Chicago. Chi-Town. The Windy City. The Second City.

A city that comes with many nicknames, a lot of tradition, and a complicated history all too palpable in the present. A city that is insanely beautiful, so beautiful it managed to convince nearly 3 million people to put up with the insane weather to live there. A city that represents the heart of America, while often criticized as standing above it. A city so often overshadowed by others, yet filled with (sometimes indignant) pride.

I could go on. But I won’t.

Growing up in the Midwest, Chicago was the city. There’s nothing quite like driving on endlessly straight, endlessly flat highways, and suddenly seeing the regal skyline emerge over the horizon, interrupting the monotonous landscape with the silhouette of skyscrapers. Even as a young child, I was infatuated with Chicago, the tall buildings, the bustle, the stories, so different from my home in the suburbs, so American. Plus, it helped that every time we went into the city, it felt celebratory, like a mini-vacation.

Chicago is easy to brush aside. It has horrendous weather. It’s in the Midwest. It doesn’t have the exhilaration of New York, the history of Boston, the glamor of Los Angeles, the character of San Francisco. It’s the underdog, but that’s exactly what makes it worth fighting for.

Chicago has, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful skylines in the world. People have relationships with the buildings, the architecture. Even though you’re smack in the middle of the country, it’s a city by the water. The rich blue of Lake Michigan, the turquoise of Chicago River. There’s something charming about how streets are named after states and Great Lakes and presidents (I suppose this is only novel after you spend enough time in places where most street names are in Spanish). When the sun comes out, the city practically glitters. Of course, the weather changes every 10 minutes, so it requires a degree of patience and tolerance for unpredictability, a less charming aspect of the city.

Chicago is a glorious place where buildings are tall, but streets are wide so you never feel claustrophobic. It’s also weirdly clean. And it smells like chocolate, not trash. The trains are loud as hell, you can’t hear yourself think when they pass by… but have weathered cold cold winters for over a century. The weather is cold but the people are warm, even if they have way too many opinions about everything.

LA may have PCH, which I’ll be the first to admit, is super fun to drive on. But Chicago has Lakeshore Drive, which is in its own right breathtaking. The city lit up on one side and the deep waters of Lake Michigan on the other can convert even the most snobby coastal elite.

by nbhd

a few of my favorite places

LA Guide | dayglow coffee
December 9, 2021
CHI Guide | all the goats
August 5, 2021
CHI Guide | Bang Bang Pies & Biscuits
August 2, 2021
CHI Guide | Mott St
July 29, 2021
CHI Guide | Foxtrot Market
July 26, 2021
CHI Guide | Heritage Bikes & Coffee
July 22, 2021
Chi Guide | Sawada Coffee
June 28, 2021
Eat | Meet Fresh 鮮芋仙
June 24, 2021
CHI Guide | Sprout Home
April 29, 2021
CHI Guide | Open Books
April 8, 2021
CHI Guide | Frontera Grill + Xoco
March 8, 2021
CHI Guide | Museum of Contemporary Art
February 8, 2021
CHI Guide | Cindy’s Rooftop
December 28, 2020
Eat + Shop | Eataly
December 24, 2020
CHI Guide | Hero Coffee
December 21, 2020
shop | topdrawer
December 14, 2020
CHI Guide | Ca Phe Da
November 16, 2020
Coffee | Philz
October 29, 2020
CHI Guide | Galit
October 19, 2020
CHI Guide | Chiya Chai
September 21, 2020
Coffee | Umbria Cafe
September 10, 2020
Stay | Freehand Hotel
September 5, 2020
CHI Guide | Coffee Lab Roasters
August 13, 2020
CHI Guide | Doughnut Vault
August 10, 2020
CHI Guide | Somerset
July 27, 2020
CHI Guide | firecakes donuts
June 29, 2020
CHI Guide | Ipsento Coffee
June 22, 2020
Chi Guide | Gaslight Coffee Roasters
June 8, 2020
CHI Guide | Bombobar
May 30, 2020
CHI Guide | Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba
April 27, 2020
Coffee | Intelligentsia
April 20, 2020
CHI Guide | Hendrickx Belgian Bread Crafters
April 16, 2020
CHI Guide | Bonci
April 13, 2020
CHI Guide | Elaine’s Coffee Call
March 2, 2020
CHI Guide | Lost Larson
February 17, 2020
Chi Guide | Two Zero Three
January 30, 2020
Chicago Guide | Hello Jasmine
December 30, 2019
Chicago Guide | Stan’s Donuts
November 4, 2019
Chicago Guide | Fairground Coffee & Tea
October 21, 2019
Chicago Guide | Willow Room
October 7, 2019
Chicago Guide | 3 Greens Market
September 30, 2019
Chicago Guide | 3 Arts Club
September 23, 2019
CHI Guide | Lula Cafe
September 19, 2019
Chicago Guide | Floriole Cafe & Bakery
September 16, 2019
CHI Guide | cafe marie-jeanne
September 13, 2019
Coffee | La Colombe
September 6, 2019
CHI Guide | printer’s row coffee co
August 26, 2019
CHI | Signature Lounge
January 1, 2018

itineraries & guides


stories & muses

chicago mca: virgil abloh figures of speech
to the farmers markets of chicago
goodbye, chicago
prettycarbs of la
donut crawl