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Our Second City

Emily Howald | Monday, November 24, 2003

Four girls wander the streets of the city with only two things on their mind: shopping and nightlife. No, this isn’t Sex in the City. It is four Notre Dame girls who decided to take a little break from the oh-so-exciting South Bend atmosphere, went on a mini-road trip and ended up on Michigan Avenue in Chicago. OK, so it may not exactly be comparable to wandering Fifth Avenue like Carrie Bradshaw, but going to Chicago for a quick little weekend getaway is about as close to life in the big city that Notre Dame students can get during their tenure here. South Bend is not a metropolis. Actually, I would hesitate to call it a city. Although we have some reason to make fun of our little city – like when the most frequented bar in town is suing the students – we must remember that it isn’t all that bad. We are really quite lucky to have such an amazing city only a mere hour away. Chicago has a great nightlife. Even though you may be away from Notre Dame, you are still surrounded by Notre Dame graduates who have relocated and called the Windy City their home. Many bars are heavily populated with Notre Dame alumni who still have fun like they did in South Bend. If you are ever in the city and are in search of friendly faces, I would suggest heading to Johnny O’Hagan’s, as you would be sure to run into a pro-Notre Dame crowd. And as for the shopping -Michigan Avenue is the primary place for upcoming Christmas presents. No offense to the Hammes Bookstore, but I know my family is getting tired of the usual Notre Dame bookstore gifts. Additionally, the entire downtown is lit up with Christmas lights, which gives the city more of a holiday feel than good ‘ole South Bend radiates. If you can make a post-finals trip, I would recommend the new H & M , which sadly replaced the infamous FAO Schwartz, Saks and the little popcorn store that always has a line. Although there is great shopping for everyone, fun in Chicago is not limited to Michigan Avenue. You can walk around at Navy Pier, visit the Shedd Aquarium, the Art Museum or any of the other little treasures that the city boasts. There is theatre, culture and even really good food outside of the typical chain restaurants that line Grape Road. Chicago is an excellent weekend escape for many Notre Dame students who are looking to either get away from South Bend, because we all know how exciting the city can be on non-football weekends, or possibly want to experience a little more culture. And if you really want to step outside the Notre Dame stereotype and are actually “dating” someone, drive to Chicago for a great day or weekend trip, and escape the redundancy of dining hall dinners and local movie theatres. So the next time you are feeling bored or overwhelmed by school work, or just want to have ridiculous big city fun, hop on the South Shore Line or jump in your car and take advantage of this wonderful resource. Our second city is really second to none. As a Notre Dame student, living in the cultural enclave that we call South Bend, try to make Chicago your second city. The tolls are definitely worth it.

Emily Howald recently went to Chicago and had far too much fun at Johnny O’Hagan’s and on Michigan Avenue If anyone is planning to take a trip, or has anything to say to her, contact her at ehowald@nd.edu.