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This urban playground offers big city views and world-class attractions


Above the turquoise waters of Lake Michigan rises a skyline of steel where dazzling skyscrapers reach dizzying heights. The city of Chicago makes its mark before visitors even begin exploring this vibrant city.

Since the 1800s, Chicago has been attracting people to the northwest corner of Illinois. After the Great Chicago Fire destroyed many of the downtown buildings in 1871, the town was rebuilt. Out of the ashes grew the world’s first skyscraper. Chicago continued to build skyward throughout the next decade, ultimately gaining the achievement of having one of the tallest skyscrapers in the world when the Sears Tower (now known as the Willis Tower) was erected in 1973 (today, New York’s Freedom Tower holds the crown of tallest building in North America). Today’s visitors enjoy heading to the Skydeck to get a bird’s-eye view of the massive city below and several states in the distance.

City in a Garden


Chicago is home to many beloved city parks, living up to the town’s motto, “City in a Garden.” As early as the 1860s, city leaders recognized the importance of green spaces as a way to encourage public health and they set aside land to develop them. Lincoln Park offers a popular spot to stroll, along with a free zoo. Grant Park’s Buckingham Fountain is an iconic attraction with graceful, arching waters.

Nearby, trendy Millennium Park is home to Cloud Gate (also known as the Bean), where visitors can snap a photo of themselves and the city’s skyline reflected on this shimmering, freeform sculpture. The Lakefront Trail and sandy beaches along Lake Michigan offer unique ways to experience the Windy City.

Culture, Cubs and Cuisine

Van Gogh and Monet also like to hang out in Chicago. The Art Institute of Chicago is home to a world-class collection of masterpieces. Combine it with the historic Field Museum and the Museum of Science and Industry for a perfect trifecta. As a cultural center, Chicago vibrates with the sound of symphonies, operas, and staged theater performances at grand halls across the city.

A fun weekend in Chicago might include shopping at the upscale stores along the Magnificent Mile, riding the Ferris wheel at Navy Pier or taking in a comedy show at Second City, where many up-and-coming performers get their start. Chicago is big on baseball, with two Major League teams in town: the Cubs and the White Sox. Iconic Wrigley Field is a must-see for baseball fans.

Visitors can’t leave town without sampling a hometown favorite: deep-dish pizza. This succulent mesh of melted cheese, toasty dough and handmade tomato sauces has tempted taste buds since its invention in Chicago in the 1940s. Another culinary treat is the Chicago-style hot dog slathered with a unique brew of toppings and easily obtained at one of the sidewalk stands around the city.


Considered among the friendliest cities for tourists, Chicago makes it easy for visitors to get around with a large network of public transportation. The most iconic can be found in the Loop, where elevated rail tracks circle this downtown district, providing a fun way to explore the city.

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