It's never a bad thing to get away from your hometown and explore the world around you. You may not always be happy staying where you were born and raised, and that's okay! There's always going to be something you'll miss about home though. For me, apparently, I miss a lot of the food.
1. Affy Tapple
One of the best things about the hot, humid summer ending were all the Affy Tapple fundraisers starting. You would run home, and beg your parents for money to buy enough to last you all September and October. There may be other taffy apples out there but none will ever compare the those in the yellow and red packaging.
Whether you are Team Gino's, Giordano's, or Uno's there is one that that every Chicagoan can agree on, and that's the fact that we have the best pizza. Sorry New Yorkers, you still lose. When you leave Chicago it's almost impossible to find a place that serves deep dish done right, and it leaves an empty hole in your soul. On the bright side, Giordano's seems to be expanding, and Gino's will ship you a frozen pie for you to bake at home!
Now, for you Target lovers (myself included) there are very few stores that can compete with that unconditional love we possess for Target. However, Meijer can. It has a Starbucks, the groceries are cheap, the clothes are cute and cheap, and you can buy anything from paint and hardware to a gluten free bread and other baked goods. It has everything. Literally, everything. Plus, the makeup sales are to die for. Also, Meijer's are so big you could spend a lot of time just roaming around killing time in the middle of the night because most of them are open twenty-four hours!
4. The colors of fall
Another sign that fall is on its way, and the suffocating humidity of a Chicago summer is leaving, are the beautiful colors that take over nature. There's yellows, reds, and purples in the trees. The corn fields turn tan and brown. Walking on trails during this time of year are refreshing and relaxing, and put you right in the mood to watch some Hocus Pocus and drink warm apple cider.
5. Snow days!
My childhood street on a snow day
As a child there was nothing more exciting than getting that phone call from your school telling you that school was closed for the day because of the amount of snow that came down overnight. Time to put on your snowpants and snow boots, waddle down the street to meet up with your friends and play around all day. We would sled, make snowmen and snow angels, and of course have snowball fights that would end up with someone being tackled into the snow. When it was time to come in there would be hot chocolate and holiday movies while curled up under a big blanket. Unfortunately by the next day all of the streets would be cleared and it's back to school!
In the Chicagoland, like pizza, there are a few Chicken restaurants that seem to be everyone's favorite. Harold's, Sharks, they all serve BOMB chicken and fries, and of course, mild sauce. If you don't know what mild sauce is, it's okay. Most of us don't either. Just know it's good. Don't follow Kim K's lead and forget to get some. You'll regret it terribly.
7. The architecture downtown
Downtown has many "must see" sights, but a majority of them you can see just from walking around. Taking a walk down Michigan Avenue or looking behind you when relaxing on the beach can do just the trick. If you have the feeling that you need to see more, there's always the Architecture tour down the Chicago River. It's heartbreaking to know that such a huge part of the city was burned in the Great Chicago Fire, but they did not disappoint with what came afterward. From the gargoyles and the archways, someone who doesn't know a thing about architecture (me) can still know that these buildings look beautiful.
Chicago is home to some of the best sports fans in the world. The whole city centers itself around the world of sports and it's teams. There's a Blackhawks Store on Michigan Ave, and when the Crosstown Classic is happening there isn't a TV in any sports bar that isn't playing it. Chicago Sports is home to some of the biggest legends across all leagues like Michael Jordan, Walter Payton, and Stan Mikita. Jersey's are everywhere, game days are packed, and there's nothing like the whole city celebrating when one of our teams wins.
9. St Patrick's Day
I don't know any other city that dyes their river green... If you can't make it to Ireland for St Patty's Day then you can easily settle for Chicago. The whole Chicago area get's together for the occasion. It isn't only on March 17th though. The South Side Irish Parade kicks off a week before, preparing Chicagoans for a whole week of celebrating with their lads and lassies. Being Irish in Chicago is pretty great.
10. The relief when winter leaves...and summer leaves
The extreme weather in Chicago is a little...much. But there is something magical about that week between Winter and
Spring Summer and between Summer and Fall Winter. For just a short amount of time we can pretend that we go through normal seasons, and weather conditions. When it gets warmer we break out the sundresses. When the leaves start to change and that chill comes in the air we throw on the booties. Every other time of the year we want to be buried in clothes or naked so we have to enjoy what we can get.