Student encourages connection with the city

One of the most beautiful cities in the world is right at our fingertips. Chicago: the city that people will travel to from all parts of the world just to catch a glimpse.

Chicago has thrilling sporting events, extensive and engaging museums, lush green parks and a beautiful skyline right along the shore of Lake Michigan. It doesn’t take very long to come up with a reason to visit the city, so why don’t more people take advantage of it? Students and faculty should be making full use of the closeness that we have to this wonderful city.

The many museums Chicago has to offer are a major attraction for tourists, but should really be of special interest to students who live close enough to visit them regularly. The Field Museum, known for Sue, the iconic dinosaur that guards the entrance of the building, is filled with history from all over the world. Though history majors may enjoy this museum the most, any person who gets joy out of learning something new can spend a whole day here alone.

The Shedd Aquarium, from the shark exhibit to the beluga whales and all the fish in between, allows you to discover a whole world you’ve never experienced, just under the water. This is where the marine biologists on campus should head. The Planetarium with its dome and stargazing tools, is another amazing way to see other worlds and explore the universe. This place rightly attracts astronomy and science majors. Here are three major museums all within easy walking distance of each other.

If you’re into sports, try checking out Chicago for athletics and entertainment -- though Jay Cutler’s comedic throwing of interceptions can make a Bears fan reconsider being a fan of the sport at all. Just imagine the nail biting experience of watching the Blackhawks score the final goal to win the Stanley Cup, or the hope instilled in Cubs fans and “Back to the Future” fans alike that the unlikely team will finally fulfill the prophecy the this is “their year.” Even the sad state of the White Sox can be overcome by enjoying all of the fun things to do at U.S. Cellular Field while watching the team lose.

Even if you’re a college kid who doesn’t typically enjoy learning anything or watching sports -- though this leads me to question how you get through college at all -- there is still no reason why you can’t find something to do downtown. The lush city parks, interesting architecture and breathtaking skylines are for you. Millennium Park with its widely known sculpture shaped like a bean, called “Cloud Gate,” is located near the center of the park. The BP bridge in Millennium Park is now connected to Maggie Dailey Park, the most recent of the Chicago parks that has just been opened up this summer. This new park has a variety of things to do for all ages, whether it's sliding down the giant slides or mini golfing. After a long day of exploring Chicago, the only thing left to do is take a walk along the lake while watching the sunset and seeing the beautiful city come alive at night.

Now this is the point where you say: “Sounds great, just one problem. How do I get there?” It is actually quite easy to get to Chicago; I have been going almost every weekend of my college career so far. As long as you have your student ID, you can get on the V-Line. The Orange V-Line takes you to South Shore train station. From there, it’s only $8 to ride the train into the city, which saves money on gas. So next time when you’re wondering what to do on a Saturday or Sunday, consider how close we are to one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

The views expressed are those of the writer and not necessarily those of The Torch. Contact Sydney McKee at

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