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Every Thursday, Say Hello To America will be showcasing the voices behind official Twitter accounts of destinations all across the United States and the city they represent. This week, say hello to Yvette Rebik from @ChooseChicago. Yvette called a Northwest Chicago suburb her home for 18 years, took some time to live in Colorado, and has now officially lived in the Windy City since June 2011. Starting as a Receptionist in July 2011, Yvette has held her current position at Choose Chicago since June of last year.
1. What time of the year is best to travel to Chicago?
We offer fun and unique options year-round, but if I had to pick just one, it’d be summer! As a local, I’ve joked that I live here for the Chicago summers. Those four joyous months are packed with food and music festivals, playing at the beaches, sipping drinks on a patio or rooftop, and strolling in the parks. The options seem endless with the warmer weather!
We’re a mix of Midwest hospitality and drive. Everyone works hard but also knows how to have fun. You can ask us for help on the street, and we may invite you out for a drink after!
3. What is your favorite and least favorite thing about Chicago?
Favorite: Our city is packed with talent! Comedy venues like The Second City, music clubs like Buddy Guy’s Legends, and theaters like Steppenwolf showcase some of the best performances you’ll ever see. You can see shows seven nights a week!
Least favorite: We’re a big city, so you can’t fit everything you want to do in just one day. I like to recommend a minimum of 3 days to fully experience Chicago.
Just one?! OK OK…
Navy Pier – home to the giant Ferris wheel, Chicago Children’s Museum, boat cruises, yummy restaurants and more. With so many things to do there, Navy Pier offers something for everyone to enjoy!
5. Name one “secret” location that a traveler must visit.
Sneak away from the north end of The Magnificent Mile and walk to the Lake Shore Drive bike path by Oak Street Beach. You’ll enjoy unique views of the skyline along the lake whether you walk north toward North Avenue Beach or south toward Navy Pier.
6. What is the best/easiest mode of transportation to get around the city?
Public transportation. The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) provides numerous bus and ‘L’ train routes to navigate the city. Day or multi-day passes are available and are a must when getting around Chicago. We’re a pretty walkable city too, but the train and ‘L’ are nice when you need to go a little farther or the weather isn’t in your favor.
7. Is there any festival or event in Chicago that a traveler should specifically plan a trip around?
The annual Chicago Blues Festival! Chicago has deep roots in blues music, and we have plenty of clubs around the city to prove it. It takes place every June (for 2013: June 6-9) in Grant Park and is the largest free blues festival in the world! You can see music acts on five stages along with 500,000 fellow Blues fans.
8. What are the best family-friendly attractions that Chicago has to offer?
Adler Planetarium, American Girl Place, Chicago Children’s Museum, ComedySportz, Emerald City Theatre Company, The Field Museum, Gino’s East, John Hancock Observatory, Lincoln Park Zoo, Millennium Park, Museum of Science and Industry, Navy Pier, Shedd Aquarium, Skydeck Chicago
9. What is Chicago’s signature food that every visitor has to try?
I have to say there are two: Chicago-style hot dog and deep dish pizza. To be sure you order the right thing, I’ve broken down what you need to know…
Hot dog: all-beef frankfurter on a poppy seed bun, yellow mustard, relish, tomatoes, pickle, white onions, sport peppers, celery salt
Pizza: sauce is on the top
Alright – get ready to move!
See our gorgeous skyline at John Hancock Observatory or Skydeck Chicago (if you’re a bit more daring). Play in Millennium Park (home to Cloud Gate – aka “The Bean”). Go on an architectural tour (I’m a big fan of the river cruises). If you’re with kids, eat at a classic pizza place like Gino’s East, Lou Malnati’s, Giordanos or Uno Chicago Grill. If you’re with your significant other, dine in our city’s West Loop neighborhood (now known as Restaurant Row).
Chicago Visitor Information Centers
Chicago Cultural Center – 77 E. Randolph Street – Located in the Loop
Chicago Water Works – 163 E. Pearson Street – Located on the Magnificent Mile