My trip to Chicago in the fall of 2015 was mostly motivated, truth be told, by a desire and curiosity for authentic deep dish. However, the friends who I went with planned such a comprehensive itinerary that I was able to experience a great deal more than just pizza.
We woke up in the early AM to see Cloud Gate, the bean shaped mirrored sculpture in Millennium Park. An early arrival is probably best if you want to view the sculpture without too many people surrounding it, as the latter two pictures show. In the day time, its rare to find the bean not surrounded by a plethora of tourists.
One of my favorite stops was the Ledge at Willis Tower. As someone who fears heights, walking out onto the glass box was a challenge met with a certain degree of hesitance. But standing hundreds of meters above the city was a memorable, if not knee-buckling, experience.
The 360 Chicago Observation Deck at the John Hancock Center offered panoramic views of the surrounding cityscape. The way the city curves around the shores of Lake Michigan and blends into the massive body of water to become one is a sight to behold, especially from the heights of this particular skyscraper.
If you enjoy the view, try to come by a half hour before sunset, so you can see the city during the day, at sundown, and during the evening. The John Hancock building also offers an attraction called Tilt, which is literally an amusement park like contraption that allows visitors to stand in a glass box while holding on to railings, and tilts the participants 45 degrees over the city of Chicago.
If you have a few hours to spare, the area around the Shedd Aquarium offers some spectacular views of the shores of Lake Michigan and surrounding skyscrapers.
Ahh. Deep dish. We waited in line for about an hour at the famed Giordano's, and it was well worth it. I was surprised by the amount of the pizza that was cheese, not that I'd ever complain about an overabundance mozzarella, of course.
A favorite if you have a sweet-tooth, Doughnut Vault touts some of the city's best doughnuts, and is worth waiting in line for.
Brunch, always a must. The maple-bacon doughnut pictured was also delicious. Clearly, this trip was somewhat doughnut-heavy.
Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams has two locations in Chicago. Go to either one and try the lavender flavor, and it will transport you straight to the fields of Provence, France. Delicious.