Ch(a)i Town

Fun Fact: The Windy City is not so named for its inherent ability to mess up a good hair day (though it does seem to excel at that).

It was provided this nickname due to the copious amounts of hot air its politicians spew, further reinforcing my belief that this town is the whole of America on a much, much smaller scale.

To say that I’ve fallen in love with this city is an understatement. It seems that any news report (or Google search) containing the term ‘Chicago’ is comparable to that of ‘Florida Man’ in that it will ruin your faith in humanity. However, that’s just bullhonkey.

Each neighborhood has its own personality with hidden gems nested in every nook and cranny. Here’s just a snippet of my adventures to discover them:

Hyde Park

Though considered “South Side Chicago,” I feel safer walking around here at night than I do walking into most frat parties. My best friend and I got extraordinarily lucky to get a huge, historical apartment just down the road from U Chicago, Lake Michigan and the Museum of Science and Industry.

On my morning runs I’ve been able to explore a bit, but the biggest cons of living in this area are:

  1. There is hardly anything to do
  2. My apartment doesn’t have air conditioning

As much as I love baked goods, I don’t want to feel like one. Therefore, I spend all my time anywhere else on hot days.

 

West Town

My best friend and I got lucky enough to work in the area where West Town, Ukrainian Village and Wicker Park meet (which means my paychecks go directly into my stomach). This is my absolute favorite part of the city, and not just because all my time spent here is evenly divided between getting paid and trying fancy new cocktails: it’s because gentrification hasn’t yet strangled the life out of these parts– though you can hear the wheezing.

One of these photos is of my favorite not-so-hidden gem: Myopic Books. It’s a cute little used bookstore that bans phones and always has experimental jazz bands playing. Though there’s nothing calming about the sounds of a trumpet being beaten to death, the vibe is great and the selection is even better.

 

The Loop

One can’t mention Chicago without mentioning the Loop (and anyone from West Texas can probably feel their blood pressure rise every time they see those two words). It’s the home of every tourist trap imaginable, and is virtually always a madhouse. The Skydeck will bleed you dry, as will Magnificent Mile, but if you have no issue putting up with 1,000,000 of your closest friends, the Bean and Lurie Garden are free and worthwhile ways to pass the time.

I have yet to, but I keep swearing that I’m just going to sit in Lurie Garden with my feet in the wading pool while I read. However, that would require free time, which I seem to be lacking in. That probably explains why I’m not really sticking with the whole guitar playing thing, or the Danish thing, or the working out thing, or the architecture competition thing. Oh well!

I’m just trying to enjoy this bustling city as much as I can because there is only 30 days left between me and Denmark!

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