Similar in terms of population, weather and geography, Chicago is often compared by Canadians to Toronto. But after taking a closer look, you would know that Chicago has had a way better city planning and transit infrastructure, nothing like Canada’s largest city.
Not really trying to shame Toronto, but the past and present city mayor and councils have somehow failed to layer Toronto better. The infighting and disconnection between the municipal, provincial and federal governments seem to be deeply rooted in its political climate.
Perhaps Toronto’s newly elected mayor John Tory can learn something from Chicago.
But enough with the political issues of Toronto, Chicago didn’t exactly get its nickname ‘Windy City’ for its gusty winds. Chicago’s famous nickname originated with its city politicians and boosters who were full of ‘hot air’ in the late 19th century. Let’s just say back then, the Chicagoans weren’t exactly proud of who were managing their land.
It’s not until the last few decades, Chicago has cleaned its act, dolling up its lake-front properties and attracting major U.S. businesses like Boeing Co., MillerCoors and Archer Daniels Midland Co. to its city core.
Its waterfront skyline is also one of the most beautiful in the world, with the exception of the new Trump tower that stands in the middle of the canal with a tacky sign that says ‘Trump.’ Everywhere you look, Chicago’s waterfront archect is simply manificant.
A quick weekend getaway to Chicago in this time of the year will definitely make you fall in love with the city.
For those who has never been to Chicago, here’s what I recommend for you. One little secret that most of you have seen but have not used that will help you tremendously and reduce your wait time for each of the major attractions is the CityPass. Not only that it’s much cheaper to buy the admissions in bulk with the CityPass. With this little secret in hand, you can skip lines at all of its preferred sights. We simply couldn’t have visited all these places in 3 days without it, for sure.
In addition to what was offered in the CityPass, we highly recommend the following activities.
Architectural boat tours: Not only this is popular with tourists. Residents of Chicago often tour its own canal/river with a boat or kayak. But if the boat appeals to you and the architecture does not, you can look into getting tickets on Saturday night, so you can watch Navy Pier’s fireworks from the lake. The Chicago CityPass, however, does not include a boat tour.
Millennium Park: You can’t visit Chicago without taking a selfie in front of “The Bean” in Millennium Park. Within the same walking distance, you can also see the beautiful fountain of Buckingham. Remember the opening number in ‘Married with Children’?
If you are traveling with kids or simply love marine life, Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium is a must-see. For those who love animals, it doesn’t cost you anything to enter the Lincoln Park Zoo.