First impressions are everything, they say.
Our earliest impressions of Chicago were brought to us by "Bob & Emily Newhart", leading me to believe that "Chicagoans" live in high rise apartments near elevated subways. However, the most impactful impression of Chicago were brought to us compliments of the Chicago Bears, Mike Ditka and the hysterical Saturday Night Live Parodies of the 80's. Of course, outrageous sports fans are found in most any big city, so it really isn't fair to judge a city by it's parodies. Just like Boston - oh, wait, most parodies of Boston are true!
So back in July '08, I had a conference to attend in Chicago and Roger and I went out a couple of days early to poke around. We absolutely loved what little time we had to explore and were completely blown away by what a fabulous place Chicago is. We stayed at the Chicago Hilton with magnificent views of Lake Michigan and the parks that line the shore. There was so much to do outside of the hotel; the parks to stroll, excellent dining and shopping, museums. In fact, Chicago is one of the few cities that we would love to return to and really take our time seeing the sites and the museums.
Roger and I agree that Chicago is definitely one of the cleanest cities we've ever seen. So clean in fact, that the hotel staff of the Chicago Hilton didn't just hose down the exterior marble walkway- they painstakingly mopped it!
You could easily spend a solid week doing something different every single day and enjoy each and every minute of your time. If you do go, bring a good pair of walking shoes, or lots of money for cab fare, as everything was much further away than it seemed.
Until you get a chance to see Chicago for yourself, you can enjoy this final view of the Chicago waterfront.