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Sweet Home Chicago - A Visitors Guide to the Windy City

Posted on: February 20, 2020

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written by

Paul Rickard, DDS

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If you are offered a locum tenens position in Chicago, I would highly suggest that you take it; the city is full of excitement. Every season makes its own mark by bringing new, exciting, and refreshing activities.

The best way to find fun and interesting places while on assignment is to simply ask the people who live locally. As somebody who has lived his whole life in Chicago, I can give you a few tips about making the most of your visit here in my hometown.

You will want to familiarize yourself with the city’s layout soon after you arrive. Fortunately, this is easy. Believe it or not, the best way to see the Windy City for the first time is by boat. While most tourists might believe the best vantage point is from Lake Michigan, you will see much more travelling through the heart of the city via the Chicago River. The Chicago Architecture Center River tours can turn you into an instant expert on Chicago in just 90 minutes.

Most tourists have fun surveying the city from over 1,000 feet in the air on Willis Tower’s 103rd story sky deck. My tip is to opt for the observation deck at the John Hancock building instead. It’s about 100 feet closer to the ground, but it’s centered in one of the greatest residential locations in the Midwest. The nighttime views from the Hancock Building are amazing and you can bypass cost associated with the observation deck by having a drink at the Signature Lounge two stories higher.

Just outside the Hancock building, you will find Chicago’s historic water tower, the iconic sole surviving building from the devastating Chicago Fire of 1872. Today, it serves as the go-to spot for tourist information. That being said, you won’t need any brochures to realize that you are on the “Magnificent Mile”, an utterly massive, world class shopping, hospitality, dining and entertainment district.

For an unforgettable Chicago shopping experience, I recommend spending an afternoon a few blocks away at Macy’s State Street Store, known to life-long “Chicagoans” as the Marshall Field’s Building.

If you come to Chicago, you will have access to great choices in ethnic food, largely because of our diverse culture. Additionally, everyone should experience the iconic Chicago-style pizza, hot dogs, and Italian beef. If you’re not looking for fast food, I recommend visitors to the Grand Lux Café on Michigan at Ontario for its relaxed ambiance and fantastic desserts.

There are countless worthwhile museums and art galleries, including, but not limited to, the DuSable Museum of African American History and the Museum of Broadcast Communications. Check your local listings if you have any special interests as there are different events occurring daily. The larger museums have something for everybody. You can’t go wrong with a visit to the Art Institute of Chicago, the Adler Planetarium, and the John G. Shedd Aquarium; just three miles away the Field Museum of Natural History. When you visit the Field Museum, you cannot miss the 122-foot-long Titanosaur skeleton that was just recently added to its already large dinosaur exhibition. While you are there, make your way back to see the infamous Tsavo lions.

My top recommendation is the World War II-era U-505 German Submarine located inside the Museum of Science and Industry. You can walk around the authentic piece of history and, for a fee, take a guided tour inside. The exhibit tells the story of the submarine’s capture during a top-secret mission as well as the stories of the captured German sailors. You can even see a replica of the enigma coding machine that was captured with the submarine and helped bring an end to the war.

Certainly, there are fun things to do in Chicago, but it’s been my experience that there are interesting things in every town that I take a locum tenens assignment. It was no surprise that the best advice always comes from the people who live there. No matter where you are, ask around for the most interesting sights. Then, go out and see something new.

Paul Rickard, DDS
About Paul Rickard, DDS

Dr. Paul Rickard, a locum tenens dentist, obtained his bachelor of science in biology from Loyola University of Chicago. In 1988, he graduated from Northwestern University Dental School and has more than 30 years of private practice experience. He has served locum tenens assignments in 11 locations and is currently teaching at Midwestern University, College of Dental Medicine - Illinois. 

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