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I thought I knew Chicago quite well, but not until close friend and author Amy Bizzarri had the challenge to come up with “111 Places in Chicago That You Must Not Miss” for her latest book, did I realize that I have some exploring to do. Surprisingly enough, I knew several of them, but with many details that I didn’t know about. This made me want to go out and explore more of the city that I’ve called home for the last 20 years.

As you flip through the pages of the book and read about every place, you definitely feel that Bizzarri has a connection with Chicago and a passion for the details. While some city books generally offer the same old places to check out, “111 Places in Chicago That You Must Not Miss” takes it a step forward, not only inviting you to visit uncommon places like “The Magic Hedge” at Montrose Harbor where more than 300 species of birds have been seen and on special occasions, snowy owls fly over Lake Michigan. For a more whimsical adventure with the kids, venture to Oz Park in the heart of Lincoln Park, where you can spot your favorite characters like Dorothy, Toto, Tin Man, Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion.

The book also shows small, non-official city treasures like the leopard-print house on the north side in the Rogers Park neighborhood or Obama’s barber chair at the Hyde Park Hair Salon he loved on the south side. You can also get a sneak peek of Chicago’s hidden history of places like wood paved alleys in Old Town and the Tribune Tower‘s facade that contains 150 fragments from historical sites around the world.

Without a doubt, the author and photographer have done an amazing job putting together all of these must-go places that you definitely won’t want to miss. This book is a must-have, not only for the tourists but for Chicago residents to expand on what they thought they knew about the city and its new and historic places.

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Henrique Kerch

I’m a Caracas native, living in Chicago. I have a passion for travel, culture, food, adventure and discovering new places off the beaten path. I still remember the first trip I took internationally as a child and the excitement that it was to know that everyone will speak another language. Traveling was cool—waking up early to make the trip to the airport, packing too much and then realizing it’s much better to pack light.

Now a travel writer, I get to see new places continually, check out new restaurants, and talk about my experiences. Just as I’m about to be done with a trip, I see myself at the airport daydreaming while staring at the departure board thinking about my next destination.