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Home town showdown: Obama v Romney
As Barack Obama and Mitt Romney face off at the polling booths, we’ve decided to test them out on one crucial factor: which candidate has the coolest home town? Obama will cast his vote in Chicago – he was senator for the state of Illinois between 2005 and 2008 – while former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney still has his official address in Boston.
It’s a battle of two heavyweights – but which of the two great US cities should get the visitor’s vote? We’ve pitted Chicago and Boston against each other in 10 key categories…
Chicago: The city only really started to boom after a fire in 1871. Chicago achieved notoriety as a gangster hotspot in the 1920s. It has been trying to shake off the association with Al Capone ever since – and historically the city's main impact has been cultural.
Boston: Founded in 1630, the first major city in the US is famous for the Boston Tea Party, which kicked off the American War of Independence. The story of the backlash against British rule – it was really about unfair taxes rather than tea - is told at the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum. Almost all of the city’s top attractions are linked to its past.
Winner: Boston plays its trump card straight away.
Downtown Chicago (left), Boston's historic streets (right)
Chicago: The Great Chicago Fire in 1871 was a blessing in disguise – the rebuild saw Chicago develop the most extraordinary skyline in the world. It’s where the skyscraper was born, and where so many of them now combine to create a city that’s visually stunning at every turn.
Boston: A few downtown buildings reach for the sky, but Boston’s strength is its quaint brownstone houses in the Beacon Hill and Back Bay areas. It’s more cute than wow, however.
Winner: Chicago by a country mile.
Chicago: Forget those deep-dish pizzas – Chicago has a good claim to being the culinary capital of the US at the moment. Heston Blumenthal-style molecular gastronomy is the big thing, with Alinea at the forefront. It’s regularly named as one of the top five restaurants in the world – but others aren’t too far behind.
Boston: Its position on the Atlantic coast means that Boston is a prime spot for seafood. Chowder is a classic dish. The North End is a great place for Italian food – as you quickly discover on an outing with Boston Food Tours.
Winner: Boston’s good, but Chicago’s great.
Chicago: The city has an extraordinary jazz and blues pedigree – some of the best clubs in the country can be found there. It’s also home to the Second City comedy club where the likes of Steve Carell and Tina Fey cut their teeth.
Winner: Chicago – it’s THE place for music and comedy.
Chicago - the view down
Chicago: Beyond the central Loop area, Chicago is a massive sprawl. The El – a network of elevated trains that perform a subway’s function – is probably the coolest urban transport in the world. Otherwise, Chicago is pancake flat – bikes are a good way to get around. Bobby’s Bike Hike offers rentals and themed cycling tours.
Boston: The T is the oldest subway system in the country, but a lot of the time you won’t need it. Boston bills itself as America’s Walking City. Most places of interest are packed close together and strolling around is a key part of what Boston’s about.
Winner: Boston strolls it.
Chicago: The Art Institute of Chicago is huge and full of classics, the Field Museum is arguably the best natural history museum in the world and the Museum of Science and Industry will keep the button-pushers happy.
Winner: Chicago’s museums are a level above.
Chicago: Summers can get hot but for the most part are pleasant. Rainfall is pretty consistent throughout the year, and never monsoon-like. But winters can be bitingly cold.
Boston: The city has four distinct seasons, is not too hot in the summer and – barring the odd heavy snowfall –is not too unbearable in the winter… Boston’s climate is rather British, all told.
Winner: Boston, but not by much.
Cape Cod - good day trip option
Chicago: Many of the best trips out of Chicago are based around Lake Michigan, which acts as the city’s seaside. There are also the breweries and Harley-Davidson plant tours in Milwaukee and the beginning stretches of Route 66.
Boston: There’s the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, the ghost tours and various witch-themed attractions in Salem and the Revolutionary War heritage in Lexington and Concord. But drives into the New England forests and the beach towns of Cape Cod are the biggest winners.
Winner: Boston has more options – Chicago’s strength is the city itself.
Chicago: Many of those stunning Chicago buildings are hotels; great views and contemporary swagger tend to be what it’s about. Some hotels have extraordinary features, though – with the 14th-floor pool of the Intercontinental being spectacularly lavish.
Boston: Boston has a nice variety of places to stay – there are a lot of cute B&Bs as well as the big, flashy chain hotels. The most impressive is the Liberty – a stunningly converted prison. Prices, however, are very high – budget options are hard to come by.
Winner: Depends on what you’re after – but Chicago wins on value.
Chicago: Obama’s haunts in Chicago’s South Side have been turned into a somewhat unofficial tourist trail. These include hairdressers, bookshops and basketball courts. Explore Chicago has a whole host of options for tours of Obama-linked sites.
Boston: Four presidents – John Adams, John Quincy Adams, George HW Bush and John Kennedy – were born in and around Boston. JFK’s presidential library and museum is also there – it’s a fascinating exploration of his life, work and legend.
Winner: Boston thrashes every other American city here…
Overall winner: We hate to say it folks, but it's a tie!
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Who in their right mind would vote for someone who 'wonders why you can't open the windows' on an aircraft?
To be voted in to be the most powerful man in the world with the nuclear button at his 'touch' is really scary, and
not something anyone with any intelligence would want. I really hope Obama gets in again.
i dont care who wins just take the b***dy world out of the credit crunch
and spend sum money in newport south wales uk
The world as I always knew it is already ending.I think we need to become a part of the United States to save us from becoming a little Poland and then sinking to their level where we have to seek jobs elsewhere to survive just as they are doing now coming here.
They will soon have us joining other countries of their belief system such as Italy, Ireland, Portugal and Spain in even more debt than we are in now.