{July 11, 2011}   Sadity in a Different City

I will be in Chicago for the rest of the summer, so I thought it was an excellent opportunity to talk about deals while traveling. In large cities there is so much to do, yet many attractions are really just tourist traps. If you want to live like the locals, find the free stuff. There is a ridiculous amount of free entertainment to experience, that most tourist don’t ever enjoy. You see when many people go on vacation they assume that they will be spending money anyways, so they make no effort to find deals. The logic that most tourist traps rely on is those tourists assume that they can’t get the “real” experience of a city without spending money. The truth is that most locals, will never pay the kind of money tourist spend that’s why the traps are so expensive to make up for that loss in revenue and also why many traps give discounts to locals. So if you must visit a trap, try to have a local you know buy the tickets for you.

Deals of the Day:

1)      I went to an Italian restaurant that was not in any of the tourist books, but was delicious and less expensive. The restaurant’s name was Marcello’s Father and Son Restaurant. Not exactly a mom and pop shop they have three restaurants in the northwestern part of Chicago, but not a nationwide (or even city wide) chain. There is free parking, a rarity in Chicago, but they also do delivery and carry out. There is an onsite bakery that features cheesecake, dessert pizzas, gluten free desserts, and of course cannoli.

My menu consisted of a very large salad with homemade balsamic vinaigrette, garlic shrimp and crab cakes. My total bill was approximately $20. It wasn’t the cheapest meal I have ever had, (I’m not sure anything will beat the beef brisket sandwich meal at Fat Albert’s for $6) yet in Chicago I’ve noticed that beyond pizza (which is not necessarily Italian per se) an Italian meal will cost you a pretty penny. Let’s face it, when you think Chicago you think little Italy and the local business moguls know it.

Best Sandwich Ever! Fat Albert's - $6 Beef Brisket

2)      I also visited the world’s largest public library, the Harold Washington Library, a three story architectural and design dream for anyone interested. If you are not interested in that sort of thing, the library offers free plays, movies and performances weekly. I love it, I love history, I love art, I love books; the Harold Washington Library has it all. They offer guest passes for those wanting to use a computer, free wi-fi for those who brought their own.

3)      Across the street there is a Barne’s and Noble, connected to De Paul University. A great place for those who want to take a break from walking while reading and drinking coffee or who want to explore De Paul.

4)      The Daley Center on Washington offers free musical entertainment M-F in their courtyard. Local businesspeople sit on the city provided seating and eat lunch while enjoying everything from Blues and Jazz, to Latin-inspired, to Hip Hop depending on the day.

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