicago campus and Chicago Museum of Science and Industry. Maybe stop at China Town on the way, if you’re curious (I’m based in HK, you see?).
- Night 4 : Enjoy the funky nightlife in one of the smaller neighborhoods.
- Day 5 : Wonder around one or two of the smaller neighborhoods.
Have fun! Hope you enjoy Chicago as much as I did.