The windy city. Land of deep-dish pizza. Home to the Bulls. These phrases pretty much summed up my knowledge of the city as I boarded my flight from New Delhi to start business school at Booth. Eager to enhance my (rather limited) understanding of what the city has to offer and aiming to capitalize on the time business school affords for social activities (i.e., lots of it), I have tried to explore every nook and corner. Granted things are different right now and we’re waiting to be able to enjoy the city to its fullest again. But as I look back on my two years at Booth and in Chicago, I wanted to share my list of top five favorites.
1. Chicago’s Iconic Jazz Bars
Chicago is home to the distinct “Chicago style” of jazz, which originated from southern musicians who moved north and brought with them the New Orleans style. I have spent many nights in the city soaking in the music, and my favorite bars have to be: Green Mill Jazz Bar, Kingston Mines, and Andy’s Jazz bar.
2. Art Galleries and Museums
Chicago is littered with galleries—both big and small. A few neighborhoods have emerged as favorites for art enthusiasts like: Wicker Park, Pilsen, and the West Loop. However, out of all the galleries in Chicago, the two that stand out to me are the Art Institute of Chicago, widely known as one of the best museums in the world, and the Chicago Booth Harper Center! Our very own Harper Center is known around the country for spotting new and upcoming talent and has works by Nathaniel Mary Quinn and Cameron Rowland.
3. Improv Shows
Chicago is often celebrated as the home of improv comedy. Through clubs such as The Second City and iO Theatre, the city has given to the world some of the most famous comedians such as: Alan Arkin, Stephen Colbert, and Tina Fey. What’s interesting to note is that modern improv, as we know it, actually started at the University of Chicago when the Compass Players was formed. In addition, if you join Booth, you can take Improv Classes by Second City at the school!
4. Lake Michigan and the Chicago River
Chicago is housed on the banks of Lake Michigan (one of the five Great Lakes of North America) with the Chicago River snaking around the downtown Loop. The lake walk stretches along the eastern border of the city and provides stunning views of the Chicago skyline. As Booth students, we are lucky to live so close to the water and often catch up for relaxing walks in the evenings.
5. The Food Scene!
I have been pleasantly surprised as to how amazing the food scene is in Chicago. As a person who really enjoys exploring new restaurants, I have greatly benefitted from living in this center for culinary arts. From Mexican food in Pilsen to modern gourmet dining in the West Loop; from Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza across the city to Indo-Pakistani cuisine on Devon Avenue; and from authentic East Asian food in China Town to Ethiopian food in Uptown; the city has a lot to tempt the taste buds! My favorite places include: Three Arts Club Café, Duck Duck Goat, Demera, Proxi, and Bundoo Khan.