First stop, Chicago. It’s the home of the famous deep-dish pizza and hot dogs. Why Chicago you ask? My best friend just moved here for grad school and it was a great opportunity “aka free housing” for me to see the city again. Chicago was a good rest stop before my journey to London. My previous visit to Chicago was in June of 2014 and I got first hand experience to why it’s nicknamed the “Windy City”. Luckily this time around, the September weather was extremely enjoyable and it was nice to get out of the heatwave California was having.
Chicago has a well-planned public transportation system “CTA” and it was a great way to get used to the metro station “L” in which is commonly used for transportation in the U.K and rest of Europe, whereas Californians do not rely on such transportation. I knew that if I could figure out my way around Chicago I’d have a better chance not getting lost in Europe. And those of you that know me, I’d even get lost if I had a GPS system.
Chicago CTA system
Coming from O’Hare International Airport, you will board the Blue Line and the fare is a standard $5 including free transfers. However if you are going to O’Hare the fare is $2.50+ “city fee” = $3 single trip. Clark/Lake exit is where you will take your free transfer to any of the colored lines to the different regions in Chicago. Don’t fret if you happen to miss your train, they usually come 10-25 min apart. As for me, I was heading down to University of Chicago so I took the green line to Cottage Grove. Google map is my best travel buddy and it is much easier to navigate or make a friend and ask one of the locals.
If you visit Chicago baseball games are a must! North Side supports the Cubs at the famous Wrigley’s Field and the South Side supports the White Soxs at the U.S. Cellular Field. This time in Chicago I knew I had to watch a baseball game at the Wrigley’s Field since I missed it the last time I was here and it so happened to be the Cubs vs. Dodger. Me, being from LA had to support for my team and I can’t tell you how amazing it is to be at an away game and your team takes it home 7>4.
When exploring a new city, I definitely recommend checking out free walking tours, and only tip for great service! There are a ton out there and make sure its free, other wise the hostels you stay at have lots of recommendations. My tour guide Larry, a retired teacher, was a true Chicagoan and he knew so much of the history of this city. He mentioned that that Chicago went off a grid system and the Macy’s at State St is zone 1 right inside the “Loop.” The loop is where all the trains loop around the city and you can transfer to any line. We went through the Cultural Center, pointed out the city’s’ landmarks and we took a stroll into Millennium Park. *Some photos were from my last trip.
I stopped by this amazing Tea Bar called TeaGschwendner, one of the only 2 in the states. They origin from Germany and this place looked like a library of different flavors of tea.
* Tea: 8g for 20 oz, seep 2-6 min depending on the leaves. The different leaves require different temperature of water. They have a ton of flavors so if you’re clueless and overwhelmed from the huge selection just tell the barista your preference and they can recommend a few for you.
Last time, I had stopped by this coffee joint called Intelligentsia. They have several locations in CA but since they were originally from Chicago I had to visit their first location in Lakeview.
* Try the Eva Solo for a heavy body coffee. Try the v60 pour through for a light body coffee.
Chinatown: One description on the food, it was AMAZING. The area had a stench of rotting garbage and I hate that it was all in a cliché building. Nevertheless, they had really authentic food and I was majorly impressed since I didn’t expect that.
Dim sum: Ming Hin, If your in the mood for it but it wasn’t spectacular.
Chi Cafe, cheap and delicious for Hong Kong Style
Drinks: Joy Cafe, Drinks were tasty and consist of fresh ingredients
Chicago style pizza: There are 2 different types I recommend, deep-dish and /or stuffed pizza. Two of the biggest pizza chains in Chicago are Lou Malnati & Giordano’s.
The week I came also happened to be the week of my friend’s orientation. And so one of the days I had crashed their lunch and between the 2 of us we took 6 boxed lunches home. We also got so many goodies from her the entire school’s organization clubs. It was a nostalgic feeling to be back on a campus, let alone such an amazing campus that had deep history with the city. I pondered if I wanted to go back for graduate school and I knew one day if I could I would want too. So back on the grind once I’m done with my trip HAHA!
Private flight of the city nights by Windy City Tours:
1.If you have allergies like I do, make sure you bring Claritin or allergy medication.
2.Vit C: When you’re traveling you pass through many people in the airports or trains or just on the streets so load up on some C.