Welcome to Chicago, our home base. As the founder and Globalphile Curator, I have lived and worked here for over 44 years and has loved it from the very first moment I arrived. It is a city with great cultural institutions, amazing theater and performing arts, historic architecture, cutting edge restaurants and the friendliest of people. The city is really a collection of diverse neighborhoods with many having their own ethnic flavor. So my best picks on what Chicago has to offer are featured on a neighborhood by neighborhood basis. Day trips to the nearby suburbs are also included.
In October 2021, Chicago was voted the Best Big City in the U.S. by Condé Nast Traveler readers for the fifth year in a row. I know you will agree with this after your visit!
Just to let you know that the nickname, “The Windy Cindy” was not based on the wind but was supposedly coined by the New Yorkers in reference to Chicago’s politicians, who were deemed to be “full of hot air” while competing with New York to host the 1893 World’s Fair.
It is easy to get to Chicago as it has two airports. Midway is a approximately 11 miles from downtown, while O’Hare International Airport is 17.5 miles. You can take the CTA’s Blue Line downtown from O’Hare or the Orange Line from Midway.
You can also buy a pass and ride the CTA trains to various neighborhoods in the city. Metra serves the city and surrounding suburbs as well. The CTA also has bus routes throughout the city. Taxis are available as are ride share companies like Uber and Lyft. You can sign up for the Divvy Bike share program if you want to ride a bike around town. Chicago is also a great walking city, so just walk and explore!! The Chicago Lakefront Trail will take you 18.5 miles along Lake Michigan and there are neighborhood trails like the 606 or Bloomingdale Trail where bikers, runners, and walkers can use a former elevated train line to explore the Wicker Park and Humboldt Park neighborhoods.
I recently was pleased to contribute to an article on Redfin about Affordable Things to do in Chicago. These “hidden gems” the 606 Trail mentioned above, along with visiting Little Village, Andersonville and Avondale. There are other recommendations by others for visiting Chinatown, smaller museums, Millennium Park and taking water taxis. I hope you enjoy it.