Last month I went on my first Freebie tour and today I'm going to tell you all about it.
I learned about Chicago Meetup back in May while reading Rachel Bertsche's MWF Seeking BFF: My Year long Search for a New Best Friend. Bertsche mentioned meetup as a wonderful way to meet new people in a city when you know no one.
Meetup defines itself as the world's largest network of local groups.
Here's the concept. After signing up (it's free) you enter a few interests, find meetup groups that seem to match your interests/geographic location, and then pick an activity that sounds entertaining. Meetup's mission is to revitalize local community and help people around the world self organize. So, it's all about getting out of the house/office/place where you spend most of your time and making new friends.
In June I jumped on board with the Windy City Explorers. It was a great tour through Little Italy and University of Illinois of Chicago.
Our guide, Tom Besore, was knowledgeable, approachable and funny.
On the nearly three hour tour we covered several miles on foot. Plus we stopped for treats at Mario's Italian Lemonade (Mario made it clear they do NOT have a website) and Carm's Beef and Italian Ice. If you're curious what the difference is between Italian Ice and Italian Lemonade, even after trying both, I'm not totally sure. I promise you though, they are both tart, refreshing and delicious.
The Windy City Explorers group seems to have an event almost every week. I'm looking forward to attending another one sometime this summer. I should mention that this is a Freebie with an "*". There is a requested $5/year membership due for this group. But, I mean, come on. Five dollars per year for a seemingly endless banquet of Chicago neighborhood tours? That's an amazing value.
Now, you want to hear some good news for you? There are Meetup groups all over the country and all over the world! So, if this sounds like something you'd enjoy, check it out.