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The Lights and Sounds of the City of Chicago

- Justine

Pardon my petite addition to the English language there, but “to college” seems a simple and appropriate verb for replacing “to visit multiple colleges of interest with one’s parent(s) on a sort of semi-vacation.” As you can probably guess, I spent my President’s Day weekend looking at some universities in the Chicago area (U. Chicago and Northwestern, specifically) and had a blast sight-seeing during my first-ever visit to the Windy City. If you ever take a similar trip, below are some suggestions that might make your stay as pleasant and entertaining as mine was.

Food: The food in Chicago was delicious; there wasn’t one meal I didn’t thoroughly enjoy, and there are loads of dining options everywhere you look. I loved this one café called Caribou Coffee so much that we went there for breakfast twice. Their coffee and lattés gave me the perfect caffeinated kick-off to the busy day ahead, and their muffins (blueberry, triple-berry, chocolate, French toast) were ultra-scrumptious. They also had scones, bagels, oatmeal… pretty much any sort of breakfast on-the-go.

Our first day, we had lunch at an Elephant & Castle, a British pub and restaurant where the burger I had was actually divine. I can safely say it was one of the best burgers I’ve ever had, no exaggeration. Their turkey Cobb salad also got a big thumbs-up from my mom. Luckily, they have over 20 locations across the country.

For dinner, we enjoyed both Italian Village (a– you guessed it– Italian restaurant with huge but delicious portions) and Hot Woks Cool Sushi. I insisted on the latter because of its funny name, but their delicious pan-Asian cuisine was fabulous. I had a sushi platter and miso soup, while my mom opted for Thai tom yam soup.

In downtown Chicago, there’s seemingly several new restaurants to try out around every corner, so if you don’t take my above suggestions, you’ll probably find something just as good by walking around. My mom and I enjoyed the exercise after a satisfying meal and found nearly all of these places without consulting a guidebook. Another thing that helped was the fact that our hotel, the Central Loop Hotel, was in the middle of downtown, which made everywhere we went walking-accessible.

In the second installment I’ll talk about the Chicago attractions we visited and the universities themselves, but something you should know if you’re traveling to Chicago sometime in February: The Art Institute of Chicago has free general admission throughout this entire month!

P.S.– Visit smartcollegevisit.com for more tips on college trips! (ooh, that rhymed!)

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