We had the chance to enjoy a few days in the Windy City last weekend while visiting old friends. The last two times I'd been to Chicago were far too short for me to get a sense of the town. This time around, though, I really fell in love with the place (in the summer, that is).
Chicago has great shopping and restaurants just like NYC, but it also has gorgeous Lake Michigan just a 20-30 minute drive away. And most importantly, many of the people you meet are actually from Illinois. That's an important distinction.
There's nothing wrong with leaving your hometown and settling in a new city, but there's something special about being in the middle of an urban center full of people who are extremely proud of where they're from. I love that.