Whether you're Team LeBron or Team Giannis, you have to visit Chicago in February to watch the best of the NBA throw down in the House that Jordan Built. Before you see some hoops, get into the right vibe with these spots in Chi-town.
You'll be here to see the best of those playing today, but make sure to check out a bit of sports history first with some of the best players of yesterday. Okay, we admit we're a little biased.
The Chicago Sports Museum, named the Best Sports Museum by the Thrillist in 2018, is not just a place to download some knowledge. It's interactive. The museum gives you the opportunity to check out if you can really jump like Jordan, or see if your hands and wingspans measure up to some classic Bulls players of the past. You can even shoot hoops with Scotty Pippen in virtual reality.
Lastly, no trip to the Chicago Sports Museum would be complete without enjoying the entire wing dedicated to Chicago's copious curses and superstitions that we definitely do not believe in.
Occasionally the museum closes for private events, so make sure to check their event calendar before deciding on which day to visit.
Don't spend all of your money on concessions during the game when Chicago has amazing food to fit any budget or mood.
In the adjacent West Loop area, Green Street Meats stands alone among the trendy restaurants as a place with a truly laid back, comfortable atmosphere to relax in before hitting the game. Their selection of unbeatable BBQ is matched by a very well-stocked bar. Long tables allow you to fit all of your crew in without feeling crowded, and you can grab a beer from one of the sinks to really get into that backyard tailgate feel.
If you're interested in being a bit more active before you sit for a long period of time, grab a drink and try your hand at some ping pong at AceBounce in the Chicago Loop. This might be your one moment to show your friends your sports prowess before you see the All-Stars do their thing.
Should you want a more upscale experience, enjoy a nice cut of meat from the other house that Jordan built: Michael Jordan's Steak House. Found on the Magnificent Mile, Jordan's Steak House serves food done to His Airness's high standards and accompanied by a wine selection that compares to his own personal stock.
Only Chicago would take an old athletic club and turn it into one of the nicest hotels in the Loop. Ensconced in rich woods and leathers, staying at the Chicago Athletic Association is like going back in time.
Originally a club for the elite, the Athletic Association is now open for anyone to stay at and is even worth visiting without a reservation. Overlooking some of Chicago's most picturesque sights in Millennium Park, the Athletic Association is home to Cindy's, voted one of the best rooftop bars in Chicago by Condé Nast Traveler in 2017.
If you plan ahead, you can snag a reservation at the Cherry Circle Room, a James Beard award-winning restaurant, or at the exclusive eight-seat Milk Room, a sharply curated cocktail bar filled with vintage booze and incredibly rare whiskies.
On the day of the game, make sure you get there early to enjoy everything the United Center has to offer. Snag some pictures with the Michael Jordan statue on the east side of the arena, or cruise through some of the updated menus at the concession stands throughout. Keep an eye out in particular for Mad West, which offers quick-serve coffee from local roaster Dark Matter as well as Asian inspired street food, or Chicago staples like Lillie's Q and Honey Butter Fried Chicken.
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