Five Things I Love about Chicago

Chicago is my kind of town, and it could be yours too. Here’s why:

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Bondi Beauty Founder Renae Leith-Manos in Chicago this week.

When I competed for Australia in the world triathlon championships in Chicago last week, I didn’t expect to fall in love with Chicago.

Here are the 5 main reasons this town rocks:

The running and cycling tracks: The city sits next to Lake Michigan, a huge body of water which feels to us Aussies like an ocean. And it is super pretty. At some stage someone with town planning nouse designed cycling and jogging tracks around it, making it a stunning place to keep fit. There are plenty of bike hire places too, so it is all very easy.

The people: Unlike some parts of the US, everyone here says hello, and connects with other people. It was astonishing how friendly, kind and connected these people are, and it is not just the ones in jobs looking for tips. Whether ordering food, asking for directions or stepping into an elevator, everyone has time to say hello and see how you are doing.

Chicago is stunning from every angle.

Coffee: America has long had a reputation as the country with bad coffee. In Chicago, coffee company  Intelligensia has changed all that. They know and get coffee. It is a fab place to drink coffee, just be prepared to line up.

The grid like design of the city : Chicago is easy to get around for the novice, as it was planned properly and is built on a grid system. Easy and makes sense. The architecture is an added bonus – the buildings, monuments and even suburban areas are architectural delights. Try the architectural river cruise for confirmation.

The restaurants: Whether you are after a full five star experience or a quick glass of wine, this town has it all, and it is all good. A quick flick of any restaurant guide and you will see you are spoilt for choice. From the stunningly upmarket lunch spot at Ralph Lauren to roof top bars and jammed wine bars, be sure to book ahead, but even if you don’t, you would have to be unlucky not to have a fabulous experience.

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Renae Leith-Manos

Editor and Founder of Bondi Beauty

Renae Leith-Manos loves fitness, new beauty products, long chats and long flights. She is at her best when traveling the world writing about luxury hotels and Michelin Star restaurants ( She has had a colourful media career as a journalist inmagazines and newspapers, in Australia and Asia. She spends her time writing, cooking, consulting to new businesses, running and working out.

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