Why I Love Chicago and Why Everyone Can Love It Too
This is my story of why I love Chicago and why everyone can love it too. This is real, it’s raw and it’s me.
Sometimes it takes some new perspective to change your mind. Today, I’d love to get a little vulnerable with you and share my journey of learning to love the city I call home. I’ve lived in Chicago since I was a kid, and up until a few years ago, I’d tell you that I hated it. In the end, like so many things, I needed to open myself to new possibilities in order to see how incredible this city is. If you’re struggling to stay content where you live, I hope that you can gain a little inspiration from my experience!
Why I love Chicago - The Beginning
When I was young, I lived in Chicago in a family of seven brothers and sisters. We didn’t have much money; there certainly wasn’t enough to go downtown to sightsee. At the time, though there were so many wonderful things to discover, I didn’t have the means to access them.
This definitely colored my views of living in the Windy City; in fact, the awful winter weather was what stood out in my mind the most. We did get to visit the Lincoln Park Zoo for Halloween the year I was 7 years old, but other than that, my memories include a lot of gray skies and bitterly cold days.
When I married my husband, I would always try to convince him to move. I hoped that he might be stationed somewhere warm and sunny, like Hawaii or California. It would be easy to love my home if it was always gorgeous outside! Since we’re a military family, I hoped that a perk of the job might be to start over again in a balmy climate.
When I started my blog, I even included in my bio that “I hate Chicago.” My feelings were certainly quite strong, but my husband, who was born and raised here, actually loves it. I was convinced that my feelings would never change.
Why I love Chicago - My Blog
However, sometimes resilience isn’t facing new challenges; it’s persevering through old ones. We didn’t get stationed on an island or on the west coast, but as I started to grow my blog, I began to realize how much my city has to offer. As I grew into my new role as a writer and blogger, I could see that the love I have for my city began to grow too. My job allowed me access to many of the amazing features I hadn’t tried before.
I almost can’t believe the incredible adventures I’ve been able to have in the city that I used to hate so passionately. Before COVID, I was able to see the Chicago Cirque Du Soleil performance, “Volta,” and it was absolutely stunning. That same year, 2019, I sat on a beautiful patio with my bestie Gina and drank wine in flower crowns to celebrate rosé at City Winery. Who knew you could delight in amazing wine so far from California?
Photo Credit: Chicago Music Guide
Even in the middle of COVID, Chicago provided some much needed relaxation. Last summer, my kids and I took a bike tour with Bobby’s Bike Hike and were able to have a fun activity in the middle of the pandemic. We took a staycation and spent 3 days staying downtown trying new restaurants, checking out the Chicago architecture center, and more.
We visited 360 Chicago, and looking out over the city on the TILT observation deck, on the 94th floor of the John Hancock building, I was able to see the entire skyline. It was breathtaking. I began to realize that there is so much more to this city than I’ve given it credit for, and a change in my point of view was needed.
Photo Credit: Enjoy Illinois
Why I love Chicago - Reflection
I reflected a lot this year about where I am, and I was amazed at how much I’ve grown to love this city. It’s diverse and exciting and full of places I can visit. The food and entertainment, even through a pandemic, have offered a bright spot in a difficult season. Although I still don’t love the winter, there’s truly nothing like a Chicago spring. Just like so many families, we’ve grown stronger during this hard winter, and the spring weather that’s on its way is a tangible reminder.
My goal as a mother is to teach my kids to grow and thrive wherever they’re planted. Children of military families are often referred to as dandelions, since they can put down roots almost anywhere. I encourage my children to love and accept their home, but still value and learn from places they may visit. We’re a Chicago family, and we love it here.