I had the amazing opportunity to travel to Chicago less than two weeks ago. It was my first time in the city (I think since I was a child which doesn’t really count) and I loved it! It was freezing and snowing but I still loved every single moment of it.  Now I completely get it. I can see what all the fuss is about. Chicago is a great city. Even though I was only there for a few days, there is no denying the feeling of comfort I felt being there. It felt natural and effortless to walk in the snow like any other Chicagoan.  Here are just a few of the reasons I love Chicago.

The music!  Wow! I had the honor of being able to experience some of the best blues I’ve ever heard in my life. The first blues place was B.L.U.E.S on N. Halsted Street. This small divvy venue is a piece of blues heaven! My friend and I were there the night that Big Time Sarah was celebrating her birthday and boy did she entertain us (more on this in number in a min). 

Another night we headed over to Kingston Mines which I can say with a lot of confidence is one of my favorite places on earth. Going to Kingston Mines, which is literally right across the street from B.L.U.E.S, was a spiritual experience. The best way to describe this experience can be summed up in two words: Joanna Conner. More on this in number 2.  Another two words to describe the awesomeness that is Kingston Mines: Kinsey Report.  Chicago blues moved my soul and made me love the city.

The People:  This is in many ways related to number 1 and it’s something that resonates with me in other cities that I love. Chicago is home to these incredibly talented, spirited, brilliant musicians. They have enough personality and charisma to spare and their genius is insultingly (at least to me anyway) unknown to the world. Joanna Conner is easily, and I mean this very seriously, one of the best guitarists I have ever seen. She is- rolling stone magazine cover, top 100 best list, baddest ever- good. Yes, she really is. (I’m so passionate about writing that I can’t get the punctuation straight). And yet, I never heard of her until that night. It’s sad.

Then there is Big Time Sarah. She is the personification of blues. Her voice is raspy and she carries herself like a woman that has seen a whole lot of life. Wikipedia says: “At age 14, she began singing blues at the Morgan’s Lounge Club, and in the 1970s she played with musicians such as Magic SlimBuddy GuyThe AcesJunior WellsJohnny Bernard, and Erwin Helfer.  Then there is Ronald from the Kensey Report; another group of personalities that would look ill-fitted anywhere else.

Chicago is filled with these characters and I love it.

The food: Gluttony! I ate so much in Chicago and I loved every bite. From steak at Gibson’s to a delicious deep dish pizza, my culinary experience was fantastic.  I definitely need to go back because I barely scratched the food surface of the city.

The sites: From the John Hancock building to the Sofitel Hotel where I stayed, Chicago’s architecture is truly amazing. Some of the tallest buildings in the country call Chicago home and they are all so incredibly ornate and engineered. As my friend and I walked down the streets to our next meal or landmark, he was telling me his reasons why Chicago is actually Gotham City and not NY. He made many valid points. There is even a bridge we crossed that was in a scene of one of the Dark Knight movies. Pretty cool if you ask me!

Though it was freezing cold (and I mean cold as in negative degrees during the nights) I had an incredible time walking in the snow, taking pictures at famous landmarks, and absorbing all the amazing music, food, and awesome people that make Chicago so fantastic.

I have my eyes set on going back this summer!