It has been awhile since our last flight to New York City. Hopefully you are rested and ready to experience another great city in the United States with me, your guide, Michael Kahn. We are heading to the airport to make our way to the windy city ,Chicago, Illinois. Chicago is the home of the Deep Dish Pizza, 1920’s gangsters like Al Capone, jazz music, and great architecture like the Sears Tower, now known as The Willis Tower. O’Hare Airport is a great airport as it is centrally located to take trips throughout the USA.
“As we prepare for departure, we remind you that this is a non-smoking flight. Smoking is prohibited on the entire aircraft, including the lavatories. Tampering with, disabling or destroying the lavatory smoke detectors is prohibited by law.“
“Ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of the Captain, Gallaretas, the entire flight crew, and me, welcome aboard. At this time, please make sure that your tray tables are in their full upright position and that your seatbelt is correctly fastened. Also, portable electronic devices must be set to ‘airplane’ mode until announcement is made upon arrival. Thank you».
While Chicago certainly is the windy city, it is also home to great beaches that visitors and locals alike enjoy visiting along Lake Michigan and Lakeshore Drive. It is very romantic to walk at night along the Navy Pier or ride the 150 foot Ferris Wheel. Millennium Park is a great place to take a Segway Tour, or a guided Kayak tour down the Chicago River, and ride a bike along Lake Michigan. Enjoy music on the lawn and marvel at the Cloud Gate, also known as The Bean. It is a 110 ton sculpture that has mirrors that show images that reflect the city in unusual ways. There is also the Crown Fountain that is an interpretation of gargoyles that gives the perception that water is cascading out of the mouths of Chicago residents.
“Flight attendants/ Cabin Crew, please prepare for gate departure…Cross-check and report. We are third in priority for take-off. We should depart in approximately 5 minutes. Thank you.”
During the summer (July and August in the USA) enjoy the Grant Park Music Festival. This festival is free and has been celebrated for over 80 years. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, at the Ohio Street Beach (adjacent to the Navy Pier), delight at the fireworks nightly while having an ice cream.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to direct your attention to the television monitors. We will be showing our safety demonstration and would like the next few minutes of your complete attention.”
If you are into architecture and history, a must visit is the Chicago Cultural Center. Here, take a tour and see such wonders as the largest Tiffany stained glass dome in the Preston Bradley Hall. At the Chicago Cultural Center, there are free music and dance showcases, and art exhibits. Would you believe there is a building topped with gold? It has been suggested that the Carbide and Carbon Building’s design is based on a champagne bottle (. It is located at 230 N. Michigan Ave.
“In a few moments, the flight attendants will be offering the beverage service, as well as meal service. Alcoholic drinks are also available at a nominal charge. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the inflight entertainment. Thank you.”
For art lovers, The Art Institute of Chicago is known for its paintings including Georges Seurat’s 1884 A Sunday Afternoon on La Grande Jatte, Renoir’s 1879 Acrobats at the Cirque Fernando, and paintings by Monet. It is located at 111 S. Michigan Avenue (www.artic.edu). If you enjoy the work of Marc Chagall, a must see is the mural called Four Seasons located at 10 S. Dearborn St. For plays and performances, run, don’t walk to the Windy City Playhouse South, located at 2229 S. Michigan Avenue.
For sports fans, Chicago is a great place to explore. Chicago Bulls (remember Basketball’s Michael Jordan? Skip on over to the Near West Side community and take photos with Michael Jordan’s 12 foot (3.7m) tribute statue, known as The Spirit. It was dedicated in his honor after 3 consecutive NBA championships), the Chicago Bears (football) and the Chicago White Sox (baseball). Soldier Field, and Wrigley Field stadiums are national landmarks.
The famous Route 66 starts in Chicago on Adams Street just west of Michigan Avenue. Visitors from all over the world take photos in front of the iconic Route 66 sign. The famous Sears Tower, now known as Willis Towers located at 233 S. Wacker Dr. gives the view of four states from its Skydeck- Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Illinois. Another famous building for views is the 360 Observation Deck at the John Hancock Center located at 875 N. Michigan Ave.
“Ladies and gentlemen, the Captain has turned off the seatbelt sign. However, for your safety and the safety of those around you, please keep your seatbelts fastened while seated. Thank you.”
Shopping is always part of traveling. There are six areas that are well known, especially for designer clothing. They include The Magnificent Mile, Oak Street/Gold Coast, State Street, Armitage Avenue, and Bucktown/Winter Park. These shopping areas are suitable for all budgets and tastes.
