Explore Chicago with Presidential style
Newly re-elected US President Barack Obama probably won’t have much time for light-hearted jaunts and jolly capers in the months ahead, but if he did have some spare time we know where he’d spend it.
Although born in Honolulu, Hawaii, Obama made Chicago his home in early adulthood. Before his move to a rather iconic Washington address Obama worked in Chicago, first as a civil rights attorney and then as a teacher of constitutional law. He spent his early married life exploring what the city had to offer and cultivated a few favourite family haunts.
If you fancy feeling like a President for a day (albeit a President free from political backbiting and economic woes) why don’t you check out our shortlist of Obama’s top Chicago destinations.
East Bank Club
If you’ve ever looked at President Obama and thought ‘My, I wonder how he stays in such great shape’ then wonder no more. Obama has been a member of the prominent East Bank Fitness Club for nearly twenty years and he still pops in to flex his Pecs whenever he’s in town. This prestigious centre of fitness and wellbeing opened in 1980 and now has over 10,000 members and 600 employees. The Club hosts a huge array of sporting activities and programmes and even has in-house restaurants, a juice bar and a food shop. Basketball is Obama’s sport of choice so if you pop along and shoot some hoops you might just see him there.
57th Street Book Store
If a member of the Obama family fancies a new book they don’t trot off to their nearest Barnes and Noble and they don’t log in to Amazon. No, the Obama family get their reading material from the 57th Street Book Store, an independent bookseller in Hyde Park which offers members a 10% discount. First Lady Michelle Obama described it as ‘a wonderful place to take a walk to and browse around’ and commented on the impressive ‘variety of titles [and] programmes for kids.’
Obama thinks so much of MacArthur’s Southern cuisine that he mentioned the eatery in his book ‘The Audacity of Hope’. MacArthur’s prides itself on providing the finest soul food and runs a daily menu featuring classics like Salisbury steak, baked catfish and beef short rips. Meals come served up with iconic sides including macaroni cheese, collard greens, yams and coleslaw. And MacArthur’s appeals to Obama’s heart as well as his stomach – the restaurant gives ex-prisoners another chance by supplying them with employment. One world of warning, if you have a hankering for BBQ turkey legs with dressing you may have to fight Obama for them!
Hyde Park Hair Salon and Barber Shop
Obama might not have flaming locks of auburn hair but he still appreciates a good hair cut. The Hyde Park Hair Salon was founded in 1927 and since then has been responsible for the hairstyles of big names including Muhammad Ali, Suge Knight and Spike Lee. The 44th President has been getting his do tamed there for more than fifteen years and his hairdresser even claims that he created the President’s current super-short look for the Democratic Convention in 2004.
Barack and Michelle Obama are renowned for their love of eating out. Although many of their favourite chow-down venues in Chicago are reasonably priced Spiaggia is one of their upmarket special-occasion destinations. The award winning, four-star Italian food and sophisticated setting has led to Obama celebrating not only Valentines Days and Anniversaries at Spiaggia but his historic election to Presidency in 2008 too.
U.S. Cellular Field
The US Cellular Field is a premier sporting venue in Chicago with features like the Comcast Fundamentals area and the Party Deck. As a big fan of baseball such features are clearly appreciated by the President. American Sport often causes as much controversy as Religion and Politics but Obama’s not afraid to let the world know of his love for the Sox and the US Cellular Field Stadium. In one interview the President was quoted as saying; ‘I’m not one of these fair weather fans. You go to Wrigley Field, you have a beer, beautiful people up there. People aren’t watching the game. It’s not serious. White Sox, that’s baseball.’