Do as the tourists do

Some of my besties are visiting Chicago from the West Coast this weekend. So the age old question arises, what should we do?

Typically when there are guests in town, I try to show them off-the-beaten path Chicago. Intentions begin as the good kind, but before I know it, we’ve ended up at Navy Pier, mingling with the fanny-pack wearers and paying too much for ice cream. While you can end up in places you don’t care to be, you can use your guests as excuses to do the things you’ve secretly wanted to do as a tourist. Point in case, the architectural tour seen in this campy photo:

High fives for playing tourists on TV.

High fives for playing tourists.

And this…

"Hey!! Is that Trump Tower?"

"Hey!! Is that Trump Tower?"

Family and friends often come from out-of-town with loose itineraries in mind. And when they do, here is where you can end up:

Top-five Chicago sightseeing requests from out-of-town guests

5. Sears Tower

Err, I mean…Willis Tower? What are we calling that skyscraper these days? Ok, admit it, who doesn’t love to lean into the glass and pretend they’re in a scene from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off?

I actually took this from atop the Sears Tower...when I was an actual tourist

I actually took this from atop the Sears Tower...when I was an actual tourist

I enjoy a cocktail with my view. So, for the money, you’re better off viewing the city at Signature Room at the top of the Hancock Building. The ladies’ room offers the most splendid view of the city, a mon avis.

4.The Bean

I secretly love Cloudgate/The Bean. I make people go here. And I make them take pictures like they’re tourists.

Denise and Maggie are good tourists and good sports.

Denise and Maggie are good tourists and good sports.

3. Michigan Avenue

I’d rather gouge my eyes out than spend a Saturday hanging out on the Mag Mile. I can’t see what people think is fun about dodging fancy ladies with Burberry bags and little girls clinging to American Girl dolls. If you decide to shop on Michigan Ave., go at 7pm on a Wednesday night, and have an action plan. It should definitely include window shopping at Chanel.

2. Navy Pier

Navy Pier is my most loathed place in the whole city. I decided this after my most recent trip there. It’s overpriced, crowded, and let’s face it, not that fun. I took photos as a tourist here too, but can’t even bear to post them.

1.  Any joint that serves Chicago-style pizza

By far, the top request from out-of-town guests. I can’t blame the curiosity around tasting pizza with a two-inch layer of cheese. One slice can sustain you for a week. I might be ejected from the city for saying this, but I prefer New York-style…eek.

The good thing is, my friends have been to Chicago a few times, so we will not be doing any of aforementioned activities. “I’ll try Off-the-Beaten path for $200, Alex.”

What’s the go-to attraction you show out-of-town guests?



Filed under attractions, Chicago, city life

4 responses to “Do as the tourists do

  1. Ryan

    I also prefer a paper thin piece of new york style to the three inch thick chicago styles pizza. Sarah has a problem with this.

  2. I am with Ryan on this one.

    Navy Pier is so so so very very hateful.

  3. Brandon

    I love tourist weekends. Is it bad that Shaun and I don’t wait for visitors to come to town to do them?

  4. I like to take people on boat tours. They’re still fun, even if you’ve heard about the same architecture or shoreline a dozen times.

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