So we've been living in Chicago now for almost 10 months...and the city is really growing on me.
It has it's ups and downs but so far I think we're generally smitten with the city.
So far...Here is my list of 10 favorite things about living in Chicago:
10. Trader Joe's: This is the first city we've lived in where we live close enough to utilize Trader Joe's. I love, love, love the rock bottom prices, organic selections, the friendly staff and the vast array of easy to make meals (especially for me...who can't cook to save her life!)
9. The Shopping: Even though I'm not much of a shopper these days...I can't complain about what this city has to offer. From Miracle Mile to local second hand shops to Ikea to enormous shopping and outlet malls. Everything and anything I could possibly need is never far away.
8. Chicago Public Libraries: Though we haven't had a lot of success with going to the free programs offered at our library (that is literally next door)...it has been so nice to be able to have an endless supply of reading material to offer to G. And the FREE passes to museums, parks and zoos is one of the greatest gifts CPL have to offer! We even started checking out CD's...Gunnar is loving Raffi these days!
8. Our Condo/Apartment: Seriously...I am so glad we found this place. It's amazing to think that we picked it out site unseen and it's been such a blessing. I don't know how we would ever be getting by without the laundry in our unit, or the convenient trash shoot just steps from our front door. There are plenty of wonderful neighbors in our building...and when it comes to grocery shopping the elevator is my best friend! And when the Blizzard of 2011 hit...we counted our blessings numerous times for our indoor heated parking...which also comes in handy when it's too hot, raining, windy, etc.
7. Lincoln Park Zoo: What a terrific little zoo. We've been 4 times since Gunnar was born. It's Free...it's beautiful. A great place to picnic and take the kids. A staple for bringing out of town guests or meeting friends. This is such a great gift from the City of Chicago!
Bad Apple, Daily Bar & Grill, Ann Sather, Tre Kroner and Julius Meinl
The Neighborhood- Lincoln Square: Nothing wrong with a little German neighborhood. The square itself is one of my favorite places to be...it's cute and quaint and feels like a small town's mainstreet. Complete with a fabulous Toy store, an insanely cool book store, gelato shop, bakeries, my favorite 2nd hand shop, kitchy artisan shops and great restaurants. There's even an incredibly unique Apothecary shop that is worth a visit to the square alone. We love going to the famous Brauhaus for giant pretzels, pilsners and goulash AND of course to polka with the oompa-pa band that plays every night!
4. Public Transportation: Though I don't use it as often as I should. I'm so glad to be back in a city with many modes of transportation. I love riding a bus or a train and letting someone else take the wheel for once. It's environmentally great and makes going places a little more exciting! Gunnar turns into a total flirt with everyone in sight...which is also quite entertaining!
3. The Theater Scene: Though I've only been able to see a few select plays since moving here...I already know there is so much to offer in this city. From Big-Name Broadway-type houses to Regional theater giants to small independent store fronts. I'm so thrilled to be making my Chicago debut with a killer role in Akvavit Theatre's Red and Green by Astrid Saalbach mid September.
2. The Friends: I feel so blessed to have moved here with a small gaggle of friends close by. I don't know what I'd do without them...there's nothing that can make you love a city more than the people who live in it! Here's hoping that gaggle will grow into a heard!
1. Family: I count my blessings everyday that we live in the same town as John's sister and brother-in-law and my cousin Jessica and her family. It has been nearly 7 years since we've lived in the same city as any family members and it's been far too long. There is nothing in this world as important and valuable as having your family near by. And what a time too...I hope Gunnar knows just how special it is to be growing up with his auntie just a few blocks away. We couldn't be luckier.