Summer in The Second City

View of Jay Pritzker Pavilion and Maggie Daley Playground at Millennium Park

Frank Sinatra and I call it My Kind of Town, Robert Johnson knew it as Sweet Home Chicago and I hear Kanye West refers to it as Chi-city. Whatever you call Chicago, in my view it is chic –exciting nightspots and sophisticated restaurants are in abundance — and Chicago is family friendly, too.

Families will enjoy the attractive architecture, Lake Michigan beaches, Lincoln Park Zoo and the new Maggie Daley Playground at Millennium Park. All are free (!) for everyone to enjoy, and every day.

I recommend staying in the Gold Coast neighborhood so you can walk to the best shopping, the beaches, Old Town and Lincoln Park. I usually stay at Public, a hotel located in what was once the Ambassador East, at the corner of Goethe Street and North State Parkway. Public has 285 rooms and is situated in a quiet, residential neighborhood that makes returning feel like going home. Each room is decorated in shades of white, with a large flat-screen television, comfortable furniture and good water pressure (according to my husband, this is a plus). Conveniently, there is a chic restaurant, lounge and bar in the lobby.

Also known as The Second City, Chicago is the third most populous city in the United States behind New York and Los Angeles. There are some 2.7 million residents, and over 50 million visitors each year. The streets are laid out in a street-grid pattern, making it easy to navigate. All one has to remember is that the lake is east, and each block west from the lake is 100.

Chicago is just 3.5 hours from San Francisco by plane, in the gorgeous Midwest, Great Lakes Region. Dare me to say it? Chicagoland is just as pretty as San Francisco.