Staycations Have To Have Something To Stay For

Ever notice how much you notice in other cities...? The architecture, the people, the activity. The very stuff you pass up every day of your life in your own city...!

This embarrassing little fact of human nature is why Staycations can be surprisingly joyous events. If you've had to compromise your dreams of Paris or Shanghai, Chicago is a great big fat pinata of discoveries. You just have to see your city with the eyes of a tourist.

Oh sure, there are guidebooks and touring buses, but those should only be the prologue to your Staycation. Now try soloing in some of the venues that were highlighted. Some choices:

* Walk-and-lunch the two retail centers of the city. First, the Loop for the sight and sound of how the city has grown great since the Chicago Fire of 1873; second, the Magnificent Mile for the splash and sizzle that has made us world-class

* Walk-and-smell a few of the city's great public parks. From Grant and Lincoln near the Lake all the way west to glorious, green, late-bloomers like Garfield and Columbus

* Walk-and-meet some of the more colorful neighborhoods where the people and the city really live. Daytime jaunts are recommended for Uptown, Bucktown, Andersonville, Wrigleyville, Devon Avenue, Hyde Park and Chinatown. Chicago is a ciy of cities, with each little community remarkably seeable and smellable as you reach their respective borders. Half the cultures of the world squeezed into this one sprawling city-by-the-lake.

So -- Paris, Shanghai and the rest of you! This is Chicago. This is the city of the big shoulders. This is a great place to live, to be, and especially to stay....!

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