I’m in the best city in the Midwest, best city in the whole wide wide world

This past weekend, I took a short, semi-impulsive trip to two of my favorite cities with some of my favorite people. Until recent years, I never considered the Midwest a particularly ideal or charming vacation destination. Thankfully, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by multiple Midwestern cities I’ve visited and have found myself returning to these chilly locales over and over again. Here’s a quick recap of my wonderful weekend characterized by scarves, flowing beer and life-long friends.

CHICAGO

I’ve only been to Chicago a few times and unfortunately, I haven’t had the chance to explore the city as thoroughly as I’d like to. During this particular jaunt, my best friend and I took a charming tour along the Chicago River that details the history behind the city’s remarkable buildings. The skyline is a sight to behold, especially viewed from afar. We lucked out with the forecast too – clear blue skies and chilly, but by no means intolerable weather. I suppose I brought the warmth up with me from Texas. You’re welcome, jerks.

Though I’m not a Chicago native and far from an expert on the city, I thought I’d share some of my favorite music inspired by Chi-town, some created by Chicago-based artists.

Lupe Fiasco: Go Go Gadget Flow – One of my favorite speed raps about the best city in the Midwest (best city in the whole wide wide world)

Ryan Adams: Dear Chicago – Such beautiful lyrics. Makes me miss the city and makes me want to go back.

Gorillaz: Shy-Town

Sufjan Stevens: The Seer’s Tower

MADISON

I keep a special place in my heart for Madison, Wisconsin. Upon my first visit to the state in 2009, I never imagined that Madison would eventually make its way into my top 10 list of U.S. cities. I might be biased because that place represents a very significant part of my life that resulted in wonderful memories and amazing friendships, but even from an objective lens, I’d still argue that Madison is pretty great. In fact, it’s a lot like Austin in some aspects – thriving campus town in a Capital city that’s a great place for young people to live. Just a lot colder.

This time around, I attended my first Big 10 game and it was quite a culture shock from what I’m used to in Texas. The school’s traditions are so much fun and you could safely assume that their tailgating scene is characterized by beers, cheese and bratwurst – all delicious things. The night life in Madison is awesome too – I’ve had many a late night along State St. and a fair amount of war stories in that city. I’m not sure if I could live in the Midwest – I don’t think the cold is an element I could ever get used to, but I’m definitely still a fan. Maybe I’ll convert one of these days.

Until then, have a great Thanksgiving. I’m so thankful that I have such a fun, loyal group of friends. What are you thankful for?

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