Oriental Museum to Lou Malnati Deep Dish Pizza, Chicago 10 Do's and Don'ts by Leela

Food writer Leela has opened many people's eyes on the delights of Thai home cooking thanks to She Simmers. She also contributes to CNNGo.

She is as familiar with secrets of Bangkok as those of Chicago.

Today she was kind enough to share her 10 Do's and Don'ts on Chicago.

10 Chicago Do’s and Don’ts

1.  Do buy CityPASS which gives you VIP admissions to 5 must-see attractions in Chicago: Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum, Skydeck Chicago, Adler Planetarium or Art Institute of Chicago, and John Hancock Observatory or Museum of Science and Industry. With CityPASS, you save 50% off regular admissions and can skip most long ticket lines.

Sheddaquarium

2. Don’t limit yourself to only well-known museums and attractions. Those who enjoy ancient Near Eastern arts and history will love the Oriental Institute Museum in Hyde Park. The Museum of Contemporary Art is also a great place to visit.

3. Do buy a hop-on-hop-off double-decker tour package, especially if it’s your first visit to Chicago. This allows you to see a lot of the city in one day without the expense of cab fares. Don’t forget other means of transportation as well. The ‘L’, Chicago elevated trains, take you to many neighborhoods worth exploring.

4. Don’t underestimate the cost of parking in Chicago. It adds up! Traveling by car allows you more control, but can be quite costly. Parking in general is costly; it is particularly so at most tourist attractions.

5. Do take a stroll on the Magnificent Mile where you can find various shops along both sides of Michigan Avenues, including the Water Tower. Do visit Navy Pier, especially if you enjoy seeing the city from the Ferris wheel.

6. Don’t eat at the touristy, pricy, and mostly mediocre restaurants at Navy Pier. Don’t waste your money at department store food courts either. And a restaurant on a high-rise building that boasts great view of the city and the lake? Don't waste your money and space in your digestive tract there. I'm serious.

7. Do enjoy Chicago’s famous hot dogs and deep-dish pizzas. Lou Malnati’s, in my opinion, serves up the best deep-dish pizzas in the world. Portillo’s is also a place where you should visit for Chicago-style Italian beef sandwiches and hot dogs. Chicago’s famous Garrett Popcorn lives up to the hype and is worth a visit. I highly recommend a mixed combo of caramel crisp and cheese.

Deepdish

8. Don’t limit yourself to just these budget eats, though. Chicago is home to some of the best restaurants in the United States. We have Alinea, which has recently garnered 3 Michelin stars, Avenues which is my absolutely favorite, Schwa which may be hard to get in but is magnificent, and Blackbird which I adore. These fine-dining establishments may be pricy, but if you plan ahead, a meal at one of these restaurants will make your trip to Chicago truly memorable.

9.  Do experience high-end food at low-end price from several renowned Chicago chefs. Xoco by Rick Bayless is a great place to experience Mexican-inspired tortas hot out of the wood oven, freshly-made churros with hot chocolate to dip them in, etc. I also love Urban Belly by Bill Kim. Then we have Grahamwich by Graham Elliot which some people enjoy.

Floriole

10. Don’t believe that Chicago does not have good bakeries. It's one of those oft-repeated lies. We're not saturated with great bakeries like New York City or San Francisco, but what we do have is great. Visit Vanille, Floriole, and Bittersweet, and you’ll change your mind.

Thank you Leela for taking us on a stroll around Chicago. Another city I have to add to my agenda.

Previously: L.A Without a Car, Gelato Baby 10 Do's and Don'ts in Los Angeles

(* Photo of Shedd Aquarium by Joe Zitzelsberger from Aquarium Facebook Fan Page, Deep Dish pizza from Lou Malnati's Facebook page, Floriole photo also via their Facebook page)

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