I was just a kid when I heard the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 was caused my Mrs. O’Leary’s cow. Since then, I have gained a healthy respect for our Second City, though I like it as my first city. I am not a big fan of New York City, though I always enjoy my visits there. I just never feel quite in control, as I just get swept away by the energy of the city.
Chicago is just different, very Midwestern, yet sophisticated enough, and pretty enough. I always enjoyed visiting here in the Eighties, when this was a regular stop about 3-4 times a year. I got to know some of the neighborhoods, and do all the regular tourist things, like Wrigley Field, the Hancock Tower, the great museums, and mostly, the great food.
So, if you posed the question of doing some offbeat things in Chicago, what might they be? One might be the Money Museum at the Federal Reserve Bank at 230 South La Salle Street. That’s another charm of Chicago, the names of their streets. Rush Street is the traditional singles scene, and Michigan Avenue, also known as the Magnificent Mile is a shopper’s heaven.
Valentine’s Day in 1929 was the date of Chicago’s bloodiest mob hits, when seven of Bugsy Moran’s guys were machine-gunned down by five of Al Capone’s lieutenants. The location was 2122 North Clark Street, now the site of a nursing home. Notorious criminal, John Dillinger died not too far away from the site of the massacre.
But the award for the creepiest attraction goes to the International Museum of Surgical Science, at 1524 North Lake Shore Drive. They have over 200 preserved bodies and organ specimens. A word of warning to most people. Do not eat lunch prior to your visit here.
McDonald’s started here in 1955. There is a museum at the site, at 400 Lee Street. A replica restaurant sits now on that site. Headquarters for Big Mac are now located in the suburban city of Des Plaines.
This ought to keep you busy and away from shopping on the Mag Mile. But when you get tired, I would strongly suggest a visit to Garrett’s Popcorn and a cold beer. Now admit it! You can’t find this stuff in NYC.