The Chicago Series: Sport vs Culture

chicago theatre

The second instalment of The Chicago Series delves into a timeless debate. 

Whilst many cities have failed to grasp the balance between culture and sport, Chicago nails it with the perfect mix of both to get pure social harmony. Like a perfectly formed hot dawg where the ingredients are equally distributed on both sides and there isn’t an overwhelming amount of mustard or not enough ketchup and the onions are just the right level of charred. Ya know that kind of harmony?

Here, let me break it down for you…

You want sports? You got em

The Baseball

There’s one reason why baseball is my absolute favourite sports to watch, and one reason alone. I know the rules. All of them. So when I’m out there yelling at Addison Russell to “slide into third from Tim Aldeman’s ridiculous at-bat”, I know what I’m talking about.

When the World Series was on last year, Simon and I became Cubs fans. Not just regular fans. Die-hard, extreme, completely loyal fans. Each night, we’d watch, with baited breath the Cubs lose, then slowly, but surely slug their way back into the game and along with it, the hearts of many, many Americans. And us.

So it’s been on the bucket list for a little while and Chicago finally allowed me to tick it off.

A day at the baseball consists of beer, hot dogs, Jim Belushi or another famous Chicagoan singing “Take Me out To the Ballgame” to the crowd, and the possibility of catching a foul ball. It’s an absolute must do, just wait for a sunny day. 

A day at Wrigley Frield

The Hockey

For those of you who like me, aren’t uber familiar with hockey. I’m talking about ice hockey but nobody refers to it as ice hockey, because who even plays regular hockey anymore?  You know the one with the grass and the socks etc. So, ice hockey is just hockey. Capish?

Hockey is huge here because the Blackhawks are absolute killers on the ice rink. However, we missed the chance to go because ticket prices were ridic and sadly the Blackhawks lost to Nashville. Quite frankly, I’m a little disappointed because if the players are anything like the Minnesota All Hockey Hair Team, I would have found some sweet hair inspo. 

The Basketball

Two words: Micheal Jordan. Cheers Mick for putting the Bulls on the map all those years ago cos the following is huge to this day. Ok, ok admittedly kids like Jimmy Butler and Dwayne Wade are setting new offence standards, and with Rajon Rondo dominating the defence, so they’re no longer relying on MJ’s good name to keep them afloat.

If I remember anything from my days as an NBA Jam junkie it’s that the trick to a good defence is to swarm the ball, block the shots and strip the offence like crazy, which I believe is their exact strategy these days 😉 

Basketball highlights are the pre and during game entertainment! Gags like the Oblivious Cam (where people don’t know they’re being filmed), Dunkin Donut giveaways and funny skits by the players keep everyone entertained, enthused and Bulls fans for life.

Me, I’m a Magic girl myself so Shaq will always have my heart but damn those Bulls sure know how to S-L-A-M D-U-N-K. That’s basketball slang for a ripper goal btw.

Chicago Bulls

As for the arty stuff…

Art Institute of Chicago

Voted the Number one Museum year in, year out by peeps like Trip Advisor, The Art Institute of Chicago really delivers.

There is art from here to yaya. You’ve got Whistler’s Mom, a bit of Pollock, Warhol and Lichtenstein. Quite a bit of Monet (not as much as MoMa but a decent dollop of water lilies) and Seurat’s delightful Sunday Afternoon on La Grande Jatte. You can spend a day there and still not get through the grand, yet modern museum so wear comfy shoes. 

My personal favourite – An epic collection of medieval and renaissance art and armour at the Saints and Heroes: Art of Medieval and Renaissance Europe exhibition.

Oh and guess what else? On Tuesdays and Thursdays, you get free entry!

Lichtenstein's pop art

Blues Town

Honey, it ain’t called Chicago Blues for nothin. The Windy City really is the birthplace of a more urban, edgy, hardcore sounding blues.

Bars like Kingston Mines, Rosa’s Lounge and B.L.U.E.S have cemented their places as the go-to blues joints in town. And they’ve earned their titles. Expect a lot of grit, soul and straight up jamming with lineups featuring local musicians and underground out-of-town acts that get the crowd going Each.And.Every.Time. 

Then there’s the Chicago Blues Festival. The largest free blues festival in the world and the largest of Chicago’s Music Festivals, making Chicago the bluesiest place in all the land.

Adler Planetarium

America’s first planetarium (founded in 1930) packs a punch when it comes to space shows, scientific visualisations and those bring-you-back-to-when-you-were-a-kid moments.

Think solar eclipse chasing, moon missions and space express tours. It’s cool ok.

Highlights: Once a month, the planetarium hosts an after dark happy hour (read: perfect date night) with full access to exhibits, galleries and (weather permitting) the Doane Observatory. Plus live entertainment and no shortage of Uranus jokes once everyone’s a few vino’s down.

Adler Planetarium

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