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Take time to explore Chicago

Jamie Anderluh

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•Jamie Anderluh
For most of my life (all of which has been lived in Arlington Heights, might I add), I’ve dreamed of living somewhere beautiful or interesting or important.

The hatred of the suburbs is a slight exaggeration, of course. And, as endings fueled by the prospect of college ensue, I’m reminded of the magical place called Chicago that I’ve often overlooked in my wanderlust.

As I prepare to leave Illinois, there are, admittedly, things I will appreciate about Arlington Heights. The access to a quality education (even one that lacks sufficient windows), safe neighborhoods, and all of the priviledges that come with living where we do are not to be overlooked.

But the priviledge I will remember most is the accessibility of the global city stuffed with world-renowned restaurants, plays, museums and a diversity of individuals and ideas. In the suburbs, we often dismiss Chicago, writing it off as a ”hassle” because parking can be outrageously expensive or because traffic can be unpredictable. We fear trains because we’re suburbanites and we love our cars and we don’t want to–gasp–sit in a public locomotive surrounded by–shudder–strangers!

It’s easy to take the city for granted, and experiencing it can be overwhelming at times. That’s why I’ve vowed to make the most of it for some of my last real months in Illinois.

Now, to review some of what I’ve already experienced in a quest for the memorable, I offer a roadmap of the winners.
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To begin, there’s Randolph Street. Randolph equals food heaven. For diner fare, there’s Little Goat. For burgers, there’s Au Cheval and The Loyalist. But there’s so much more: sushi and oysters and carbs for miles! And to cancel the load of it all, there’s the Randolph Street market, which beholds other treasures that aren’t edible.

Next, there’s Wicker Park. Slightly overrun by hipsters, it’s lost some of its authenticity, but still, quality thrifting and restaurant-ing abound. I recommend Buffalo Exchange and a trip down Milwaukee Avenue.

As a less expensive option, explore free museum days. The Art Institute offers free admission on Thursday evenings, and others have select days scattered randomly throughout the summer.

These ideas are only a beginning to an overflowing city, but it’s a start. For those who plan to flee from Illinois eventually, it’s a prime opportunity to make the most of Chicago.

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