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Michael's Guide to the City: Grant Park

You’ve finished up your UChicago tour and information session and are now in the Quad admiring the Gothic-style buildings. As beautiful as they are, you know that you’ll be able to see them again on UChicago’s Instagram. Your flight home doesn’t leave until later in the evening--what should you do now? The city of Chicago seems like it has endless options, ranging from premier comedy clubs and world-class architecture to your favorite sports teams and Michelin Star restaurants. Instead of spending money, why not check out one of the city’s most famous attractions, Grant Park?

Located in the heart of downtown, Grant Park is only a fifteen-minute train ride from campus. Grant Park holds some of Chicago’s most iconic attractions, encompassing Millennium Park and the new Maggie Daley Park. The Cloud Gate (aka “the Bean”), Buckingham Fountain, and the Jay Pritzker Pavilion are a few of its many draws. How are you going to fit it all into one day? Well, if I was a prospective student, this is what I would do:

12PM: After getting downtown via the Metra, it’s around lunchtime and you need to eat. Just across from the park is one of Chicago’s Shake Shack’s. Order one Shack Stack and one chocolate milkshake.

1PM: For people to believe you were in Chicago, you need at least 5 pictures with “the Bean.” Try every angle and selfie that you can possibly imagine.

2PM: Next, head over to the Art Institute of Chicago (recently rated one of the best museums in the world!). Because there are some many exhibits, prioritize what you want to see – be it surrealist paintings, medieval armory, or Asian sculpture. Fun fact: UChicago students get into the Art Institute for free with their University IDs. Also, if you come before May 10, make sure to check out their recreation of Van Gogh’s bedroom in Arles.

4PM: It’s time to check out that cool skating rink you’ve been eyeing. The Skating Ribbon in the Maggie Daley Park (part of Grant Park) lets you explore the park on skates. (Are you wondering what they do with the skating rink in the summer? The structure is built in November and disassembled in March each year.) Coming in a warmer month? The park’s rock climbing walls and extensive structures of slides and playground equipment are not just for kids.

6PM: At this point, it’s probably getting dark. You could stay at the park, grab some dinner, hear some music at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra or Lyric Opera, or anything explore more around the Loop! That’s the great thing about Chicago: there’s always something going on. At UChicago, you’ll have opportunities to explore all the cultural, epicurean, and entertainment resources Chicago has to offer.   

Submitted by Michael M. on Friday, February 19, 2016