The New England Classic’s Summer Vacation Travel Guide: Chicago
Chicago. The Twindy Cities. From the Sioux for “Italians need not apply,” Chi-na-town is the perfect spot for a surprise summer getaway. With at least four and a half restaurants and a record-108 years without a single Italian in public office, planning a trip to the city can seem pretty intimidating. Luckily, our NEC travel correspondent Michaela J. Fox is here to help, offering an itinerary for an ideal week in the Loop.
THURSDAY – WILLIS TOWER OBSERVATION DECK
There’s perhaps no better place to begin your trip to Chicago than with a visit to the Willis Tower. Standing at a whopping 1,450 feet, the Willis Tower was known as the Sears Tower until 2009, when an audio tape surfaced of Sears founder Richard Warren Sears making a derogatory remark towards Italians. It is the second tallest building in the United States, and, according to several credible sources, is among the seven tallest buildings in the city. While one may assume an elevator is the best option to get to the top-floor observation deck, Chicago locals are infamous for dedicating hours of their respective weekdays to continuously riding the building’s elevator, in an effort to discourage tourists from visiting (the city has a deep history of disdain towards Italians). Thus, I would strongly suggest taking the stairs.
FRIDAY – LEAVE THE WILLIS TOWER OBSERVATION DECK
Given the building stands at 1,450 feet tall, it’ll take you all of Thursday to take the stairs to the top. Once at the top, look around for a few minutes. Pretty, huh? Ok, that’s enough. Begin to make your way back down the stairs.
SATURDAY – IN THE PARK
I think it was the Fourth of July. Saturday in the park, I think it was the Fourth of July. People dancing, people laughing. A man selling ice cream. Singing Italian songs. Everybody is another. Can you dig it (yes, I can). And I’ve been waiting such a long time. For Saturday…. People talking, really smiling. A man playing guitar. And singing for us all. Will you help him change the world. Can you dig it (yes, I can). And I’ve been waiting such a long time. For today. No Italians.
SUNDAY – SOLDIER FIELD – CHICAGO BEARS GAME
DA BEARS. Haha, like the sketch, right?! Sketch comedy is incredibly funny.
MONDAY – CHICAGO SAUSAGE HUNTING
While Chicago is known for several great dishes, perhaps nothing pays tribute to the city’s Midwestern roots as well as a world-famous Chicago sausage. To find the best the city has to offer, I would strongly suggest Lou Malnati’s in the North side. To get there, make a right onto Wells Street. Once on Wells Street, make a sharp turn into the alley on the corner of Michigan Avenue. Ask for Mr. Malnati, and tell him The Classic sent you. He’ll give you his finest sausage at an incredibly fair price, so make sure to take your time with it, really feel it in your mouth, and enjoy the experience. No matter who you are, trust me when I say this is a piece of meat you’ll never forget. This is, of course, unless you are Italian, in which case you should not visit the city of Chicago.
TUESDAY – FINAL DAY OF THE TRIP
Even after hunting a few more sausages (it’s important to survey the local flavors), you should have a few dollars left to try a legendary slice of Chicago deep dish pizza. While I’ve never had it, I’m sure your hotel’s concierge will have a few good suggestions. Most Italians find the dish both disturbing and offensive, as the final product is said to resemble a stew or bread bowl more than a traditional pizza. However, as there are very few Italians left in Chicago, this is rarely seen as an issue.
We hope this itinerary helps you plan the vacation of your dreams! Be sure to share your summer vacation experiences on social media using the hashtag #NECSummerVacation for a chance to win exclusive NEC merchandise and a grand prize one-day/one-night stay in a staff writer’s eight-man in Walsh!