Whether you grew up in the City of Chicago or in the surrounding suburbs, there’s nothing like it. It’s the best place in the world to grow up. Here are ten of the many incredible memories of growing up in Chicago, the Windy City.
Sports are sacred in Chicago, especially baseball and hockey. You’ll never forget your first game as a kid, and they’re just as fun when you’re an adult (*cough* beer). There are two simple rules to follow at a Chicago sporting event: make sure to go to at least one baseball game in the summer and one hockey game in the winter, and never put ketchup on your hot dog.
They’re boring to some, but fun to true Chicagoans. The only place in the U.S. I can think of that has comparable museums to Chicago is Washington DC, and that’s because of the Smithsonian. When you’re a kid, these places are magical. Whether it’s checking out Sue the T-Rex and the Field Museum or checking out sea creatures at the Shedd Aquarium, it’s always a good time.
Chicago is known for their hot dogs (no ketchup, this isn’t St. Louis), deep dish pizza, and Italian beef. Restaurants like Portillo’s and Lou Malnati’s are legendary. No joke, I didn’t know Italian beef was a Chicago thing until recently, and I don’t even like Italian beef! The food is ingrained in the city’s culture that you get used to it as a kid that the second you leave the suburbs, it’s impossible to find pizza that will satisfy your taste buds.
It’s technically called the Willis Tower, but if you call it that you can’t sit with us. If you didn’t do this as a kid, can you even say you’re from here? The answer is no. It’s one of the tallest buildings and the country and going to the top floor is an adventure like no other. You can see the entire city and learn about the history of the city. Is it hokey? Yes, but it’s amazing.
Lincoln Park Zoo Lights at Christmas
There are countless amazing Christmas traditions in Chicago (Christkindlmarket, The Nutcracker, everything at Macy’s) but nothing shines in a Chicago kid’s heart like the lights at Lincoln Park Zoo. You can say they’re just like any other Christmas lights display, but there’s something magical about them.
Water Tower Place
You can argue that it’s just a fancy mall, but there’s one store that every Chicago girl holds near and dear to her heart: The American Girl Place. There is nothing better than being a little girl in the city and bringing your favorite doll into the store for a tea party, makeover, and to get her new clothes. If you didn’t do this as a little girl, you seriously missed out.
Whether it’s at Soldier Field or Huntington Bank Pavilion or a festival like Lollapalooza or LakeShake, outdoor summer concerts in the city are the best. The best part about them is there is one for everyone, and many are kid-friendly. Any genre of music, you can find a concert for it in Chicago during the summer.
Summer boat tours on the Chicago River
The only way to see the majority of Chicago’s landmarks is to go on a boat tour on the Chicago River during the summer. It’s the best way to show a family member or friend visiting the city around or just a good time to see almost everything in a day. Plus, afterward you can visit your favorite spots, and they’re always a hit when you’re a kid.
The best part about Millennium Park is you can enjoy it as much as an adult as you did when you were a kid. As a kid, you can enjoy the fountains in the summer and enjoy laying back in the grass viewing the beautiful city as an adult. Plus, the Bean is fun for all ages.
Whether it’s a play, musical, ballet, or opera, a day spent at the theatre is never one to forget. One of my earliest memories is seeing Beauty and the Beast on Broadway in Chicago when I was three, and I’m convinced I wouldn’t be so obsessed with musicals if I grew up somewhere else. Other highlights are Christmas shows like The Nutcracker and A Christmas Carol and literally anything the Joffrey Ballet puts on.
Do you have any special memories of growing up in Chicago, Illinois?! Let us know down below!
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