Welcome to the city of Chicago, Illinois! It’s known by many names: the Windy City, “my kind of town”, the City of Big Shoulders... but my favorite name for Chicago is “sweet home”!

City Introduction

I was born and raised in the heart of the city, in the near south side neighborhood of Bridgeport, which is famous for its working class immigrant roots. Bridgeport is home of the (in?)famous 11th ward, sprouting such beloved leaders as the Mayors Daley. Bridgeport is also home to the best baseball team in the land, the Chicago White Sox!

The Bridgeport neighborhood of Chicago   A view of Bridgeport


Chicago is famous for its deep dish pizza. People will argue about whose is best, but I have the answer:

Giordano's Pizzeria   The best deep dish in Chicago

For egg lemon soup, roast lamb, spanakopita and saganaki (fried cheese en flambé), head to Greektown, on North Halsted. For years, Rodity’s has been my favorite choice out of dozens of restaurants.

Rodity's in Greektown

Closer to my side of town is the neighborhood of Pilsen, which has the best Mexican food north of the border. Nuevo Leon has been a longtime favorite of mine. (FYI, it’s BYOB):

Nuevo Leon Mexican restaurant

If you’re in Little Italy (Taylor Street and Halsted), you can’t pass up an Italian Beef sandwich from Al’s Beef. It was even featured on an episode of Man vs. Food on the Food Network!

Al's #1 Italian Beef

Directly across the street from Al’s, if it’s between May and September you can get an Italian Ice at the incomparable Mario’s Italian Lemonade stand. It’s been a Chicago summertime fixture since 1954. Yes, the line is always that long when it’s hot out, but don’t worry, it moves really fast!

Mario's Italian Lemonade stand   Italian ice


Walk Millennium Park, Magnificent Mile, State Street, Navy Pier, and enjoy Chicago’s magnificent architecture.




Visit the dolphins at Shedd Aquarium, check out the 727 jet at the Museum of Science and Industry, visit Sue the Tyrannosaurus Rex at the Field Museum of Natural History, and visit Seurat’s Un dimanche après-midi à l'Île de la Grande Jatte at the Art Institute...




If you are a music and theater aficionado, Chicago has plenty for you to see and do. Chicago is home to the world-famous Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Second City Theater, the Chicago Lyric Opera, and the Art Institute of Chicago. I would like to put in a special plug for the Chicago Children’s Choir, which was founded in 1956 with the mission to embrace cultural understanding and diversity through music. They are now one of the most sought-after choral groups in the world. I am proud to have sung with the CCC from 1994-2002.

Mateja with the Chicago Children's Choir


Chicago is home to some of the most famous sports teams in the world. See the White Sox, Bulls, Bears, and our 2013 Stanley Cup-winning hockey team in action! I also grudgingly acknowledge our other baseball team...

The White Sox, Chicago's AL baseball team   The Bulls, Chicago's basketball team   The Bears, Chicago's football team   The Cubs, Chicago's NL baseball team