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Nonstop Love: CHICA-GO



Beginning October 13, Dallas Love Field is FREE!  The restrictions of the Wright Amendment will be gone, ushering in nonstop destinations that span from coast to coast.   Southwest has been counting down the years and weeks (literally—we have a billboard at the Love Field entrance and a countdown clock in our Headquarters lobby) until we can say, “Goodbye, Wright Amendment. Hello, America!"   We are excited to begin this new era by serving five new nonstop destinations on October 13, followed by ten additional new nonstop destinations on November 2.  The addition of these 15 new nonstop destinations will bring Southwest to a total of 31 nonstop destinations from Love Field.

In anticipation of this momentous event, each week we will take a look at one of the cities that North Texas Customers will be able to soon visit nonstop on Southwest.  Each post is written by a Southwest Employee who is affiliated with the city and can give an insider’s view of what to see and do while visiting.  Enjoy!chicago

When folks think about Chicago, the likely images that pop into their heads are of blizzards, skyscrapers, and wedges of deep-dish pizza tethered to its pan by long strands of mozzarella.  All true, yes.  But Chicago, my beloved hometown, is much more than those things.  We are a city of neighborhoods, a cultural melting pot, and a place that is as wonderful to visit in chilly 28 degree weather as it is in the balmy, breezy days of Chicago’s all-too-brief summer. I was born and raised in Chicago.  In 1978, I moved to Dallas.  In 1980, I was lucky enough to land a job at Southwest Airlines, which had just started flying outside the borders of the great state of Texas.  My good fortune continued when on St. Patrick’s Day in 1985, Southwest started flying to Chicago’s Midway Airport.  I headed home and have remained here happily ever since.  Although, I have to admit, last winter’s Polar Vortex tested my love like the SATs. In terms of daily departures, Chicago is Southwest’s busiest airport, serving connections to over 60 cities with 270 nonstop departures a day.  Like the variety of travelers filling the airport, Chicago has a huge variety of things to do!  There’s no way to see and do it all, so here are some of my suggestions. Your Chicago to-do list: To Eat:
  • Al’s Beef on Taylor Street:  One must-try food that is uniquely Chicago is the Italian Beef sandwich.  My favorite “beef stand” is Al’s Beef on Taylor Street in Chicago’s Little Italy neighborhood.  It begins with a huge roast of beef that’s cooked with loads of garlic and Italian seasonings.  To serve, the thin slices of meat are rewarmed in the hot ‘gravy’ (the juices collected while the beef cooked).
  • Mario’s Italian Lemonade:  Open only during summer, they have been scooping Italian Lemonade from the little shack on Taylor Street for well over 50 years.  You see, Mario’s isn’t the ‘sip on the porch’ kind of lemonade.  It’s frozen, not too sweet, and comes in a variety of real fruit flavors.  My favorite is watermelon.  If you’re feeling adventurous, try their Lupini Beans.  
To Do:
  • Pilsen:  One of my favorite neighborhoods to visit is Pilsen, the heart of Chicago’s huge Mexican American community.  Take the CTA’s Pink Line to the 18th Street or Damen stop.  From there you can walk a few blocks to the National Museum of Mexican Art (admission is free).  Also, check out Pilsen’s shops and inexpensive, authentic taquerias.
  • Magnificent Mile: This mile strip off of Michigan Avenue is a world renowned shopper’s paradise.  No matter what you’re shopping for, you’ll find a store for it.  From top name brands to small boutiques, the Magnificent Mile has it all, and it would take you days to see everything!
To See:
  • Millennium Park:  This iconic park, home to The Bean, is a must-see for visitors of all ages.  Get out in the Chicago sun during our brief summer or ice skate your heart away during the winter.  In summer, be sure to beat the heat at Crown Fountain—a large screen showing a face spits water at you!
  • Architecture:  If you like architecture, Chicago is one of the best modern cities to visit.  Tour the city’s great features aboard a river boat on the Chicago River.  You absolutely have to see The Willis (Sears) Tower and the John Hancock Building.
My City Secret:
  • Neighborhoods:  Venture out.  Chicago has many different facets, so see a little bit of everything!  Take the beaten paths away from chain restaurants and explore.  Your wallet will thank you…as will your tummy and your soul.