Here's my five must do things while visiting Chicago:
1. The restaurants! Its a foodie's haven. "Chicago cooking" has been buzzed about in the last couple of years as one Chicago resident described it as "daring, snout-to-tail, chef-driven."
Blackbird chef Paul Kahan was the first to defy the foie gras ban way back which led to the city repealing the law. Must try are: Purple Pig food from rising star chef Jimmy Barrios who opened Batali's New York restaurants (note: no reservations so best to go off-hours), top Chef winner Steph Izar'ds Girl and the Goat, Maud's Liquor Bar by Chef Jeff Pikus, Boka in Lincoln Park, Naha on Clark, the new Italian-fare Balena. To book a table try opentable.com.
|Anish Kapoor's Cloud Gate sculpture|
3. The Millenium Park to see the modern art sculptures laid out in the 9-hectare garden and the iconic Cloud Gate (right photo), the gigantic, biomophic sculpture made by Anish Kappor. It took him two years to complete this biomophic piece referred to by Chicago residents as 'the bean'. It is huge! 33 x 66 z 42 feet and apparently weighs 110-tons and made up of 168 stainless steel plates welded together with a mirror finish.
|with Eileen, Torpedo Los by Lichenstein behind|
If you have more time, go visit Sheld Aquarium which has the largest shark exhibit and tank and the natural history museum, Field Museum.
5. And lastly, go check out the theater scene which now rivals New York. Clybourne Park was first staged by Steepenwolf before winning a Tony for Chicago-playright Bruce Norrisand now playing in New York. Theater! I watched the Million Dollar Quartet, a fun musical about the story of Sun Records producer Sam Philips' last night on December 4, 1956 with his four bankable talents - Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and his then new discovery Jerry Lee Lewis. To get discounted tickets, visit hottix.org.
Last tip, bring your running shoes and run along Lakeshore Drive or Michigan Ave to the Water Tower. Enjoy!