Chicago, Illinois is one of America’s iconic cities and attracts just over 46 million visitors each year. This Midwest metropolis is the third largest city in the US and holds a wealth of attractions and activities whichever season you decide to visit in.
Chicago dates back to the early 1800s and has built itself into one of the world’s most vibrant and beautiful cities. It’s in Chicago that you will find the world’s first skyscraper as well as the first Ferris wheel and it’s also here that you will find the starting point to the iconic Route 66. This is a city that is home to more than 5,500 restaurants, over 200 theatres and almost 200 art galleries. Visitors can choose from over 700 Chicago hotels, so to start planning your trip to the ‘Windy City’, read on for some tips on what to see and where to go.
Chicago’s great outdoors
Outdoor activity lovers are well catered for in this city and Chicago boast over 26 miles of lakefront areas, over 500 parks and 19 miles of cycling paths. Millennium Park is one of Chicago’s biggest landmarks, providing 25 acres of beautifully landscaped greenery near the Lake Michigan shoreline. Attractions in this park include the 2.5 acre Lurie Garden and the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink, which is open during the winter months. Sports lovers can also enjoy tennis, volleyball, cycling and skating at Grant Park, which encompasses Millennium Park.
Check out the art
Head down to the Art Institute of Chicago on Michigan Avenue to view the treasures held in America’s second largest art museum. You’ll need at least three hours to view the artworks on show here, as well as the beautiful sculpture garden that offers amazing city views. Alternatively you can visit the Museum of Contemporary Art, which is one of the world’s largest art museums located on East Chicago Avenue. Dating back to 1967, this museum has held major exhibitions from artists including Frida Kahlo, Jeff Koons and Andy Warhol, amongst others.
Explore Navy Pier
Chicago’s famous Navy Pier offers 50 acres of museums, restaurants, boat cruises and funfair attractions. Navy Pier is home to the Chicago Children’s Museum, the famous, permanent 150-foot Ferris wheel and an original 1920s musical carousel. You can take a boat tour on Lake Michigan, stop off for a drink and enjoy some live music at the Landshark Beer Garden or indulge in some retail therapy at the many gift and clothing stores. If you are visiting during the winter months, make sure to view the amazing ice sculptures at the Snow Days Chicago Festival.
Whether you decide to take one of the many official tours or simply make your way around the city on foot there is an abundance of sightseeing opportunities in Chicago. Make sure to take the 40 second elevator ride to the 94th floor observatory of the 1,127 meter tall John Hancock centre, for panoramic views of the city from the open air skywalk. A sightseeing cruise through the city on the Chicago River is a must for first time visitors and photographic opportunities can be had at the amazing Buckingham Fountain. Don’t forget to check out the famous Magnificent Mile, which is one of the best shopping areas in the world.