I just got back from my Chicago adventures, and I have 3 words to describe it: art, architecture and parks. I was there for 5 days and 4 nights, enjoying different walking tours based on awesome resources I found from the library, but mostly from City Walks: Chicago and Hour Chicago.
There’s a lot to cover, so I’ll be starting a series with posts on specific tours I enjoyed, with personal stories and tips included, maybe in this order:
- Millennium Park
- Grant Park
- Art Institute
- Museum Campus
- Michigan Avenue
- Printers Row
- The Loop / Downtown
- Chicago River Walk
- Magnificent Mile
- Navy Pier
- John Hancock Observatory
Other Great Sites:
- Oak Street Beach
- River North Gallery District
- Gold Coast
- Old Triangle District
- N Wells Street
- Lincoln Park
- Oz Park
- Armitage Avenue
- Prairie Ave Historic District
- Burnham Park
- University of Chicago
- Jackson Park
- UIC Halsted & Jane Addams Museum
Please check back later for additional links and pictures I post later on.
Chicago vs Los Angeles: Observations on the People
So why Chicago? While writing about Los Angeles, I wanted to find other major cities to compare it with. I’ve never been to the Midwest, and I’ve always been intrigued by Chicago’s skyline and city culture.
Interestingly, I’ve had the most communication with homeless people in 5 days there, than a year living in LA. I think the difference is in the land structure as well — in Southern California, people live in the suburbs, away from the city center, and this in turn promotes isolation, enclaves and socioeconomic and ethnic distancing. That’s why there’s a lot of interaction with homeless people on the roadside in So Cal.
In Chicago, most people use the elevated L train, centered around the Loop. People live in tall apartments in downtown, and all classes of people use the CTA system. I got a 50% off CTA pass Groupon when I visited Chicago, so I used the buses liberally, with a mobile Google Maps as my guide.
I was approached by a lot of homeless people on the streets, probably because I was a walking target – tourist and Asian written all over me.
That’s not to say Chicago isn’t diverse. It definitely is, but just different. In LA, we have Koreatown, Little Tokyo, Little Ethiopia and a lot of Asian and Mexican neighborhoods. In Chicago, there’s Ukrainian Village, Little Italy, Greektown, Pilsen and Polish Downtown.
As for customer service, most were nice and accomodating. I had encounters with rude and irritated servers, but that’s to be expected in the city I guess.