When in Chicago, braving snowstorms is just part of the fun


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Photo by Abigail Lyon |

Sometimes an unlikely spring break adventure in Chicago arises out of visiting your great grandmother in snowy Iowa for a weekend — only sometimes. But when this does happen, you must savor your little opportunity to explore a city you've never been to before, and that is precisely what I did.

Doing Chicago in the smallest amount of time someone could possibly do Chicago comes down to a few simple things: deep dish pizza, landmarks and effective coffee shop visits. This is enough to give you a taunting taste of the city and make you absolutely yearn to go back (and for much longer).

My city adventure began for me at 10 p.m. on a Friday night as I arrived at the O’Hare airport, a short Uber ride away from the comfy hotel where I would be meeting both my family and a vegetarian deep-dish pizza.

I naturally carved my way through a slice of that late-night pizza, through layers of cheese and vegetables, and I made my way down to the sweet sauce and the thick of the pastry-like crust. My experience with Chicago pizza was satisfying enough, and I definitely think it's worth a try, but I have to admit that New York style pizza blows it away.

By early Saturday morning, it was time to depart for Iowa for sweet family time that would take up the entirety of the weekend. Monday morning was my last chance to explore Chicago and experience more than just some gooey pizza before my afternoon O’Hare departure.

With the pizza off my list, it was slightly less intimidating for me to pack all the things I could possibly do into just two and a half hours.

The Monday snow added an obstacle and the idea of taking an Uber in the snow unsettled me, but not enough to deter my instincts for exploration. So full of hope, I grabbed my sole suitcase and hopped onto the above-ground orange line into the city, catching glimpses of street art and other cool views on my way.

I lugged my suitcase over snow from the Roosevelt stop on the orange line to the Cloud Gate at Millennium Park for the famous Chicago Bean. This piece of art, unveiled in 2006, is a must-see attraction for tourists of the Windy City. I spent a bit of time here snapping photos and appreciating the architecture.

After that, just around the corner you can find Intelligentsia coffee, a hip coffee shop to please the snobbiest of coffee snobs out there. It was also a nice place to warm up with a cappuccino before embarking on the journey to my next mini adventure — the Chicago Theatre.

Unfortunately, I couldn't actually go inside the theatre, but it didn't kill to enjoy the flashy sign for the iconic venue and get some photos with it. It’s definitely worth the stop by.

After this, I headed to Michigan Avenue to cross one of Chicago’s many bridges and catch chilly views of the famous Chicago River, infused with green dye for upcoming St. Patrick's Day celebrations. At that point, I soaked in my surroundings before it was time to get on the blue line and head back to O’Hare.

I did not see everything I wanted to see by any single stretch of the imagination. I want to go back and explore the different neighborhoods, engulf myself in the art scene and savor a veggie burger at Au Cheval. But, I thought my Chicago trip was worthwhile and worth a return visit in the warmer weather.

If you're in the area and circumstance allows you a few hours to check out this city, go in with a few key adventures in mind and make the most of it!


Abigail Lyon

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