The sweet home of golf, baseball, and the blues
The storied Western Open may be history, but Chicago remains one of America's premier golf cities, one that the Tour will still visit (every other year, anyway) for the BMW Championship. There are scores of courses in the greater metro area, including some of the finest private (Medinah, Chicago Golf Club) and public (Cog Hill, the Glen Club) facilities in the U.S. And golf aside, the city is thriving, its rich cultural traditions finding new outlets in revitalized neighborhoods. Nobody even sings the blues over Chicago's baseball fortunes: The Cubs may be woeful, but at least until October the White Sox remain World Series champs.
PLAYING Chicago has one of the finest collections of public courses of any big city in America. Start with seventy-two-hole Cog Hill Golf & Country Club (866-264-4455, coghillgolf.com) on the outskirts of town; its Dubsdread course hosted the Western Open. Harborside International Golf Center (312-782-7837, harborsidegolf.com) is a linksy oasis in an industrial section of the South Side. Also make a trip to Studio B (708-802-7400, bettinardi.com), a state-of-the-art putter-fitting center in suburban Tinley Park where Bob Bettinardi will build a custom blade for you.
STAYING Book a room at the tony Peninsula Chicago (866-288-8889, chicago.peninsula.com; rooms from $440) along North Michigan Avenue. Its fitness center and spa offers panoramic views.
DINING Gibson's Steakhouse (312-266-8999, $$$$) at Bellevue and Rush streets keeps the city's slaughterhouse roots alive. Try the Chicago Cut, a bone-in rib eye.
The second oldest ballyard in the big leagues (after Fenway Park), Wrigley Field is deservedly considered a shrine. See a day game if you can, and don't despair if there's a sellout—standing-room-only tickets are often still available. The Art Institute of Chicago has one of the world's best collections of Impressionist paintings. For a taste of the blues, hit Buddy Guy's Legends.