With its stunning architecture, world-famous museums, lakefront parks and vibrant ethnic neighborhoods, Chicago is a city of world-class status and unsurpassed beauty. It’s no wonder that President-elect Barack and Michelle Obama – and nearly three million others – call Chicago home.
Visitors to the city experience a virtual explosion of cultural activity, civic pride and multicultural expression. Chicago offers a range of attractions which keep tourists coming back again and again. There is no better time to discover Chicago and see what makes this city such a compelling destination.
"Chicago shaped the life and career of our new President-elect," said Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley. "Visitors from around the world have been inspired by Barack Obama, and feel more drawn to Chicago than ever before. We welcome new and returning visitors to explore the city the Obamas love and call home."
Here are some ideas to help visitors discover the Obamas’ Chicago.
Barack Obama is a fitness enthusiast and has enjoyed workouts along the shore of Lake Michigan. Chicago’s 26 miles of lakefront allow residents and tourists alike the opportunity to bike, swim, fish, boat, or walk while enjoying the city’s stunning skyline views.
Visitors should be sure to check out the boats in Monroe Harbor, play in the water at Oak Street Beach, and enjoy the scenery at Promontory Point in Hyde Park along the way. There are plenty of stopping off points to have a picnic, throw a football, or fly a kite.
Chicago is a leading center for fashion and design, home to more than 250 fashion designers and 400 independently owned retail boutiques. The city is also an international shopping capital, with a vibrant retail scene that caters to the needs of every shopper, including major department stores, chic designer boutiques and unique ethnic stores. Michelle Obama is a fan of the Chicago-based designer Mario Pinto. Pinto’s boutique in the West Loop sells her elegant women’s accessories and ready-to-wear line.
Chicago is a world-class dining destination, featuring more than 7,000 restaurants serving cuisines to suit every taste. While building on its cutting-edge culinary reputation, the city continues to honor local traditions such as deep dish pizza and Chicago-style hot dogs. Chicago's rich food history, paired with the visions of its emerging chefs and restauranteurs, make Chicago a food-lover's paradise.
As reported in the Wall Street Journal, the Obamas enjoy dining together at Rick Bayless' award-winning Mexican restaurant Topolobampo, while the First Lady-elect frequents the West Loop's stylish Sepia. Spiaggia is a regular date night destination for its 4-star Italian cuisine and breathtaking views of Lake Michigan.
For a casual meal that's easy on the wallet, the Obamas enjoy comfort food at R.J. Grunts in Lincoln Park and MacArthur's, the soul food mainstay Obama names as a favorite in "The Audacity of Hope".