While on my recent trip to Chicago, I turned on the radio and started changing the channel in my hotel room to listen to a local station and I hear the Neville Brothers singing “Fire on the Bayou.” While visiting the Navy Pier, one of Chicago’s most popular tourist attractions, I observed a brass band playing for the droves of people strolling by. And finally, as I waited for my plane at the O’Hare airport, the overhead system played “Summertime” by Aaron Neville. I thought that I was getting away from New Orleans for a few days to visit Chicago, but instead I found a few elements of The Big Easy in the Windy City.
Being surrounded by water, festivals, old bridges, and bumpy streets were just some of the things I found similar to New Orleans while visiting Chicago. I also found the Chicagoans to be very friendly, down to earth, and not in a huge rush (unlike two other major cities I won’t call out by name.) I had three days filled with self-guided tours and sight-seeing, but that was hardly enough time to take in everything the city had to offer. As I mentioned earlier I went to the Navy Pier and Millennium Park. I ate at a restaurant called Feast in a neighborhood called Wicker Park. I walked along Lakeshore Drive and Michigan Avenue and I saw the famous Chicago Theatre.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s a beautiful thing to hear the sounds of New Orleans, but I was worried for a brief moment that I wouldn’t get a sense of being out-of-town. Eventually, I was amazed by the old skyscrapers and the unique architecture, and it was clear to me that I was not in the South anymore. Next time I visit (yes, I will be going back to visit again!) I will have more time to visit a few more neighborhoods, have more dining experiences, and take in some Jazz. This trip was a good introduction and I look forward to visiting Chicago again, and rest assured, it won’t be during the winter time!