I was recently approached by Kendra Thornton, Chicago resident, mother of three and former Director of Communications at Orbitz, to participate in a project where we would each discuss our favorite things to do in our home cities. For those of you who have been following my blog, you know that I recently moved with my family from Los Angeles, California to Toronto, Canada. Here are just a few of the reasons we moved to Toronto, followed by Kendra’s write-up on her hometown, Chicago.
Toronto is a city full of culture and many interesting things to do. It’s so hard to pinpoint a few select things about what make Toronto so fabulous, when there are so many to choose from!
Anyone who ever visits Toronto is told they must go to the CN Tower. Not that the CN Tower isn’t an amazing landmark (it is!) and a great place to visit, but there is so much more to Toronto than the western hemisphere’s tallest tower.
In addition to the CN Tower, when visiting Toronto, you should definitely check out Centre Island, The Science Centre, The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), The Toronto Zoo, The Canadian National Exhibition, Canada’s Wonderland, Ontario Place and many, many other fun and interesting places.
If you’re into theatre and the arts, you’re in luck – Toronto’s arts and cultural scene can’t be beat! In June, the LuminaTO festival kicks off the summer. You can go to the festival’s hub – David Pecaut Square for live performances, food tastings and so much more.
The Beaches International Jazz Festival follows LuminaTO in July/August and is not to be missed.
If you’re thinking that there’s no way you can pack any more culture into your summer, think again! The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) rolls into town as the summer comes to a close, bringing with it the best new movies and tons of celebrity sightings.
But just in case LuminaTO, The Jazz Festival and TIFF do not fulfill your need for arts and culture, you can always find tickets to a Broadway show. One of my all time favorite musicals, Les Misérables is now playing at the Princess of Wales Theatre.
If you plan to visit Toronto in the winter, you MUST go to a Toronto Maple Leafs NHL game and get ready to experience a culture shock like never before! Leaf fans are diehard, and that is not an exaggeration! If you would prefer to air on the less aggressive side of winter festivities, head on over to The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair for some good food and horse shows.
The less touristy aspects of Toronto should not be overlooked. The Brickworks farmer’s market is one of my all-time favorite places to visit on Saturday mornings. At around 9:00am, I head out to the Brickworks with my family to buy some delicious, organic produce for the week. Being a photographer, I also tend to stop and admire the scenery at the Brickworks – it’s a great place for photo shoots.
Combine all that there is to do in Toronto with great public transportation, neighborhoods with amazing parks right in the middle of the city, the most amazing restaurants with every kind of cuisine imaginable, top-notch public schools and public health care, and Toronto ranks as number one on my list of places to live and of course, to visit!
Now here to discuss a city also known for its hockey is Kendra Thornton! She is a Chicago resident, and truly loves her Midwest city.
There is often a misconception that big cities are no place to raise a family. I reside in Chicago with my husband and children, and there are so many aspects that have caused us to love it. When people talk about seeing the sights, and enjoying modern day architecture, Chicago is one of the places they are referring to. It has stunning buildings and bridges, and some of the best outdoor parks of any city in the world. It hosts spectacular musical performances, theatrical entertainment, and sporting events. Delicious food is available in every nook of the city — gourmet meals as well as irresistible pizza slices and even—gasp– hot dogs! To paraphrase Samuel Johnson, a person who’s tired of Chicago is tired of life.
When I am finding myself with spare time on the weekend in Chicago, I will begin my day by attending Field Museum on S. Lake Shore Drive. This science museum boasts anthropological artifacts from every inhabited continent, and a wide variety of plant and animal species. As such, it provides a compelling overview of the Earth’s history. While the Field Museum appeals to people of all ages, it holds special allure for children. The exhibitions just have a way of capturing curious young minds; it is the perfect place to bring my kids.
Perhaps you have a dilemma. Maybe you want to travel to Chicago this year, but you also want to see a Broadway show. Fortunately, you don’t have to choose between these two options thanks to the production company called Broadway in Chicago (BIC). In July 2000, the Nederlander Organization, one of the largest theatrical companies in the United States, founded BIC. BIC now owns five theaters in the city and stages performances every bit as elaborate as their Manhattan counterparts.
After a day of museums and shows, you might wish to sit back and unwind. Imagine doing so amid the splendor of the brightly lit Chicago skyline. Downtown Chicago is truly awe-inspiring at night. For that reason, it’s wise to stay at a downtown hotel so you can enjoy these views every evening during your visit. Plus, it’s easy to find deals at such hotels. All you need to do is search a website like gogobot, which offers great user-reviews and extensive information on Chicago hotels and restaurants.
Almost as exciting as the skyline are Chicago’s hot dogs and sausages. And one of the best places for such a delight is Hot Doug’s. Hot Doug’s serves more than plump, crackling-hot dogs and sausages; it offers a range of unique items. Also, besides being one of Chicago’s well known destinations, it is affordable and a fun trip for my whole family every time!
Finally, be aware that Chicago is an easy city in which to get lost. Fortunately, it’s also a fun city in which to get lost. Whenever you turn a corner, you’re likely to stumble into something splendid. It might be a fancy restaurant, a one-of-a-kind bookstore, or a historical landmark. In fact, the only painful part about coming to Chicago is knowing that you’ll have to leave at some point!