You know how I love my city, from the vibrant neighborhoods to the acclaimed restaurants to the skyline and shimmering lake that never fail to make me gasp. I love running into people I know in my favorite dive taco stand and in the shi-shi new rooftop bar. And I love showing guests my favorite spots, eats, stages and stadiums.
Here are some of the best hip-shaking, team-cheering, food-stuffing, culture-inhaling places to see in the second city, no matter what your budget or how many children are with you.
Willis Tower SkyDeck & The Ledge
While you’re peering down at the city from the Skydeck level of Willis Tower (rebellious Chicagoans adamantly still refer to it as the Sears Tower), be sure to step out on to The Ledge. These four glass balconies that are clear on all sides jut out from the Skydeck to offer breathtaking views you won’t replicate anywhere else in the city -- totally worth shaking off your jitters to experience! Click here for more information.
With three stages, a roster of 16 plays and nearly 700 performances, readings and events every year, Steppenwolf Theatre has exploded, season after season, since it was founded by Jeff Perry, Gary Sinise and Terry Kinney in a suburban church basement. The ensemble is made up of 43 actors, many of whom you will recognize and some who you may even spy in the audience. Steppenwolf sets always wow and the productions will surely get you thinking. Main-stage shows often include a discussion with cast or crew that is worth sticking around for. Click here for more information.
Chicago-Style Hot Dog
Skip the ketchup and shake on the celery salt if you want to devour a Chicago-style hot dog. From the ballpark to a hole-in-the-wall sandwich stand, you can keep yourself busy in the city simply by doing a taste test of all the dogs we offer. Although it doesn’t make the list for best hot dogs, SuperDawg drive-in serves up more kitsch and history than anyone else steaming hot dogs in the city limits. Click here for a food reviewer's top dog picks.
Second City Theatre
The sketch comedy and improv stages at Second City have lit up the careers of greats Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Stephen Colbert, Steve Carrell, Mike Meyers, John Candy, Gilda Radner, Bill Murray, John Belushi and 500 more recognized names in the business. Established more than a half-century ago, The Second City entertains a million audience members a year with its theaters in Chicago and Toronto and touring ensembles. Shows are scheduled every night of the week and could feature SNL’s next breakout star. Click here for more information.
National Museum of Mexican Art
This free museum that houses more than 7,000 objects and artifacts in its permanent collection was founded by Chicago Public School teachers with a budget of only $900. Today, more than 60,000 school children and thousands more supporters visit each year to take in the art and culture from both sides of the border on exhibit. Click here for more information.