I lived in Chicago for 9 years, but I’ve been away for 7 now so many things have changed.

1.) I often recommend taking a whole day or afternoon in the Hyde Park neighborhood. The Museum of Science and Industry is great, as is the Oriental Institute on the University 0f Chicago campus. Rockefeller Chapel at UofC is impressive. There are great skyline views from the Lakefront park near there (I forget the name of it). There is very little left of it except for the MSI, but if you’re a history buff Hyde Park was also the site of the 1893 Columbian Exposition.

2.) Another afternoon or day could be spent in Lincoln Park on the Northside. Not as many nice museums but the zoo is free and the Chicago History Museum is not expensive and is nice even if it’s small. Again, lots of beach front in Lincoln Park and a quick drive up and down Lake Shore Drive can get you to many destinations better than a lot of the expressways or surface streets.

3.) There is great food in every corner of the city. In every neighborhood you’ll find good cheap eats if you ask around. When I lived there I was too broke to try much fine dining except for an annual birthday dinner at Frontera Grill (home of the best chipotle rubbed ribeye I’ve ever had). A few other destination spots I try and hit when in town: Piece Pizza, Revolution Brewing, Smoque BBQ and a little Swedish cafe on called Tre Kroner. Hot Dougs closed their stand alone shop not long after I moved away, but they do serve their sausages at Wrigley Field now. Whenever I pass through I bring home a box of Ann Sather cinnamon rolls.