Chicago is one of the biggest cities in the US, sitting on the shores of Lake Michigan in Illinois. It is known globally for its iconic skyline, filled with skyscrapers, such as John Hancock Center and Willis Tower. But, its architecture is not only in the high rise buildings, entire city core is a statement of history of American architecture, with many styles designed by several notable architects.
Quick facts about Chicago
- Name: Chicago
- Founded: 1833
- Population: 2.7 million
- Area: 606.1 km² (234 sq mi)
- Known as: “Windy City”.
The town is also known for its museums – The Field Museum, Chicago Art Institute and Museum of Science and Industry are just a few notable of many.
As the hub of the Midwest Chicago is also a home of the blues and jazz, and the comedy as well.
Exploring Chicago can take days, even weeks, and you will be always coming back to this wonderful city.
Main attractions in Chicago
Chicago has several dozens of attractions and we are listing only the top 25 of them here.
Millennium Park. Large public park in central Chicago with art displays, theater, and an ice rink during winter. Located in Loop community area. Willis Tower. Known originally as Sears Tower, this tall, 110-floor high skyscraper is an impressive part of Chicago’s skyline and offering stunning city vistas from its Skydeck.
Navy Pier. Long (more than 1,000 m) pier on Lake Michigan, formerly navy training center, is now a popular destination with rides, shops, parks, and eateries.
Cloud Gate. Massive, bean-shaped sculpture with a reflective surface. Reflecting surroundings and is an iconic landmark in Millennium Park. The Art Institute of Chicago. This is one of the oldest (since 1879) and largest art museums in the US. With a collection of over 300,000 pieces, this is a must for all art lovers visiting Chicago.
John Hancock Center. Massive, 100-floor high skyscraper with offices, observation deck, restaurant, and bars.
Shedd Aquarium. The largest indoor aquarium in the world, with more than 32,000 marine animals from around the world. Located on the shore of Lake Michigan. Magnificent Mile. Posh shopping district with upscale shops, luxury fashion outlets, high-end restaurants, and posh hotels. Skydeck Chicago. Panoramic views from the 103rd floor of the Wills Tower. The view can reach over four states: Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Michigan.
The Field Museum. The natural history museum, one of the largest in the world. Located next to the aquarium, it features the world’s largest Tyrannosaurus Rex.
Grant Park. Large, waterfront urban park hosting numerous Chicago’s attractions, such as Shedd Aquarium, the Adler Planetarium, the Field Museum, and the Art Institute. Lincoln Park Zoo. Founded way back in 1868, this zoo is one of the oldest in North America. Featuring lions, primates, reptiles, a children’s play area, and an interactive farm. Free admission.
Museum of Science and Industry. Located in Jackson Park, between Lake Michigan and The University of Chicago, this large museum host numerous scientific and industrial exhibits and many of them Interactive and child friendly.
Adler Planetarium. A public museum with high-tech interactive exhibits about astronomy. Located on the northeast tip of Northerly Island at the shore of Lake Michigan, this landmark also offers great lakefront views. Wrigley Field. Located in North Chicago, this historic landmark baseball field is home to the Chicago Cubs baseball team. Host games and featuring hall of fame.
Buckingham Fountain. One of the largest in the world, this fountain is located in Grant Park. It has three levels and offers light and water shows. 360 CHICAGO. Observatory on the 94th floor of the John Hancock Building, with a tilting glass lookout. Offering panoramic views of the city. Crown Fountain. Actually a work of art, this large LED sculpture is featuring a fountain with a reflecting pool with video displays.
Chicago Cultural Center. A 19th-century building with a vaulted lobby, mosaics, and two stained-glass domes, offering free cultural exhibits, concerts, and events. Chicago Architecture Center. Not-for-profit organization promoting Chicago architecture and offering and organizing tours, exhibitions, and events. Chicago Riverwalk. Riverside walkway along the Chicago River. Scenic walk featuring city views, dining, bridges, fishing piers, and boat docks.
From other attractions we recommend: Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Brookfield Zoo, Chicago Water Tower, Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio, Chicago Children’s Museum, Soldier Field, Garfield Park Conservatory, and Maggie Daley Park.
Top things to do in Chicago
You can have several very interesting tours of Chicago architecture, both as a walking tour or by boat; there are several bar hopping tours in historic Chicago; Multiple options for helicopter tour, day and night; very interesting Route 66 tour, by visiting several Chicago’s landmarks along the way.
Festivals and events in Chicago
Chicago has very lively festival and events scene year around. Here are some top recommendations.
ZooLights (December), St. Patrick’s Day Parade (March), Several Comicons (March and onwards), Kids and Kites Festival (May), Hyde Park Brew Fest (June), Pitchfork Music Festival (July), Lollapalooza Music Festival (August), German-American Oktoberfest (September).
Read more: Festivals and events in Chicago
Interesting facts about Chicago
Here are some interesting facts about Chicago
- Four states can be seen from Chicago’s Skydeck: Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Michigan.
- Chicago was the first city to introduce an all-color television station, starting from April 15th, 1956.
- First, open-heart surgery was performed in Chicago by Daniel Hale Williams, in 1893.
Read more: More interesting facts about Chicago
Best time to fly to Chicago
The peak season for flights to Chicago is May, June and July. The low season for purchasing tickets is January, February and November.
Chicago is served by these airports: Chicago Executive Airport (PWK), DuPage Airport (DPA), O’Hare International Airport (ORD), Chicago Rockford International Airport (RFD) and Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW). Direct flights to Chicago are offered by 31 airlines.
Top hotels offers for Chicago