Taken at Willis Tower in Chicago, Illinois in May 2012

Whoo-oo! I’m back from the Windy City and four days of epic awesome of hanging out and gorging in America’s third largest city.

A few things blew me away so I knew I had to share.

1. People really talk like that

(That link is to the best of a series of terrible YouTube videos of people trying to sound Chicago.)

The Chicago accent is a real thing. And it’s…weird. I kind of felt like I was in an urban version of “Fargo” at times. I mean…what is that voice? How do you talk like that? I usually pick up on accents fairly quickly, and I could not get the nasal flatness of it AT ALL.

Surprising, but cool.

2. Second City

This improv club has probably produced more stars than any other little joint in town. So many amazing people have gotten their start here, it’s a definite must-see for any visitor and more than worth the ticket price.

However the one thing that killed me is the current cast for the review show looks an awful lot like the current cast for “Happy Endings.” Has anyone else noticed this? Anyone?

Photo Courtesy of Life is Suite.

Photo Courtesy of Zap2it.com

*crickets*

Okay. Well, I kind of think they do at least from a corner seat in the back. And they’re both in Chicago so that counts for something, right?

3. Molly’s Cupcakes

Easily the best sweet treat of this trip came from a cupcake cafe very near the Meatloaf Bakery. They had a sprinkle station with build your own cupcakes. In addition were delectable stuffed cupcakes based on other classic desserts like lemon meringue, cookies and cream and candy bars. Plus the baristas knew their way around an espresso machine. And finally there were swings at the bar.

Whimsical sweets that a delicious enough to feel sinful? Yes, please.

(Eep! Even their website is adorable!)

4. The View

You’ve probably heard it so much, you don’t even know why you know it, but Chicago truly has a spectacular skyline. At a certain point on the “L,” I just stopped noticing all the delightful lines of industrial urban growth around me and just squealed (silently) about the coolness of Chi-town. (There was far less silent squealing when I saw the Chicago Tribune building.)

5. The Arts

The Art Institute Chicago is probably one of the most incredible experiences of my life. It is not just a museum. It is breathtaking, awe-inspiring and completely exhausting. Not only is there a large museum proudly displaying some of the most brilliant works of art ever created in the heart of the city, there is incredible art every where. (Admittedly I’m willing to call graffiti art. And it’s beautiful.) There’s music in the streets, cool crafts for sale every where and art dotting the city scape. Absolutely startling.

Chicago, you have changed me, and I can’t wait to go back.

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