Ferris Boothie’s Day Off

Ever wonder what it’s like to live in Chicago?  When you come to Chicago Booth for a visit, try to experience the city like a local – and let first-year Booth MBA (and Ferris Bueller aficionado) Mike Janko be your guide.
 
Prior to Booth, Mike worked at an entrepreneurial real estate investment firm, acting as Debt Portfolio Manager, Asset Manager, and Investment Analyst during his tenure.  At Booth, Mike is a member of the Admit Weekend planning committee, Follies Creative Team, Management Consulting Group, and Ski and Snowboard Club.  In his spare time, he enjoys exploring the array of neighborhoods in his native Chicago … and playing hooky once in a while.
–Matt Richman

 
“How could I possibly be expected to handle school on a day like this?”
 
In the classic film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, the title character utters this memorable line moments after he tricks his parents into thinking that he is sick and requires a day off from school.  Inspired by the free day before him, Ferris then leads his friends on a spectacular, day-long adventure, exploring the artistic, scenic, culinary, and cultural offerings of the nearby metropolis – Chicago.
 
Born and raised in Chicagoland, I have always idolized Ferris Bueller and his antics.  To me, Ferris embodies the best characteristics of our beloved Chicago: a friendly, optimistic demeanor; a passion for maintaining rich cultural traditions; an openness to exploration; and an ability to stand up and inspire.  Given these qualities, I cannot call any other city home, and I am eager to show my fellow Boothies why.
 
But how can I persuade you, visitor to Chicago Booth, that Chicago provides the perfect backdrop for business school?  Perhaps I can lead you on a day-long adventure of Chicago that will leave you almost wondering, like Ferris, how you could possibly focus on school with such an enticing city around you?
 
The Plan:
 
Leave your accommodations and grab some caffeine at an Intelligentsia Coffee location, a direct-trade coffee and tea retailer born in the Lakeview neighborhood.  Should you be near The Doughnut Vault or a Glazed & Infused location, please supplement your warm beverage with a piece of freshly baked heaven.
Glazed & Infused’s Maple Bacon Long John…cue Homer Simpson drool
Arrive at Randolph and Michigan and meander through the modern landscape of Millennium Park.  Embrace your inner tourist and snap a picture of your twisted reflection on “The Bean” before walking across the bridge to the Art Institute of Chicago.  
 
Footbridge from Millennium Park to the Art Institute
There, enjoy the well-curated collections of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, and American art, which include such iconic works as Seurat’s A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, Wood’s American Gothic, and Hopper’s Nighthawks.
 
Hopper’s Nighthawks, on display at the Art Institute of Chicago
Are you hungry after viewing an assortment of still-life paintings?  Yes?  Good.  Head towards the West Loop, Chicago’s flourishing culinary neighborhood, and enjoy a relaxing lunch at Michelin-starred Blackbird or Sepia.  Though fine-dining establishments, both restaurants provide more reasonably priced lunch menus than dinner menus.  Should you want something more casual, head across the Michigan Avenue Bridge (allowing your jaw to drop at the gorgeous cityscape along the river) and try the choriqueso torta and classic hot chocolate at Xoco.
Chicago River view from the Michigan Ave. Bridge

After lunch, take in Chicago’s incredible downtown architecture – the birthplace of the skyscraper.  The Chicago Architecture Foundation offers a number of tours – by boat, on foot, or by train or trolley – of Chicago’s architectural icons.  Or, just hop on a CTA elevated “L” train in the Loop, crank up Kanye Westin your ear buds, and enjoy the ride and view.

 
View of the Harold Washington Library from the L
As the sun sets over the Windy City, ascend to a rooftop oasis – like the famous Signature Lounge atop the Hancock Building or the The J. Parker – to sip from a frosty beverage while gazing at a panoramic view of Chicago.    
 
View from the 96th floor of the Hancock Building

Afterwards, head north for a unique bite at the legendary Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder Co.  Situated directly across from the site of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre (in a building that served as an Al Capone mobster lookout), CPOG offers pizza like you’ve never seen it.  Literally, or your tuition back.  (Note: The University of Chicago Bursar does not endorse this message.)

 
End the night with a laugh at The Second City – the most influential and prolific comedy theatre in the world.  The launching point for such comedians as Tina Fey, Steve Carell, and Stephen Colbert (ever heard of them?), The Second City offers various stages to discover how Chicagoans best poke fun at life and the city that they call home.
 
Whether you now retreat to bed, grab another frosty beverage or two at The Barrelhouse Flat, or enjoy blues at the renowned Kingston Mines, hopefully you have developed a strong affinity for my and Ferris’s hometown, Chicago. The city provides a truly world-class cultural and culinary playground that will keep you and your classmates salivating, learning, exploring, admiring, laughing, and dancing for your two years at Booth – or a lifetime, if me, Ferris, and Chicago have any say. 
A true Chicagoan since birth, (Baby) Mike being held by
Chicago Bears legend Walter Payton
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