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Six things to do while you're in Chicago for ASPR18

The countdown has officially begun! By the end of this week many of you will be on your way to the most anticipated event of the year – at least for us it is. The Association of Staff Physician Recruiters annual conference in Chicago kicks off this weekend. We can’t wait!

There will be plenty to keep your attention even if you never wander beyond the conference hotel, but we hope you’ll try to experience a little of what the windy city has to offer. Last week we updated you on the special events and giveaways PracticeLink has planned for you at the conference. This week we offer some tips on how to make the most of your time in the city. Here are our recommendations:

Eat Deep Dish Pizza

The trademark cuisine of Chicago is undoubtedly pizza, but not just any pizza, deep dish pizza. In the late 1800s and early 1900s Chicago became home to a wave of Neapolitan immigrants seeking work, and they brought with them their beloved pizza. The American play on the traditional flat bread pie traces its roots specifically to 1943 when it was developed by the owners of Pizzeria Uno. Yep, that’s the same restaurant that now boasts a franchise of 200.

If you want to experience deep dish pizza at the site of its original conception, the very first Pizzeria Uno is less than a mile away from the Sheraton Grand Chicago. Of course, competition has gotten steep since the 40s. Here’s a good resource to find some of the other best deep dish pizzas in Chicago.

Shop the Magnificent Mile

Chicago’s famed Magnificent Mile is your destination for shopping, museums, and grand architecture. You’ll find high end department stores like Saks Fifth Avenue and popular boutiques like Tory Burch and Chanel.

If historic grandeur is more your style, look for the Medinah Temple. The 106-year-old building was originally the auditorium of the Medinah Shriner’s Club and later home to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Today it’s the location of the largest Bloomingdale’s Home Store. If not for the beautiful architecture or the shopping, the women’s restroom on the second floor may pique your interest. (Sorry, guys!) It boasts the title of most beautiful bathroom in Chicago.

SPiN Club Event

We wanted to make sure you scheduled time to experience the city. That’s why we are hosting an evening event at SPiN Chicago, a ping pong social club. Chicago’s night life is anything but boring, and SpiN is case in point. If you do nothing else outside the walls of the conference, we hope you’ll join us for this little slice of Chicago fun.

SPiN Chicago is an “energetic, sprawling hangout featuring lots of ping-pong tables, plus global food, cocktails and DJs.” We’ll have a section of the venue all to ourselves, and professional players will mingle with guests, showing off their skills. We’re not 100% what such a display entails, but we are sure it shouldn’t be missed. There’s still time to RSVP if you haven’t already.

Blues and Jazz

In the early 1900s, around the same time Chicago was experiencing an influx of Italian immigrants, a historic American migration was occurring. Six million African Americans fled the South for work in the growing industries of the North. It would become known as the Great Migration, and out of it the distinctly American musical genres of blues and jazz evolved. Of course, the music was born much earlier, in southern fields, but when it moved to Chicago the old rhythm branched into something a little different. Chicago blues and jazz, different but parallel traditions, are electric and upbeat with a high-swinging flair. (Well, the jazz swings; the blues grind.)

At any rate, we recommend you steep yourself in the most American of all musical traditions: blues and jazz, the grandparents of country, rock and pop.

Visit the Art Institute of Chicago

Some of the most iconic works of art call Chicago home. A trip to the Art Institute of Chicago will afford you the opportunity to see Grant Wood’s American Gothic, Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks, or Pablo Picasso’s The Old Guitarist. We could go on! You’ll also discover original works by Cezanne, van Gogh, Toulouse-Lautrec, Monet.

Founded in 1879, the museum is one of the oldest in the country. And, lucky for you, it’s only 1.4 miles from the hotel. So, grab an Uber and feast your eyes at the Art Institute of Chicago. Here’s an easy to follow Visitor’s Guide to the Art Institute of Chicago.

Visit Millennium Park

If the weather cooperates, an outdoor excursion might be just what you need after long days of sitting and listening. Millennium Park, one of the newer additions to the Chicago scene having opened to the public in 2004, will offer you the opportunity to wander the grounds taking in stunning architecture and sculptures. In fact, the park is considered the top tourist destination in the Midwest and among the top 10 destination in the country.

Among the park’s many highlights, you’ll find the Jay Pritzker Pavilion; Cloud Gate, a well-known sculpture by Sir Anish Kapoor; the Crown Fountain, an interactive sculpture that displays videos, and the Lurie Garden.

No matter which direction you wander during your short stay in Chicago, we hope you’ll make time to stop by our booth #308 and say hello.

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