My Weekend in Chicago (Feel Free to Copy)

I recently enjoyed a fantastic weekend in the Big Onion. I prefer this nickname to the Windy City, because I swear New York City is windier. Oh, and since this weekend isn’t copyrighted and imitation is the highest form of flattery, feel free to replicate it.

  1. If you’re coming from a place that has a MegaBus, take one, preferably a double decker. Not having to worry about the hassles of parking, traffic, and insane Chicago drivers will be worth it, trust me: Public transit is the way to go. Sit in the front seats on the second deck and gawk at the farm fields, woods, and semi drivers who you’ll suddenly be towering above. You can also use the free wi-fi or take a nap, which is what I did.
  2. Book a Chinatown loft with AirBnB in a neighborhood that pits spanking new condos with balconies against crumbling warehouses and public housing. Preferably, your loft will have the original wood floors and brick walls still intact, and your hosts will be a massage therapist to celebrity clients and a filmmaker training to fly drones. Even better if they invite you to join them on Chicago’s next naked bike ride.
  3. Eat DimSum at MingHin in Chinatown, then later have all-you-can-eat Hot Pot at one of the many restaurants on Archer Ave. Go overboard with the DimSum: it’s cheap, so it’s better to sample a variety of dishes rather than not order enough. As for the Hot Pot, even if you’re conservative in how much you get, I guarantee that after one spoonful of broth you’ll end up walking out with a bloated belly.  Chicago 3
  4. Stroll around Wicker Park and gawk at the hipsters. Share a frosted red velvet donut with someone at Glazed and Confused (sharing minimizes the guilt of eating not just a donut, but a donut with frosting). Check out the pop art gallery, David Leonardis, and pretend you don’t notice when the proprietor walks out of the back room followed by a cloud of smoke.
  5. Go to Kingston Mines in Lincoln Park for some blues. Be sure to walk around and gawk at the yuppies first, then stop in at a sports bar to catch whatever sporting event is in season, root for the team of your choice, and have a beer.
  6. Go to the Art Institute of Chicago and see the James Ensor exhibit (if it’s still up) and the impressionist wing (which is always up). Make sure to ask advice from the nice lady who hands out maps on the second floor above the main staircase.
  7. Do the most touristy thing possible and go to Millennium Park. Walk around The Bean taking as many pictures of yourself from as many different angles as possible. Surreptitiously check out your reflection in The Bean and fix your hair while pretending to admire its structure. Chicago 2
  8. Eat deep dish pizza at Lou Malnati’s.
  9. While you’re waiting for your bus home, have a super-cheap happy hour drink at that sleazy bar in the basement of Union Station. Gawk at the carnie show variety of patrons drinking around you.
  10. Gawk at the darkened suburbs, franchises, and farm fields on your way home on the MegaBus. Let yourself be lulled to sleep by the dimmed lights and the bus’s gentle swaying until you’re awakened by the glaring fluorescent lights at your local Park and Ride .

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