Holiday Highlights: Illinois

I spent my third year studying abroad at the University of Richmond. With an early August start date, it was the perfect opportunity to visit my St Andrews friends in their hometowns. Chicago was my first stop, with an airport arrival fittingly baptised with grilled cheese and Arnold Palmers. In the USA for the first time, I was marvelling at everything from traffic lights to the sound of the cicadas, but here are some holiday highlights and travel suggestions that extend beyond road signs and critters!


1. Indulge in Deep Dish Pizza12240127_10153503204199270_5933339440183625889_n

Chicago is famous for it, and rightly so. Pizzeria Uno is the perfect place to try your first slice. Founded in 1943, the first restaurant was so popular that Pizzeria Due was opened just a block away. Make sure to get your fill of it, because you will certainly struggle to find its equal on your return to the UK!


2. Unwind in the Windy City11033923_10153503204489270_5665564068918041780_n

Pizza isn’t the only thing the city has to offer. Get your obligatory tourist photo at the Cloud Gate sculpture in Millennium Park (otherwise known as ‘the bean’); relive Ferris Bueller’s Day Off with a whirl around The Chicago Art Institute; survey the city from the water on an architectural boat tour; and create your own movie magic in the lights and music on Navy Pier.


3. Traipse Round Old Town11062090_10153503205109270_7876766514361985377_n

If you prefer to see a historic side to a city, ‘Old Town’ is a neighbourhood you must explore. Browse the shops and enjoy the architectural glimpses into the past. If you want a free activity, Lincoln Park Zoo is just on your doorstep. The Zoo was founded in 1868, making it one of the oldest in the country. End your day with some laughs at a comedy show at The Second City.  


4. Take Me Out To a Ball Game12239471_10153503204064270_8824708529299513866_n

Despite considering myself a very non-sporty person, watching live sport is near the top on my list of recommended activities. The day after I arrived in Illinois, high on jet lag and adrenaline, I discovered a new found love for baseball. Watching The Cubs play at Wrigley Field was undoubtedly one of the highlights of my trip. If you are lucky enough to go, be sure to remember a few dollars for Cracker Jacks. 


5. Escape to the Lakes12239740_10153503204669270_1676542776810517631_n

Living in St Andrews it is easy to take our proximity to the sea for granted. In a country full of landlocked States, a trip to a lake becomes a beach trip equivalent. Northern Illinois is perfectly situated by Lake Michigan, one of the five great lakes in the United States. So if you are having a city focused holiday, escape to a Lake House for a few days, for fresh air and a change of scene.  


Images courtesy of the author.