My kind of town
Belinda Cipriano visits the ‘Windy City’, Chicago.
CLEANER, smaller and (in my opinion) slicker than New York; Chicago, in the words of ol' blue eyes Frank Sinatra, “it's my kind of town”.
A haven for foodies and an architect's dream, the Windy City (a nickname not for its wind but for its politicians who were apparently full of “hot air”) has something for everyone.
Visiting during the fall and staying at the Hotel Chicago, it proved a great location to see downtown Chicago.
Sitting between Marina City (known for the iconic Corn Cobs) and the Chicago River, while being conveniently located minutes from shopping meccas The Magnificent Mile and State Street, it is perfectly placed.
While in Chi-Town, my concierge Russell advised me an architectural tour on the river was the best way to see some of the city's most iconic landmarks; he was not wrong.
Informative, entertaining and historical, this 90-minute guided tour cruises by more than 50 skyscrapers, moveable bridges and historic sites including the Willis Tower (formerly Sears), Trump Tower, Chinatown, Boeing, the Civic Opera Building and the Chicago Tribune.
Want to learn about the city's seedy past and underbelly? Then a Chicago Crime Tour is a must.
Visit Harry Caray's Restaurant to see gangster Frank Nitti's apartment and vault and hear stories about Al Capone and John Dillinger.
You will also visit the site of Chicago's most notorious murder - the St Valentine's Day Massacre.
If you are looking for something a little lighter, a visit to the United Centre to watch the Chicago Bulls and see Michael Jordan's statue is one to pop on the list.
The Bulls’ home is something to behold and watching the “red army” in action needs to be seen to be believed.
Fans are whipped into a frenzy as the Bulls take to the court, saving the biggest cheer for their champion Derek Rose.
Even if you are not a basketball fan, you would be hard pressed not to get carried away.
A day spent at beautiful Millennium Park will show you how architecture, playgrounds and amphitheatres work so well.
Sitting in the heart of Chicago's famous Loop, the park is filled with art, music, architecture and gardens and is home to sculptures including the interactive Crown Fountain and Cloud Gate, also called The Bean.
The park also holds free jazz and music festivals and concerts throughout the year.
When it comes to cuisine, Chicago has it covered, with whatever you are craving at your fingertips.
Personal favourites included RPM Steak and Italian: delicious, simple food served by the best in the business.
You will have to wait in line for the Purple Pig, but it is worth it.
The Publican is famous for its spicy pork rind and at $6 it is hard to stop at one serve.
The famous Chicago deepdish pizza is one you cannot go without and at Giordano's one small serve is enough.
Millennium Park is a must see in Chicago.