David Eide – Opinion Columnist
I’ll just come right and out and say it, Chicago is one of my all-time favorite cities. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that it’s my favorite city overall. I was recently in Chicago for a Model United Nations conference, and it only reinforced my love for the windy city. So, without further ado, here is why I think Chicago is the best city in the world and why you should think that as well.
First things first, before we get into the cityscape itself, I think it’s important to establish the fact that Chicago has some of the best symbols out of any of the cities in the United States. Chicago has one of the best flags of any city in the US, better even than 90 percent of the states. It is simple yet distinctive, the red and light blue creating a delightful contrast that sticks with the viewers long after they stop looking at the flag. Furthermore, the symbolism of the flag is incredibly meaningful, with each of the four stars representing a major event from the city’s history such as the great fire of 1871 or the Columbian exposition of 1893. Compare this to the flag of New York City which is simply a derivative of the flag of the Netherlands with the NYC city seal stamped onto it. I think it’s plain to see which flag is the superior design.
The greatness of Chicago’s flag provides a good representation of the greatness of the rest of the city. One aspect of the city’s greatness that will be immediately noticed upon arrival is the skyline. There is a vast diversity of skyscraper design within Chicago, from the towering monoliths of the 1970s and the 1980s to the more post-modern skyscrapers of the 1990s and early 2000s to the oddly shaped glass structures of our modern times. One of note is the Sears Tower, technically named the Willis Tower, but no one calls it that, the tallest building in Chicago and perhaps the most well-known skyscraper in America behind the Empire State Building. Of course, the greatness of Chicago’s skyline makes sense, considering it is the birthplace of the skyscraper in the first place.
While the beautiful skyline is all well and good, I think that the culture of Chicago is what truly makes it my favorite city. Chicago is without a doubt one of the most diverse cities in the United States and probably the world as well, containing multitudes of different ethnic groups and cultures. From Irish Americans who brought the tradition of dyeing the Chicago River for St Patrick’s Day, Mexican Americans bringing the tradition of celebrating Cinco de Mayo, Polish Americans bringing their distinct form of theatre, and African Americans fleeing racial violence in the south bringing a rich cultural heritage that ended up sparking a renaissance rivaling that of Harlem’s. In this sense, Chicago is like dozens of different cities all woven into one massive tapestry. Many cities are diverse, but Chicago has a special atmosphere to its multiculturalism that I really appreciated on my first and subsequent visits. The traditions brought to Chicago and their various interactions and combinations have given us some of America’s most famous cultural products, Jazz, the Blues, and Deep-Dish Pizza.
Chicago also plays host to several of my all-time favorite locations. There is Millennium Park with its famous Bean sculpture that has become synonymous with Chicago itself. I can still recall my excitement the first time I saw the bean. It might not seem very impressive based on photos but the actual impression you get when you see it reflecting the sky and the ground with its unique curvature is just awe-inspiring. There is also the Chicago History Museum located in Lincoln Park, which is one of the best history museums I have ever had the pleasure of visiting. I would say that it’s the closest a normal museum has come to capturing the magic feeling I got at the Smithsonian Museums, it really is that good in my opinion.
I’ve only listed a few of my reasons for loving Chicago but If I had to boil down what I love about Chicago into a short statement it would be: from its skyline to its culture, Chicago is the epitome of everything great about American cities. I love Chicago, and I love it more with every visit I make to it, and I could foresee myself eventually living and making my career there.