A first timer's guide to Winter in Chicago:
See some fantastic art: The Art Institute of Chicago has an incredible collection of some of the world's best art, from Monet to modern, there will be something to inspire you. The Museum of Contemporary Art is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year with some thought-provoking pieces, the building itself is also a delight and a great spot for coffee or a bite to eat
Get back to basics with the art of reading and writing: The American Writers museum, new in 2017, was recommended by a fabulous journalist to me and it didn't disappoint. With a focus on the top American writers and pieces of literature, I came away with a full list of authors to enjoy and was energised to continue to enjoy the art of writing myself
Enjoy some striking architecture: Hosting the Chicago Architecture Biennial, the Culture Centre itself is a majestic building and worth a visit even if the Biennial isn't on. What's more if it is, you are in for a treat. This winter's theme 'Making History New' was a brilliant free show looking at innovation and creativity in this field and connecting it to the humanities
Spin your heart out at Soul Cycle: I love the American energy and enthusiasm at the godfather of all spin classes. I managed to go five times and each instructor had their own style but was fun, friendly, an awesome soundtrack and a damn good, feel good workout
Lake Michigan: A stone's throw from the city, this stunning lake offers endless shoreline to run or take a long walk around with striking views of the city scrapers as your backdrop. Too cold for swimming though, head back in the summer to see the water being fully enjoyed from paddle-boarding to sailing and sunbathing
Deep Dish Pizza: Born in Chicago this style of pizza on first appearance looks more like an open top pie with a thick crust and copious layers of tomato, cheese and whatever other toppings you choose. A must try but definitely best shared, with a salad on the side
Italian Cuisine: Home to some fantastic Italian restaurants, il Porcellino, won my heart this trip, for its delicious food, super stylish square shaped bar and old school soundtrack. Book to avoid disappointment and request a booth!
See the sights
Chicago's spectacular skyline: A skyscraper city that offers many opportunities to enjoy the sights from the clouds. Known to locals as the Sears Tower, formerly the tallest building in the world, now surpassed and named the Willis Tower, a tourist spot downtown that allows you to enjoy. The John Hancock Tower (now officially termed 360 Chicago) is on North Michigan Avenue and to my mother's (and my delight) offered stunning views across a frozen Lake Michigan
Layers: Thermals, more thermals, two really good pair of gloves to layer up, warm hat, scarf, a buff.. Uniqlou is great!
Practicalities: Hand and face cream to handle the wind and hand warmers for every day to be safe
Style: Shades and a super big coat with a furry hood to fit in to the stylish city crowd
There is so much more to this incredible city than listed here... the Jazz, the House music, Second City for comedy and to visit in the summer to enjoy all the watersports to name a few.