Chicago Culture: Top 5 Experiences

Most of us who travel often do so in pursuit of learning something new. And in a city as large and diverse as Chicago, the challenge becomes prioritizing which activities or attractions will take precedence over another. In this article, you will gear away from the popular tourist stops like the Magnificent Mile, the Navy Pier and Millennium Park to experience a more of Chicago culture instead. These five unique experiences (in no particular order) will highlight the reasons why Chicago is truly world-class city.

Chicago Culture Experience No. 1:

Hear a Performance by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Chicago Culture - The Chicago Symphony Orchestra
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra is one of the oldest and best orchestras in the United States. It is also one of the highest rated orchestras in the world. Distinguished soloists and conductors have been known to travel and record with the orchestra and the music industry has awarded its performers with its share of accolades.

Of course, the orchestra’s true power and sound will only be complimented with the right setting and the Symphony Center certainly lives up to those expectations. Wonderfully decorated and brilliantly designed, the Symphony Center is an architecture wonder in itself. The venue’s acoustics allows the keen listener to hear every bit of sound from the orchestra no matter where he/she sits.

Chicago Culture Experience No. 2:

Catch a Baseball Game @ Wrigley Field

Chicago Culture - Wrigley Field - Major League Baseball
Wrigley Field – Major League Baseball

No trip to Chicago, particularly in the summer, is complete without catching a baseball game in one of country’s legendary ballparks. Wrigley Field is the oldest National League ballpark in the United States, and home to the Chicago Cubs. Its ivy covered outfield walls are unique to major league ballparks and it maintains one of the only two manual scoreboards still in use. Its classic art-deco entrance sign provides you with elation knowing that you’re about to walk into a venue with so much history. Finally, you will also get to experience one of the best choral renditions of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” by fans.

Chicago Culture Experience No. 3:

Eat Your Way Around Chicago

Chicago is a foodie paradise. This city loves food so much it plays host to the largest food festival in the world every summer. So it’s just natural to be curious and see what really is the fuzz about. Of course we’ve all heard about some of its famous contributions to one’s palate: the Chicago Deep Dish Pizza, the Chicago Hotdog, and Garrett’s Chicago Mix. But also expand your taste buds and discover those dives located deep within the city’s ethnic neighborhoods. Chicago Food Planet offers a handful of themed food tours recommended by food critics and locals alike.

Chicago Culture Experience No. 4:

Take a Crash Course in Chicago Architecture and Design

Buildings surrounding the Chicago River
Buildings surrounding the Chicago River

Chicago’s architecture tours are certainly some of the city’s most popular attractions. Not only do you get to see the beauty of the city, but you also learn about the city’s contribution and influence to field. The city offers a variety of styles, many of which are reflected through the city’s skyscrapers. The Chicago skyline is one of the most beautiful in the world. It doesn’t matter whether you view it day or night, you will still be in awe of it. It wasn’t always like this however.

Chicago was a city like much of the Midwest—flat. But the Great Chicago Fire in 1871 destroyed much of the city so it became necessary to rebuild. And rebuild they did. Renowned architects came in clusters to design new buildings that are bigger, taller, and made of steel. The pioneers of the Chicago school developed the designs that were to become the foundation of skyscrapers.

Chicago Culture Experience No. 5:

Surround Yourself With Scholars at The University of Chicago

The William Rainey Harper Memorial Library, University of Chicago
The William Rainey Harper Memorial Library, University of Chicago

Anyone who has studied social sciences, economics, architecture or political science has at some point heard the words “Chicago School of…” They are referring to schools of thought and theories that originated at the University of Chicago. The city’s premier university for academic research has produced more than its share of Nobel Laureates.

Listen to students argue about the pros and cons of free market economies or discuss the value of conflict theory within the middle class. Admire its neo-gothic buildings and enjoy the patches of green at nearby Jackson and Washington Parks.  The university also has a few interesting art museums that you can visit free of charge when staying in Chicago.

About Iris A


Born in the Philippines, but grew up in Texas, Iris has been traveling and writing about her experiences for well over a decade. Her work has been published on well-known travel sites like Hipmunk (#hipmunkcitylove) and D Magazine Online Travel Club. She has been all over Europe, the US, and has recently started exploring Latin America. She loves trying local cuisine and visiting UNESCO deemed World Heritage sites. Her favourite city is New York, with London, following a close 2nd. You can follow her on Twitter @sundeeiris or through her travel blog, Traveling With Iris.

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