Chicago “Bucket List”

This Labor Day in September will mark the end of four full years of my time in Chicago. It’s hard to believe that so much time has already passed. I could have earned another entire undergraduate degree in the time I’ve spent in graduate school!

After four years, I do feel more like a “Chicagoan” than I thought I would. I’m starting to follow more of the local politics and culture, and feel a true distinction from the tourists I see visiting in droves every summer. I look at them and think of how grand a city Chicago must seem after coming from presumably more provincial environs. Is that a bit of city snobbery? Sure, but if you lived steps away from the most visited site in all of Illinois (Navy Pier), could see one of the country’s most famous buildings from your bedroom window (the Willis Sears Tower), and your daily commute involved riding down Michigan and State Streets and Chicago’s famous Lakeshore Drive, you would feel that most every visitor you saw must come from a more provincial place.

And yet, the byline to my blog is “the perpetual tourist” for a reason. While I feel at home in Chicago, I still see it as a city I need to explore and experience more. As such, I’ve drawn up a list of “25 Things to Do in Chicago Before I Graduate.” In no particular order, here they are:

1) Eat at a restaurant and visit a shop in every one of Chicago’s neighborhoods
2) Paddle a kayak on the Chicago River
3) Go swimming/scuba diving in Lake Michigan
4) Visit all the city’s museums
5) Eat pizza from all the famous places
6) Visit the most interesting/famous bars in the city
7) Get drinks at The Terrace at the Trump
8 ) See a show at the Green Mill jazz club
9) Dance at Summer Dance
10) Go to a show at Ravinia
11) Attend at least one day of Lollapalooza
12) Go to a Sox, Cubs, Bulls, Blackhawks, and Bears game
13) Walk on the Skydeck at the Sear’s Tower
14) Walk from Hyde Park to downtown
15) Bike to Evanston from downtown
16) Ride every CTA train line
17) Participate in at least one 5k
18) Visit Six Flags Great America
19) Take a Segway tour
20) Eat at a Michelin-starred restaurant (ex. Alinea, Spiaggia’s, etc)
21) Get a Chicago Public library card
22) See at least one day of the “Air and Water Show”
23) Dress in a costume and wander about the city wearing it in the summer
24) Witness the Kuviasungnerk/Kangeiko sunrise session
25) Visit at least five local breweries (ex. Goose Island, Half Acre, etc)

As always, fun things are made more fun with friends/family, so if you plan on visiting Chicago, you can help me work on this list!

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