Eric M. Ruderman, MD
Professor of Medicine, Associate Chief, Clinical Affairs, Interim Fellowship Program Director, Division of Rheumatology, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Welcome to Chicago. I didn’t grow up here, but after nearly 25 years, it’s home, and I can’t imagine living anywhere else. When you come to Chicago for the ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting, take advantage of all that our city has to offer. Here are a few of my favorite things to do, either on my own, or when family or friends come to town.
- Take a walk. As long as the weather cooperates (and we’ll try to arrange that), Chicago is a wonderfully walkable city. Stroll along the water, our greatest natural asset. Take a walk, or a run, along the lakefront, or take in the sights on the Riverwalk, along the south bank of the Chicago River. If you want to explore farther afield, Divvy bikes are easy to rent, and they’re stationed throughout the city. If shopping is your sport, North Michigan Avenue has the best concentrated shopping in the country; every store you’d ever want has a presence there. It’s not called the Magnificent Mile for nothing! And while you’re at the river, make sure to take an architectural river cruise. Chicago is the birthplace of the skyscraper, and the cruise is a fantastic way to see and learn about our architecture. The city was completely rebuilt after the fire of 1871, and they haven’t stopped building since. Just a short walk north of the convention center is Millennium Park, home of The Bean. It’s a mandatory photo op. If the kids are along, Maggie Daley Park, at the Northeast end of the park, is a child’s climbing paradise.
- Visit a museum. If you’re a museum person, we’ve got you covered. The Art Institute of Chicago is truly world class. You can see Edward Hopper’s “Nighthawks,” Grant Wood’s “American Gothic,” original works by van Gogh, Monet, and Picasso, and my personal favorite, Georges Seurat’s “A Sunday on La Grande Jatte,” the inspiration for the musical “Sunday in the Park with George.” At almost 7 feet by 10 feet, it’s an imposing piece of artwork! If you have a free moment between sessions, the Shedd Aquarium and the Field Museum of Natural History, home of Sue, the T-Rex, are just a short walk from the convention center. If the kids are with you (or you’re a kid at heart), the Museum of Science and Industry is a must-see.
- See live music. We’re the Home of the Blues, and if you don’t believe that, just spend an evening at Buddy Guy’s Legends or Kingston Mines. If you have a chance, step off the beaten path and check out Rosa’s Lounge, a small club that’s one of my favorite places to see both modern and traditional blues. If you’re looking for something other than blues, Jazz Showcase and City Winery are both great small clubs that feature national acts. If your music tastes are more traditional, the Lyric Opera is featuring La bohème and Mozart’s Idomeneo in repertory the week of the meeting.
- Enjoy a great meal. In recent years, Chicago has emerged as one of the great foodie destinations in the country, and some of the world’s finest chefs make their home here. At the high end, there is Grant Achatz’s Next and Tony Mantuone’s Spiaggia (the Obama family’s favorite date spot)—both definitely require advance reservations. Rick Bayless has made a career of exploring the best of Mexican food; Topolobampo and the adjacent, more casual, Frontera Grill are worlds away from Chipotle. Mercat a la Planxa has fantastic tapas adjacent to Millennium Park; you’ll think you’re in Barcelona. You’ll need a ride to get there, but West Randolph Street has become the destination for dining in Chicago. The Girl and the Goat, run by Top Chef winner Stephanie Izard, is great, but a tough reservation to get. Little Goat, her more casual spot across the street is just as fun, and Duck Duck Goat, her take on Chinese food, is one of my favorite restaurants in town. My absolute favorite right now is Monteverde, an inspirational spot for pasta and contemporary Italian. If you don’t have a large group, there are always a few seats at the bar.
Welcome to Chicago! With any luck, you’ll also find some time to attend the meeting. =)