Chicago Love Letter

Dear Chicago,

There is nothing that elicits such a persistent smile than my first glimpse of the Chicago skyline en route back to my city. Approaching via 290 on my way back from Iowa City, the first appearance of the Sears Tower in the distance would mean I was almost there, even if the traffic didn’t indicate the same. Or maybe from the airport, gone for 6 months or merely a weekend getaway, coming in on 90. The buildings become a little clearer as I get closer and closer, finally onto 90/94. The familiar expressway signs indicate the mileage to my destination. I know that soon I would be home in Lincoln Park, my favorite neighborhood of all, in my family brownstone in a tree-lined street.

I love your summers with sunny days and cool breezes. I love finding a secluded spot after biking down the lakefront and reading a good book. I love every street festival and how people are constantly enjoying the outdoors at all times on patios and in parks.

I love your snowy, cold winters. It doesn’t matter how terrible of an ice-skater I am, I will go every year and make a fool of myself if only for the hot chocolate that is sure to follow. I love shopping during Christmas along Michigan Avenue and State Street admiring all the decorations and window displays. Sure, the winter can drag on a little long, but I’m convinced that is why Chicago is so great in the summer.

I love spending a debaucherous night out with great friends. Especially my Chicago friends, who swear they will never abandon the city for the suburbs, like so many of us have.

I love your variety. I love that I can walk to a Greek restaurant, a sushi restaurant, a Mexican restaurant, a Starbucks, my dry-cleaner and tailor, the bank, a park, multiple neighborhood bars, and a range of shops selling everything from clothes to beauty products to dogs, all within about a four-block radius. As someone who hates driving, I love your walk-ability and ease of public transportation.

And lastly of all I love your people. The people that make the city home, the ones that are friendly no matter what you need, the ones that just want you to love Chicago as much as they do. As I do.

Love always, no matter how many times I move away, I’m always coming back,

Tessa McLean

About Tessa McLean

There is just something about that feeling when you have been away — maybe for a weekend, a month, 6 months — and you’re driving into Chicago and that first glimpse of the city skyline appears. It just always makes me smile.

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