Discover More, Chicago by Chris Hainey

We sent Christopher HaineyDK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Chicago to get his perspective on what it means to use a travel guide in his hometown.

Name:Chris Hainey

Place you live: Chicago, Illinois

Can you sum up Chicago? Chicago is a wonderful place packed full of beautiful architecture, wonderful food and very creative people. It’s easy to get around and there is so much to experience, so it’s a must visit for everyone.

Can you sum up the people of Chicago? Chicago is a wonderful mix of people from all over the country and world, that culminates in a really strong culture that has a much different vibe than you’d find in New York City or Los Angeles.

What was the experience like looking through the DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: ChicagoI found the layout really easy to navigate and it seemed like it would be a very helpful tool for both first-time visitors and veterans of this city.

Did you find anything new or inspiring about your area in the Guidebook? Yeah! So actually I’ve been living in Chicago for 13 years now but I had just recently moved to a neighborhood that I had never been really familiar with, so when I moved in I consulted the book and learned a little about my new area, I even found a cool little coffee shop.

How did the Guidebook influence the photos you went out to take? There are so many buildings that I’ve walked by countless times that are so unassuming on the outside but hold really beautiful and intricate interiors. It was nice to have a few pointers to help find those hidden treasures.

Tell us about the photos you shot for this project? Since there’s so much to see here, I tried to capture a wide range of places and landmarks from all corners of the city. In my time here I’ve also come to really enjoy being able to see and photograph the huge variety of weather that rolls through, so I selected photos from all seasons and different types of weather.

Occupation: Photographer, Designer and Musician

What is a perfect day in Chicago? A perfect day would probably include a long walk and taking a lot of photos, and most certainly would include stops for donuts and/or coffee. Maybe a quick stop over at a museum.

What do you love about Chicago? I’m constantly being surprised by this city. I find new things to love about it all the time. I come across new neighborhoods and places I’ve never been and every little part of Chicago has a personality and culture all its own. I love the weather (even the winters), the food, and the people. There’s really not much to dislike about it.

What do you dislike? Road construction everywhere all the time.

What would be surprising about Chicago to an outsider? I think when people think of Chicago or visit here for the first time, a lot of people make the mistake of only experiencing the downtown area. While there’s a lot of must see things downtown, the diverse neighborhoods around the city are what give Chicago its personality and culture and are of equal importance to visit while you are here. I think tourists will be surprised that there’s way more to do outside of downtown.

If Chicago was a person or character who would they be? The rebel teen protagonist from a John Hughes film.

What was your impression of the DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Chicago? It’s funny because the first thing I noticed was on the back cover – there’s an illustration of a small few block section of the south loop neighborhood, which was the exact little part of town where I lived when I first moved here to Chicago. Even the building I used to live in is part of the illustration. I didn’t know very much about the city before I moved here, so my Chicago experience started here and moved outward from this point.


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Name:Chris Hainey

Best place to eat?

I tend to suggest people try Pequod’s, definitely the best deep dish pizza in the city in my opinion. It’s so good it’s worth enduring the loud atmosphere and near exhausting wait. Admittedly it took me awhile to get into the deep dish thing, but I think if I would have tried it here first I would have been hooked instantly.

Best place to drink?

I’m not much of a drinker so I’m not the authority on this, but I’ve heard that The Violet Hour in Wicker Park is a really cool and chill place to go and meet interesting people.

Best place to shop?

A good place to go would be the Bucktown/Wicker Park neighborhoods on Milwaukee and Damen Avenues. There are a lot of really cool places to check out, all within in a pretty close proximity of each other along with a large amount of great local shops, food, coffee, and donuts in the vicinity.

Best outdoor activity?

Montrose Harbor and the beach is a really cool place to go with a great view of the city, and a good place to walk around and just enjoy being outside. There’s also a wonderful large grassy hill where people go to fly kites. It is really great for photos.

Local tip?

Get a CTA pass and take public transportation as much as you can, it’s a great way to get around and easy to use. Traffic can get pretty bad, so taking the train can save a good amount of time and money and is a great way to see the city from a different perspective.

If someone was visiting what must they do?

The summer is definitely the best time of year to visit Chicago. The winter can be really harsh and everything sort of slows down, so the city comes alive in a really cool way when it thaws out in the summer months. There are so many cool music and food festivals to make a special trip here for. But if you want to go straight to the Chicago staples, pretty much every activity in the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off has always been a great place to start.