I’ve recently returned from my first visit to America’s “Windy City.” As the third largest city in the nation, Chicago seems to get swept under the rug in conversation by many people just because it’s in the midwest. I have to admit that I, myself, wasn’t expecting to be impressed by this metropolis on a lake, but I was pleasantly blown away.

Outside of the airport, the first thing that hits you is this wonderful, rich sense of history all around this city. Buzzing by on the freeways or trains, you see so many layers of generations of life throughout the buildings and streets. Architecture and design styles from different eras are blended in all parts of the city, creating a wonderful blend of old and new – all surrounded by so much green that I was shocked (to be fair, I visited in the summer and, as my friend who I was visiting constantly reminded me, it’s the best time to visit because everybody is so happy to not be covered with snow for the first time in months).

Never have I been so impressed with the vast expanse of architecture, not only in the city center, but extending out into the sprawling suburbs of the massive Chicagoland area. For a city so old and that’s been through so much turmoil, there’s a fantastic sense of pride, prosperity and future vision in the architecture and city design alone.

This was my first visit, but I hope to return to this concrete jungle of the midwest very soon. Check out my flickr + instagram for a ton more fun photos of this great city.