Can you believe there is a McDonald’s music museum. It is Rock n’ Roll McDonalds located at 600 N. Clark Street. North Americans pronounce McDonald’s differently than people from Argentina. When I first moved to Argentina, I taught at the corporate headquarters of McDonald’s in Olivos. On my first day, I asked locals where the McDonald’s was located and nobody understood me. Eventually, I met a young lady that did, and she said it was just two blocks down on the right. I was so relieved to finally find it, as you can imagine. Speaking of food, The Kitchen, located at 316 N. Clark Street is a great American Bistro where many of the ingredients come right from the farm.
As with our New York City visit, you can choose to take the Hop-On-Hop-off Double Decker Bus Tour. Tickets can be purchased at 4400 Racine Ave. I am a big fan of these tours as you see so much in so little time. Also, the information the drivers give is interesting and really completes the experience (www.chicagotrolley.com).
On my trip to Chicago several years ago, I was introduced to an area that most visitors seem to miss, the Pedway System. You might say it is a hidden treasure. It is a system of underground tunnels that cover over 40 blocks downtown. There is shopping, restaurants, and it is a great way to get around downtown when the weather is bad. At first, when I went through the tunnels, it was a weird sensation as it was dark, compared to being above ground.
There is a slight relationship between Chicago and Argentina. I am sure by now you all know of one of the longest running shows that ever was on television….Married with Children. The original version from the USA is based on a shoe salesman and his family living in Chicago. In the show’s opening, you see the Buckingham Fountain. This fountain is a must see as it makes for great photos. It is located in the middle of Grant Park and was based on the Latona Fountain at the Palace of Versailles.It’s light and water show is in full operation from April till October. In Winter, it is decorated for the holiday season. As the song goes from the USA version of Married with Children…Love and Marriage…go together like a horse and carriage..this I tell you brother…. you can’t have one without the other. Perhaps you will take a memorable photo and it will be a treasured keepsake.
I had mentioned the war between New York City and Chicago. This battle of the best pizza has been going on for what seems like forever. As I said on our previous flight, I am biased to New York pizza. This may be because I spent 20 years living in New York State. Die hard Chicagoans (as people from Chicago are called) swear that their pizza is the Holy Grail. Chicago’s pizza is deep dish style as it appears more like a thick pie. A great place to try it is at Lou Malnati’s. There are 56 locations in Chicagoland to choose from so you can be certain to find one near you! (www.loumalnatis.com).
If you like music and movies, there are several options to choose from that have been inspired by this area.
SONGS ABOUT CHICAGO
My kind of town (Chicago is) by Frank Sinatra
Meet me in Chicago by Buddy Guy
Sweet Home Chicago by Robert Johnson
Chicago by Tony Bennett
Homecoming by Kanye West
MOVIES ABOUT CHICAGO and/or FEATURING LANDMARKS
Drinking Buddies (2013)
The Weather Man (2005)
High Fidelity (2000)
Return to me (2000)
Hoop Dreams (1994)
The Fugitive (1993)
Chicago Cab (1997)
The Untouchables (1987)
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
About Last Night (1986)
The Blues Brothers (1980)
“Ladies and gentlemen, we have just been cleared to land at O’Hare Airport. Please make sure that your seatbelt is fastened. The flight attendants are currently passing around the cabin to make a final compliance check and to pick up any remaining cups and glasses. Thank you.”
On our next flight, we are headed to warm, and sunny West Palm Beach, Florida. I lived there for 20 years and I believe this destination is the ultimate paradise. Be sure to join me on our next trip. Please comment below and let me know what is of interest to you in the United States. While company policy prohibits me from accepting tips, I would appreciate your comments and hope you will share our trip experience with your friends and family. Please follow me on instagram at #englishbigtime and facebook englishbigtime to join me on this journey and to practice your English.
“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to O’Hare Airport. Local time is 8:22am and the temperature is 75 degrees.”
For your safety and comfort, please remain seated with your seat belt fastened until the Captain turns off the Fasten Seat Belt sign. This will indicate that we have parked at the gate and that it is safe for you to move about the cabin. At this time, you may use your cellular phones and other electronic devices. Please check around your seat for any personal belongings. Thank you once again and on behalf of Gallaretas, the entire crew, and me, Michael, your American guide, have a great stay in Chicago. We look forward to seeing you on board again in the near future.
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