Living in such a big city, the word tourist can at times be a huge turn off. It’s a word often muttered with scorn while trying to cross the street or while freeing yourself from a crowded train on a Saturday afternoon. However, being a tourist in your own city takes the stress off of navigating and allows you to see things from a fresh new perspective.
I am certain that my fellow Chicagoans would agree that this winter has been a rough one. As much as I love this city, the harsh weather and unbearable wind chill has left me with some hard feelings. I had been especially cooped up this past week studying for midterms and evading the brutal cold. My cabin fever was creeping on terminal when a friend called to say she was visiting for the weekend. I took this as a sign, I needed to get out.
First on the list of places to visit was Intelligentsia. Intelligentsia makes one of the most divine lattes in Chicago. The place is crowded on a Saturday, but with a little ambition you can find somewhere to sit.
After we were properly fueled, we headed off to Chicago’s iconic Cloud Gate sculpture, more fondly known as The Bean. The cognitive experience of seeing The Bean for the first time is much the same of seeing the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person. This is a weird analogy, but hear me out. Both are seen through pictures and talked about so often, but when you see them, you can’t help but smile and laugh at the comical grandeur they both possess. A tower that leans, a larger than life reflective jelly bean? I can’t be the only one to find them both equally amusing!
You have to twist my arm to get me into an art museum. Needless to say, I was very pleased that The Art Institute of Chicago was our next stop. I remember the first time I visited this museum as a girl. The piece that stuck with me the most was the Chagall windows. Naturally, I had to pay a visit. We made our way to the American Art wing, which showcases stunning pieces by one of my favorite artists and feminists, Georgia O’Keeffe. I was especially drawn to the Georgia O’Keefe painting pictured below. I loved the poignant quote from the artist that accompanied the piece, “the bones seem to cut sharply to the center of something that is keenly alive on the desert even though it is vast empty and untouchable.” I could spend hours here, but the day was dwindling and we still had much on our agenda.
On a Saturday I would usually stay as far away from Michigan Avenue (too many tourists!), but I was embracing my inner tourist and taking on new perspectives. To begin our late afternoon of shopping we stopped off at Dylan’s Candy Bar, a place I have actually never been. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, but I was completely enamored with the selection of retro candy bars. I had to snap a pic!
To conclude our day of traipsing around the windy (but not too chilly!) city we had a nosh and libations at Taco Joint, located several blocks off the Armitage stop. Their margaritas and sangria are the best I’ve ever had, and I can’t say no to their ceviche tucked in a house made Taro root taco shell. Yum!
Remember, don’t be afraid to explore the tried and true tourist attractions: they are well loved for a reason!