University of Chicago
Living in and going to school in Chicago is something I feel honored to have the chance to do. You really get to know the city better and better day by day. As college students in Chicago, we really love Chicago's vast range of opportunities. We frequently go downtown to eat, watch movies, and shop the streets. It is something very rewarding for us to do.
The University of Chicago itself also has a great campus. Please see my travelogue for more photos.
It's hard for me to think of...
It's hard for me to think of Chicago as a tourist destination. I guess you have to go to the Sears Tower and all that, but you should go off the beaten path (downtown) and check out the south side, Wicker Park, the 'new' Chinatown around Argyle Street...
For anyone who is a movie buff, one place that should be on your list of destinations is Union Station. In the famous baby carriage scene of the Untouchables, Kevin Costner and Andy Garcia save a woman's baby as the carriage rolls uncontrollably down the staircase. This scene was filmed on location and you can see it all for yourself in the historic grand terminal. Walk west across the river on Jackson Boulevard and Union Station is about 2 blocks away. Enter any of the eastern facing entrances and you'll immediately recoginze the scene.
Ethnic Neighborhoods: Polish
Chicago as a whole has several Polish neighborhoods, some of them quite large. One of the more famous ones, that you will probably be close to is along Milwaukee Ave. on the North Side. I prefer one on the South Side, both because its cheaper, and because it has a better, though grittier "feel". We call this area Little Poland and it is along Pulaski at Archer and 50th. Make sure you go to the Gilmart, its got a great deli. A Zywiec sign will be in every other window (a common Poolish beer) but every place that sells Polish beer usually has a "wall" of beers which you can pick and choose from. usually they have not only Polish, but Czech, German and Lithuanian beer as well, all sold as singles. When I go to a Polish neighborhood, I usually try to get some of the fresh sausage. Asking for "Polish" sausage, will probably get you a question as to what type. Order "fresh garlic" sausage, and you'll get what you're normally used to. I also recommend rowanda, galupki, and kiczka, but there are many things to try. Quite a few things are just regular consumer items presented in Polish, but if you go to the bars, which are very working class, make sure you try some of the vodka, they should have several different kinds.
One word of caution, in this neighborhood, "dance clubs" are not places to listen to pop rock and bop on the floor. They're something completely different. Although this neighborhood isn't "bad" I would advise you to remember that you are on the South Side of Chicago and to stay alert, don't be too drunk in public etc.
Carson Pirie Scott - 1 S. State Street (1903)
State Street at Madison - a one-hundred year old masterpiece by famed Chicago architect Louis Sullivan. This is one of the buildings that makes Chicago an architectural mecca. "Form follows function" here - but it also show that "logical" doesn't have to be dull.
Sullivan was committed to using the latest modern technology of his time while at the same preserving a human scale to his buildings. All the windows - even those on the upper floors - are like picture frames. I especially admire the elaborate ornament on the first and second floors. Sullivan wanted it to resemble bronze - but it is actually cast iron, a much less expensive material. The most intricate part of the ornament, on the northwest corner of the building, was obscured because of a renovation project when I took this picture.
(Alas, the Carson Pirie Scott store is closed, and as of summer 2007 the building was awaiting redevelopment plans.)