Travel to Chicago, Illinois – Episode 597

categories: USA Travel

Travel to Chicago - A One Week Itinerary in Chicago (Podcast)

Hear about travel to Chicago, Illinois as the Amateur Traveler talks to Francesca Mazurkiewicz from about her hometown of Chicago.

Francesca says of Chicago, “I was born and raised in Chicago. You think about American big cities and the first one that comes to mind is New York. Why do people love New York? It’s big. There’s always something going on, the neighborhoods, the history. Chicago is much the same way. Why should people come here? It’s smaller than New York. It’s probably a bit more affordable. There are so many world-class attractions and events that happen in this city. It’s definitely a melting pot of a city. There is plenty to do in all seasons. It’s very vibrant and Chicagoans are some of the most genuine people you are ever going to meet.”

Francesca starts us with some of the main sites downtown like going up in some of its skyscrapers (in the city where they were invented) like the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) and the Hancock Building. Then we get down on the river and take an architectural cruise.

We cruise the miracle mile with its fancy shops and then hang out in some of the great parks along Lake Michigan like Millennium Park with its iconic “Bean” (Cloud Gate) sculpture where we have to stop for a selfie. Past the parks is the Museum Campus with the Aquarium, Adler Planetarium, and Field Museum of Natural History.

You can also find Soldier Field down by the Museum Campus, although Francesca would prefer to attend a Blackhawks hockey game or a baseball game with the Cubs at historic Wrigley Field.

But what Francesca really wants us to see are some of the lesser-known neighborhoods of Chicago like Little Italy (where she grew up), Andersonville (a Swedish neighborhood), or Hyde Park. She gives us some suggestions on how to eat our way through her old stomping grounds in Little Italy.

Whether you come for a festival like Lollapalooza or the Christkindlmarket at Christmas time or you come for its world-class museums and parks, you will find a city that may be nicknamed the “Second City” but is the first in the hearts of many.

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This episode of Amateur Travel is sponsored by Context Travel — walking tours for the intellectually curious. Context crafts immersive, expert-led experiences in the world’s great cities, from Singapore to Chicago. Learn more at

Show Notes
Chicago, Illinois – Episode 53
Travel to the South Side of Chicago – Episode 365
Willis Tower
John Hancock Building
The Signature Room Restaurant
A Tour Review: The Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise Aboard Chicago’s First Lady Cruises
Chicago Hop-On Hop-Off Tour
Magnificent Mile
Chicago Water Tower
American Girl Place
Millennium Park
Maggie Daley Park
The Art Institute of Chicago
Terzo Piano at the Art Institute of Chicago
Museum Campus
Shedd Aquarium
Adler Planetarium
Field Museum of Natural History
Soldier Field
Chicago Blackhawks
Wrigley Field
Chicago-style hot dog
Chinatown, Chicago
Ukrainian Village, Chicago
Andersonville, Chicago
Hyde Park, Chicago
Promontory Point
The Jungle
The Devil in the White City
Frederick C. Robie House
Little Italy and University Village neighborhood guide
The Rosebud
Pompei Bakery
Piccolo Sogno
Band of Bohemia
Chicago-style pizza
Summer family hometown travel in Chicago


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Travel to Chicago - A One Week Itinerary in Chicago (Podcast)

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Chris Christensen

by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast. He has been a travel creator since 2005 and has won awards including being named the "Best Independent Travel Journalist" by Travel+Leisure Magazine.

9 Responses to “Travel to Chicago, Illinois – Episode 597”

Paul Neff


Chris – Long time listener here from Chicagoland. I thought you were trying to lead your guest to the correct answer regarding the expression “The Loop” but neither of you got it right. The term the “Loop” arose from the EL (elevated line) that is an above ground mass transit line that “loops around” the traditional downtown area. A bit addicted to your show and many of your regular guest. Thanks for many hours of enjoyment.



I guess we never did say that did we. Sorry about that. 🙂

Mark C


Paul beat me to it. And he is correct.

I understand that no one can cover a city the size of Chicago in a single podcast, or visit everything in a week. But how did you miss talking about the Museum of Science and Industry? Navy Pier? Both are much better than the Robbie House.

Kaitlyn Mussar


Hi Chris, I love listening to this podcast, getting ideas for trips and learning about different parts of the world. As someone who grew up in Chicagoland area, I felt that I needed to add a comment about the amazing deep dish pizza in Chicago. Deep dish pizza is always something I MUST have every time I go the Chicago. I personally love: Giordano’s, Lou Malnati’s, The Art of Pizza, and Pequod’s Pizza. I also recommend two Chicago tours that I have taken and highly enjoyed– the Chicago Pizza Tour and Prohibition Tour. The Chicago pizza tour gives you a taste of the many types of amazing pizza and history of the city. The Prohibition Tour brings you to bars involved in the mob history, you get a drink at each stop and learn history about the prohibition.



Today I will carry the rock of shame. 😉

Kina Kerst


Regarding the Chicago accent, it is called the Inland Northern American accent which extends from Buffalo through Cleveland and into Chicago. I lived in Cleveland 17 years and tried everything possible not to call a cat a “keyat”.

Judy K


I’m happy to see the “Loop” definition corrected.

Lincoln Park, less than 2 miles north of the “Loop”, has the Lincoln Park Zoo (free), a great conservatory and a nature museum—and it’s also just a great park. Chicago has a world class restaurant scene and also great theater.

Best spot for seeing the city? Outside the Adler Planetarium in the evening, looking back at the magnificent skyline.

Ooh—do I sound like a homey????

I enjoy your podcasts, Chris!



I can understand people being proud of Chicago… despite what our president may say.



I was struck that she didn’t directly answer the question at the top of the interview about what are the dangerous neighborhood to avoid. If she wouldn’t offer that information that could literally affect life or death, I figured the rest of her info would be worthless.

I love the other episodes. This one just had a striking dodge from the get-go.

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