‘Windy City’ has everything to offer

Published 11:00 pm Saturday, July 11, 2009

Chicago has that feel. Just like the one I get when I’m in Boston, Gettysburg, Munich and Prague.

You know the sensation it is warm, inviting, comfortable and familiar. Not the cold and distant vibes like I receive when in New York City or Los Angeles.

The “Windy City” has everything to offer to the traveler. You can experience world class art, history, architecture, shopping, dining, theater, cultural diversity, education, museums and sports.

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You will find plenty of additional categories and other activities that I’ve left off this list.

It’s easy to get to as it is only an hour flight out of Columbus with airfare costs as low as $78 roundtrip these days. My preferred gateway is Midway Airport as it’s less congested than O’Hare and in my opinion easier to navigate. Plus it is served by one of my favorite airlines Southwest.

Even though they only serve free peanuts in flight the beverages are free and Southwest still does not have any baggage charges and their Rapid Rewards frequent traveler program is one of the best around.

After you arrive it’s easy to get around using the Chicago Transit System (the L) trains and buses. A 3 day unlimited pass only cost me $14.00. I jumped on the Orange Line at Midway Airport then transferred to the Red Line at the Roosevelt stop en route to Grand CTA stop. This stop is just north of the “Loop” district an area full of shops, restaurants and hotels.

Exiting here it was a short two block walk to my hotel located in the heart of the downtown.

The “L” is convenient and it can take you to most of the areas attractions and neighborhoods. I’ll be using it quite a bit during my stay here and will keep you updated on my journeys and discoveries.

Those visiting Chicago should plan on spending time at Chicago’s Museum Campus. This scenic park along the shores of Lake Michigan conveniently links the Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum, the Shedd Aquarium and the Field Museum of Natural History.

The Shedd Aquarium offers one of the world’s largest arrays of more than 8,000 aquatic mammals, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates and fish.

After exploring the oceans, attendees can gaze up at the heavens in the nearby Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum. The Field Museum offers exciting displays of mummies, Egyptian tombs, Native American artifacts, and dinosaur skeletons are on display. It is also the permanent home of Sue, the world’s largest, most complete and most famous Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Other Chicagoland museums include the Museum of Science and Industry, the Art Institute of Chicago (one of the world’s leading art museums), the DuSable Museum of African-American History, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and if children are along be sure to plan a stop at Navy Pier’s Children’s Museum.

This is my short list. There are just too many venues to list. A complete list can be obtained at the city’s Michigan Avenue’s visitor’s center (www.choosechicago.com) located across from the historic water tower. This is located at the northern end of the famed shopping strip termed the “Magnificent Mile”.

A trip to Chicago would not be complete without a shopping experience and a Chicago style hotdog but I’ll save this for next week.

Happy travels!