Chicago for Play and Work

Chicago wide near the river 1214 Jamie Vesay WM Dsize IMG_6045 - Version 2

On a recent visit to Chicago, I was relieved to see the city had been rebuilt since the Transformers destroyed it a few years ago. Okay, not true. While that made for a humorous Instagram caption, it is funny to think at least one person on earth believes that movie was real.

In my opinion, Chicago is a Top three Great American City. At the risk of sounding too much like a travel guide, all I’ll say about Chicago is: PLENTY OF THINGS TO SEE, DO, and EAT.

Chicago street 1214 TRD WM Jamie Vesay iPhoto IMG_9609

Chicago bikeshare Jamie Vesay WM2x 1214 iPhoto 3

Chicago watermelon radish 1214 Jamie Vesay WM iPhoto 4






Downtown is walking friendly, public transportation is easy, bike-sharing stations are an option, and the food – is of legend. The people I encountered were friendly and hospitable, and that was mostly around the city. There are wonderful neighborhoods – even close to downtown and a whole other list of places to see in the suburbs.

If you are planning a visit, two recommendations will keep coming up: Don’t visit in winter and be sure to take the architectural boat tour.

Chicago river 0909 Jamie Vesay WM Dsize 100_1273 copy

Regarding the latter: Yes, indeed do the boat ride. The slow roundtrip amidst the mix of old and new architecture, under steel bridges and through the city is fantastic. Of course, since most of these boats operate in the warmer months, you’re probably not doing this in winter. My boat ride was in September (above) and the weather was fairly perfect. Our tour guide was very informative. It felt like he covered it all: from design or period, to history, to who occupies which space, and where certain movies were shot (and many have been shot in Chicago). He was spewing so many factoids, I didn’t want anybody to ask questions, worrying he or I would miss something.

So, in remembering my visit a few years ago being so pleasant in the warm weather, when I received an invitation to attend a wedding in Chicago – in December, I was hesitant. The simple aspect of flying there and back at that time of year would be rolling the travel dice. But we got lucky and the week before winter officially began – the weather was mild. I even spotted a boat tour. Now understand, it was hardly balmy and the wind whipping through the urban canyons was cold, but no snow. The very top photo is from December 2014.

If you’re headed there for film or photography production work, the crew list and talent pool are deep. As the case is with most larger cities, many capable craft people and top-shelf tools exist. Amenities are ubiquitous. Shop around and ask the right questions to acquire the best fits. Illinois is a film incentives State, so things are busy with movie, commercials, and television projects. Chicago set of Chicago Fire 1214 Jamie Vesay WM photo 5At least two TV shows are filming in Chicago. The good news is (if you’re visiting for fun) there’s a good chance you’ll bump into a film crew around the city. The bad news is (if you’re looking for crew) they might already be working on something else.

Chicago bean view TRD Jamie Vesay WM LBLD Dsize IMG_6097 - Version 2Whether work or play, in winter or warmer, Chicago has a great vibe. I like it a lot. If you haven’t been, visit soon, but hurry – before the aliens destroy it again.

Content Copyright Jamie Vesay