Chicago Is, by Rich Paschall

There are a lot of places in the world where I think I could comfortably live. I have friends in France, England, and Thailand. I have acquaintances in several other countries. There are some warm weather locations close to the United States that are appealing. In fact, the US territories of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands have a certain allure. When all considerations are given, however, there is no place like home.

Chicago Water Tower (Photo credit: Nicholas G. Mertens)

Recently, “CNN travel” published Time Out’s list of the Top Ten best cities for 2022. There was just one US city listed: Chicago, USA. “The Midwestern American city of Chicago was praised for its resilient nature and food scene.” Some of the world’s best restaurants are here. In a city of many ethnic neighborhoods, you kind find just about any type of cuisine. If you want to go to the head of the class and have the best, and possibly most expensive meal, we can send you to a Three Michelin Star restaurant, Alinea.

Eat local – Chicago

“Travel and Leisure” offered readers their list of the best cities in the USA. These cities “offer a welcoming mix of history, delicious food and drink, and attractions for the whole family.” Chicago made this list as well. I hasten to point out that no Texas city ranked higher than Chicago, although Austin and San Antonio made the list. One T&L reader commented, “Chicago offers everything good about any large U.S. city along with Midwestern charm and friendliness and excellent prices.” People also commented on our “superb restaurants and ease of navigation, thanks to a robust public transportation network.”

Lake Shore Drive

Since you are still all gathered around the SERENDIPITY campfire, I will give you one more. US News and World Report have a list of the 30 Best Places To Visit in the USA. Again, Chicago is on the list. No Texas cities made it. While you are here, “Be sure to enjoy all of the food this city has to offer, including Chicago-style hot dogs (sans ketchup), Italian beef sandwiches, and deep-dish pizza.” Skip the mega-chain fast food outlets and chain restaurants. Ask a local where to eat.

Lewis and I in “Easy Street”

It is easy enough to find lists of things to do in Chicago. There are plenty of Travel Guides and websites to help you out. As I scanned various lists I realized I have more favorites than I can mention here. Plus. there are also plenty of places I have yet to visit. If you ask me tomorrow, I may change my mind on the order or even the entries on this list:

Soldier Field in Spring – Beer Fest

15. Beaches. If you come in the summertime, you may wish to head to the beach. We are on the west side of Lake Michigan and the lakefront is a series of parks, beaches, museums, and of course, Soldier Field, where the Chicago Bears and the Chicago Fire attempt to play one form of football or another.
14. Festivals. You can find them all summer long. On most weekends you can find multiple music and ethnic festivals. We are home to Riot Fest and one of the nation’s biggest music festivals, Lollapalooza. This year Lollapalooza is on the last four days of July and is expected to draw 100,000 per day.
13. Lincoln Park Zoo. Located near Chicago’s lakefront, this zoo was founded in 1868. It is one of just a few free zoos in the country.
12. Buckingham Fountain. If there is anything more spectacular than Buckingham Fountain shooting water high into the sky, it is Buckingham Fountain at night.
11. Adler Planetarium. The National Historic Landmark was the first planetarium and opened in 1930. It has been upgraded and expanded through the years.

Adler Planetarium, Chicago

10 Shedd Aquarium. The Aquarium also opened in 1930 and is within walking distance of the planetarium. It is one of the largest aquariums in the world. It has about 32,000 animals and 1500 species.
09. Field Museum. Come say hello to Sue, our 67 million-year-old T-Rex. The Field Museum of Natural History is on the “museum campus” with the planetarium and the aquarium.
08. Museum of Science and Industry. Built as the Palace of Fine Arts for the 1893 Colombia Exposition, it was eventually reworked and turned into a new museum in time for the 1933 Century of Progress Exposition.
07. Navy Pier. At one time it accommodated ocean-going vessels that came down the St. Lawrence Seaway. The 3300-foot-long pier is now one of the top attractions in the state.
06. Wrigley Field. The second oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball is home to the Chicago Cubs. The White Sox play on the other side of town.

Wrigley Field.

05. Garfield Park and Lincoln Park Conservatories. These conservatories and botanical gardens are located in different parts of town and both are free.
04. Chicago Theater. If you have ever seen a travel brochure for Chicago, you have seen the marquee.
03. Skydeck Willis Tower / 360 Observation Deck Hancock Building.  Whether you are leaning against the tilted windows on the 94th floor at 360 Chicago, or standing in the glass box and looking 103 stories down at the Willis Tower (aka Sears Tower), you are going to get a spectacular view.
02. Cloud Gate / Millenium Park. Redesigned for the 21st century, the centerpiece of this park is the Cloud Gate sculpture, aka the Bean. We must take every visitor there.
01. Art Institute. A great architectural gem houses some of the most iconic pieces of art in the world.

Field Museum of Natural History

If you have been dissuaded from visiting based on the lies and misinformation of red state politicians, the orange guy, and various propaganda networks, then let us point out again, that Chicago was listed as the 28th most dangerous big city by CBS news using FBI Crime Statistics and other measurements. Per capita, Texas is a more dangerous state than Illinois, as are our red-state neighbors, Missouri, Indiana, and Kentucky. Unfortunately, all USA  cities have too much gun violence. You may be visiting more dangerous places and missing out on the world-class attractions we have here.

Sources include: “Time Out lists the world’s best cities for 2022,” by Francesca Street, CNN Travel,, July 11, 2022.
The 15 Best Cities in the United States,” by Tim Latterner, Travel and Leisure World’s Best,, July 12, 2022.
Best Places to Visit in the USA,” Rankings, USA, US News and World Report,, 2022.
Things to Do in Chicago,” ongoing
30 Best Things to Do in Chicago, From Iconic Sites to Can’t-miss Museums,” by Meena Thiruvengadam, Travel & Leisure trip ideas, June 15,2022.
See also: “Firearm Mortality by State,” National Center for Health Statistics,, 2020.
Murder map: Deadliest U.S. cities,” by ELISHA FIELDSTADT, February 23, 2022.

Categories: city, Culture, Rich Paschall

Tags: , , , , , , ,

4 replies

  1. Chicago sounds like Boston was 40 years ago. It has slumped for a bunch of reasons not the least of which is failure to address public transportation. Every year, the “T” blows up, derails, catches on fire, gets iced or snowed in. Every year they fire the transportation honcho and hire a new one with all the same promises to fix it THIS time. They’ve been making the same promises since before Garry got here in 1970. They never get the money, they never fix it and all the roads are bumper to bumper in every direction. It’s not worth the aggravation getting there, much less doing anything after you get there. And OMG the price of parking! It costs more to park in Boston than it costs most couples to eat for a week at home.

    They spent BILLIONS on the “big Dig.” Traffic is MUCH worse than it was before they “fixed” it. The single improvement? It’s easier to get to the airport. Everything else is worse.

    I always wanted to see Chicago. I think I won’t this time. We’re too old for the journey. I never thought it would happen, but it has. We managed to get to and from Minnesota. I don’t think we’ll be flying anywhere again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t actually have to drive downtown. I can walk to the brown line and take it all the way or connect to the red line if the subway is better. The blue line goes to O’Hare airport and the orange line goes to Midway. There are other lines too. Yes, some areas are under served, but certainly not downtown. It’s too bad more people don’t use public transportation. I would never drive to Wrigley Field. The bus goes from the brown line station directly to Wrigley.
      People complain about potholes every winter and spring. They get filled in…eventually.


      • We don’t have any public transportation here unless you count the one (is it up to two?) Lyft drivers. IN Boston you can take the T, but it derailed AND blew up last week — two separate events. It’s an annual catastrophe.

        Liked by 1 person

%d bloggers like this: