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Why Chicago is the place-to-be!

Let me introduce myself, I'm Leentje De Leeuw, journalist, blogger and now also guide in Chicago. Exclusively for Connections for clients, I reveal the ins-and-outs of Chicago during an original city tour. But before we go on a walk together, I'd like to tell you my Chicago-story ...

My new home in the Windy City

After I got my Tourism & Recreation Management degree in 1999, I worked for a while for a Belgian tour operator specializing in customized trips to the United States. It was quickly apparent I had a weak spot for America, primarily New York. I returned to that city time and time again secretly daring to dream of one day living there, be it even for a while. Yet ... life is full of surprises. In 2013 a series of expected columns for the Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws brought me to Chicago, a second time. I was to interview a Flemish speaking man about his life and experiences in the Windy City. We kept in touch and fell in love. After traveling back and forth for many a flight, my son and I decided last year to take the leap and settle in Chicago. It was the right decision as my love for both my partner and the city grows day-by-day. In the meantime I have discovered lots of smart and cool hot spots and I want nothing more than to share all those hidden gems with anyone who wishes to explore the city as an insider.

The strengths of Chicago

Thanks to the fact it was love that brought me to Chicago, and I always dreamed of a life in New York, I'm very happy to be here. Chicago is fan-tas-tic! I bet your bottom dollar that those who love New York should give Chicago a fair try. They will be pleasantly surprised. Just like the Big Apple, the Windy City is a melting pot. You will find people of all nationalities, backgrounds and cultures. Chicago is comparable to New York in many ways. You will find impressive skyscrapers, hip restaurants and bars, wonderful museums, a great music and theater scene (more and more musicals have their premiere in Chicago before they go to Broadway, The First Wives Club for example), great shopping and ... Chicago is the greenest city in the US. Furthermore we have beaches, over forty kilometers of them. Lake Michigan is perhaps the greatest asset of this city as without it Chicago just wouldn’t be Chicago. The lake is absolutely beautiful in every season. In winter the ice and snow formations on the water and banks of the lake are magnificent and during summer, the lakes many promenades and cycle paths invite all passers-by to walk, cycle or just lazy around in the grass or spend a day at the beach. What is the main difference to me with New York? Everything here is a bit smaller, friendlier and less expensive.

Convinced that Chicago is worth a visit? Check out our Chicago citytrips below.

By Leentje De Leeuw - 17/03/2015

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