Sunday, December 7, 2008

LMJ's Cheese-A-Rific Newcomer's Guide to the Windy City

So, two of my favorites from the Miami and MAS scene are en route to Chicago for their next QA adventure. Seeing as I have been here exactly one day less than one month, I am hardly an expert on the city and really not qualified to pass along any kind of wisdom or insider insight whatsoever. However, I am really good at being new, somewhat awkward and touristy, and finding my way around (slowly). Seeing as both A and J keep asking me for all kinds of advice, here is a little list of items I find helpful and/or awesome thus far.

1. The Chicago Plus Card. Get one, and buy it online now. I cannot reinforce this enough. They take a week or so to deliver, during which time you will need them at least 5 times. Save your cash for the bar, and learn enough about CTA to get to work, your friends' places, the bars, wherever. Figure out the rest later.

2. The city is a grid. The lake is east. I actually figured all this out, meaning you can, too. Anyone who has ever gone anywhere with me, ever, knows that I have no idea where I am. But remembering the grid thing and that the lake is east, I have actually only gotten quasi-lost like 2 or 3 times. For realsies.

3. Do the touristy stuff. Go ice skating at Millenium Park, check out the shiny bean, go to the Sears Tower, Wrigley Field, the Magnificent Mile, Navy Pier, the Lincoln Park Zoo, museums, take the riverboat architecture tour, all that jazz. For the love of God, get a hot chocolate at the Hershey store. Tourists like this stuff because it is actually pretty cool, and it defines Chicago, to some extent. Take a weekend and get it out of your system. Take some pictures while you're there.

4. Do the other stuff. Check out the neighborhoods, wander around, find new restaurants, shops, and dive bars. In my opinion, the artsy neighborhoods and the hole-in-the wall establishments are where the real Chicago can be found. I am just getting started on this one. You can come with me. There will be drinks.

5. Network with the ad people. So, so many avenues for this. Do not, repeat, do not take for granted. You are both going to super cool agencies. Take advantage. Go to agency events. Meet people. Learn stuff. I am working on this one as well.

This is more or less all I have thus far. I will letcha know if I come up with any other winners. And, welcome to Chicago!

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