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Things to do in Chicago

Scene Staff Report | Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Art Institute has the largest collection of French impressionist paintings in the world. The exhibit itself is worth a trip to Chicago. The museum is beautifully built and the permanent collections, from medieval armor to the Thorne miniature rooms, could keep an art fan busy all day. One of the newer exhibits features photography and film from New York in the 1920s and 1950s – think Paul Strand and Weegee. The museum is on Michigan Avenue, just a few blocks from Soldier Field.

Cafe Descartes is a philosophy major/hipster’s dream. The coffee house’s motto – “I drink, therefore I am” – is enough to verify that. Paintings of famous thinkers hang in the cozy, Russian-tea-house-inspired seating area that overlooks Michigan Avenue. The cafe serves delicious concoctions, such as the Turtle Mocha and Oatmeal Latte, and mouthwatering oversized pastries. It’s located right past the Loop and will be open until 10 p.m. Saturday.

Millenium Park will have everyone going Instagram-happy with all the fantastically unoriginal photo-ops it offers. Make funny faces and take hilarious mirror pictures at The Bean. Go get your picture taken beneath Marilyn Monroe’s giant billowing skirt at Pioneer Court. Pose overlooking Lake Michigan or at the Buckingham Fountain. Don’t even worry about looking like a tourist. Everyone will be doing it.

Chicago is known for its deep-dish pizza, and Gino’s East is one of the best. Regularly featured on “best of” lists of both Chicago eateries and national pizzerias, this restaurant was founded in 1966 by two taxi drivers, along with a friend, who were tired of braving rush hour traffic. Still in its original location just off Michigan Avenue (along with a few newer locations around the city), the pizza kitchen hand makes all of its pies. Be sure to bring friends, because these pizzas are meant to be shared.

There’s football too, you know. Hopefully you were one of the lucky 288 students who managed to win tickets, but if not there’s lots of options to watch the game with other ND fans. Check out the outdoor patio at Citizen Bar. There, you’ll surely find fellow Domers cheering on the Irish, especially considering the bar’s Saturday drink and food specials revolve around Notre Dame football.