Picture this: you’ve got a summer consulting internship, and you’re based in Chicago. With all the traveling, can you actually enjoy the best few months that Chicago has to offer? Absolutely. Let me walk you through a week of how I lived it up in Chicago, even while traveling every week out of town.
Sunday night: While it is common for consultants to fly out Monday morning, I actually flew out on Sunday nights. We regularly had Monday morning meetings so it was easier to travel the night before rather than take a super early flight first thing Monday. (Watch out for those June thunderstorms—they can quickly turn a 2-hour flight into a 4-hour delay.)
Monday – Thurs: You know. Work.
Friday: Everybody’s in the office today. There’s usually some sort of lunch event or speaker from upper leadership. Take this opportunity to network and learn about what different teams do. Then, always say Yes to happy hour, even if it means pushing off doing your expenses until next week.
Friday night post-happy hour: I’m pretty exhausted by this point, so I’m looking to unwind. There isn’t a better way to do that than to just take a walk by the river. Fun fact: they dye the river a bright green for St. Patrick’s Day. The entire city comes out to celebrate!
Saturday morning: It’s brunch o’clock. As someone who has lived in the Chicago area for the past nine years, I’ve definitely got some favorite spots. One of them is The Windsor. You’re going to want to try their Monkey Bread, aka the best cinnamon rolls this side of the river.
Saturday afternoon: I’m an avid tennis player and there’s a pretty strong tennis scene in Chicago, despite the cold winter. There are a lot of public courts available; in fact, there are some great courts right next to Millennium Park Plaza (aka MPP, aka The Booth Dorm) just east of Millennium Park. Technically, these are the Maggie Daley courts, and they are open from the spring through the fall. They even have lights in the evenings.
Saturday night: A fellow Boothie sets up a BBQ dinner at her apartment at Tides, another common condominium building choice for students. We buy a variety of meats and veggies, rent one of the grills on the deck, and crack open some beers. Internship season is hard as your usual friends from school are swamped with work. This BBQ is the perfect chance to catch up, see how everyone is doing at work, and hear how others are enjoying Chicago. Many describe how they’ve taken advantage of free admission at the Art Institute (comes with your UChicago ID), explored the food scene in West Loop, and walked up and down the shores of Lake Michigan.
Sunday: I’ll probably be playing another round of tennis, but otherwise I’m sitting at home catching up on some TV and packing. Maybe I’ll even do those pesky expenses. But speaking of packing, if you have an interest in consulting, you’re going to want to get packing down to a science. One of the best videos I’ve been shown is how to pack a suit in a carry on without getting it wrinkled. Check it out. Now it’s time to head to the airport for another week.
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to sneak in a lot of summer fun in Chicago even while you’re on a consultant’s schedule. Enjoy these weeks—best weather of the year by far!