Sometimes cities have weird and exaggerated nicknames. Philadelphia as the City of Brotherly Love? Yeah OK.
New York is The City that Never Sleeps? That’s some hyperbole if I ever heard it.
And I know that Los Angeles in Spanish translates to the City of Angels. But I’ve been to Los Angeles twice. Haven’t spotted a single angel. Even a Nicolas Cage sighting would suffice. But no.
Chicago, on the other hand, has absolutely earned its nickname. It’s so windy there that I almost bottled up some of it and brought it back as a souvenir.
I love visiting new cities and discovering the culture, the people and the vibe. Experiencing its identity. It’s interesting because since I live so close to New York, people tend to use it as the point of comparison to other cities.
“It’s like a mini New York.”
“It’s like New York, except…”
“The people there are so much nicer than New York.”
Well that last sentence pretty much applies anywhere. Except maybe Detroit.
But anyway, calling Chicago a “mini New York” does not do the city justice, because it’s freaking huge. There’s so much to see and do there that it deserves its own stature.
Being there for only three days, I made sure to do the things every tourist needs to do. Go to a Cubs game. Eat deep dish pizza. Stand on top of the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower). And, of course, take a picture in front of the Bean (properly called the Cloud Gate).
Going to Wrigley was especially a huge thrill for me, being a huge baseball fan who has now watched a game in more than a dozen stadiums across the U.S. It’s the second oldest baseball stadium behind Fenway Park, which I have also been to.
The Willis Tower, by the way, is the second tallest building in the nation, topped only by the newly built One World Trade Center. The tower’s Skydeck allows you to stand on a transparent glass panel that juts out of the building and lets you look straight down. It’s not recommended for those with a fear of heights.
And the deep dish pizza shouldn’t legally be defined as pizza. It was delicious, don’t get me wrong, but it was basically just a volcano of cheese and sauce.
Chicago is a very clean, accessible city with its fair share of diversity, giant buildings and very limited places to park. If you’ve never been, I’d recommend going immediately.
Next, my travels take me from the appropriately-named Windy City to Phoenix, which people apparently call the Valley of the Sun.
Something tells me that nickname will also hold true.