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Chicago, one of the most popular cities in America, also known as the Wind City, is a city that offers a lot to everyone that visits. The variety of attractions and entertainment options spans from educational cultural tours to fun activities across the city at various locations, with the most famous being Lollapalooza. Chicago also offers foodies the opportunity to experience some of the best culinary masters in the world with a wide variety of exciting restaurants and food trucks. When you do make your way to Chicago during the summer months, make sure you get tickets to the largest food festival in the world; the Taste of Chicago. But if you are here to explore the most exciting, classy bars in Chicago, you have come to the right place. Chicago also offers any tourist with the best mixologists in the country, and views of the city to boot as well. And for those that are interested in shopping in designer stores and getting the latest fashion, Chicago has it all.
All in all, the great thing about Chicago is that regardless of your passions and interests, you'll always find something exciting in this Midwestern Metropolis. If you are visiting the city and are not very sure how to organize your stay, don't despair! We have put together the ultimate travel guide to make sure that you make the most out of your vacation or day trip.
Let’s get started.
If it is your first time visiting Chicago, you should not miss out on the opportunity to learn about the city's architecture and history behind the buildings that characterize the Wind city. Different cruises will focus on different parts of the city, but either way, you’ll get to learn all about the famous city and more.
For example, on the Chicago River Architecture Cruise, you will learn about the history of the most important landmarks of the city, explained and described by an expert guide. This tour will help you get a great idea of the city and help orientate yourself. Make note of the locations of these iconic landmarks so that you can go and explore them after the cruise.
Insider Tip: Take your time and take in the incredible sights of the city as you cruise on by. Snap some pictures and share it to social media so that you can show it to your friends later on.
Some of the most iconic landmarks of the city, such as Cloud Gate, also referred to as "The Bean '' can be found in this park, which is one of the most popular gathering places for locals and tourists, especially during the summer. The entrance is free and the park includes some public art and interesting initiatives.
For example, there is the largest green roof in the world or the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, which hosts several concerts and shows from spring to autumn.
Millennium Park is actually located in Grant Park which includes other attractions you would need to explore such as the Art Institute of Chicago and the Soldier Field, the playing field of the NFL team Chicago Bears. To explore this immense park is the best way to get a sense of Chicago's culture and energy and to enjoy some fresh air while learning more about the city.
Chicago and its landscape ,full of skyscrapers and other buildings, is simply fascinating, especially when viewed from one of the tallest buildings in the world; The Willis Tower. You'll have the best view of the city from the SkyDeck, which is a glass-paneled balcony that extends out of the facade of the building. You'll be able to admire a breathtaking panorama and feel what it means to be over 1300 feet in the air, with all the buildings below you. You can take some really beautiful photos here and awe at the view spanning across four states and 50 miles out.
However, if you are a little nervous about being so high up in the air, don’t worry as you can still learn all about the building and the surrounding city from an interesting exhibition on the ground floor that focuses on the history and culture of Chicago as well as the history behind the Willis Tower.
Insider tip: If you want to avoid the crowds and have a different view of the city, you can visit the tower at night (it’s open until 8 PM during winter and 10 PM in the summer period). You’d be able to get some really interesting pictures of Chicago at night.
This beautiful building from the Neoclassical Era is worth a visit, even just for admiring the wonderful architecture. Today, after having been home to the Public Library of the city, the building has become the first free cultural center in the USA. Every year, several exhibitions and diverse programs take place here. You might have the possibility to participate in some theatre, dance, movie or art-related events if you feel up to it.
You can also just have a "tour" of the beautiful building, made with valuable and rare material such as imported marble and mother-of-pearl.
Insider tip: Once inside, don’t miss out on the two domes! One is the largest stained-glass dome in the world, and the second one is the largest Renaissance-style dome in the world.
If the weather is not the best outside, spend some time at this beautiful glass structure, home of more than 100,000 plant species. The admission is free and you'll have the opportunity to walk around tropical gardens, or to get a sense of the vegetation of Illinois that was in the area millions of years ago.
Chicago is highly accessible to pedestrians. A great way to explore the city by foot is to walk down the 1.25 miles long Riverwalk, where you'll be able to get a wonderful perspective of the Wrigley Building and some interesting public art. It is also filled with different restaurants and cafes, which make it a great spot for date nights and to get a taste of the culinary side of Chicago.
There are tons of activities to do, places to see and things to see, but the only way to truly experience Chicago is by making a list. Add these tips to your Chicago bucket list and get exploring.
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