Home to the world's oldest skyscraper, the late 19th-century Home Insurance Building, Chicago has a formidable reputation for its world-class performing arts scene and vast modern skyline.
This eclectic, vibrant melting pot is the third most populous city in the United States, and overlooks the picturesque shores of Lake Michigan, the source of the Chicago river system that flows into the Mississippi Valley. Chicago also hosts 36 parades each year, contains more than 500 parks, and boasts hundreds of tourist attractions ranging from acclaimed theatres to internationally revered art galleries.
Some of Chicago's top attractions:
The Art Institute of Chicago
One of the most famous museums in North America, if not the world, the Art Institute of Chicago contains an extraordinary art collection that is only eclipsed by Paris' Louvre in terms of its size. The venue, which was established in 1866, also has an extensive collection of North American artefacts and occupies an area of over 9 hectares.
The Willis Tower
Formerly known as the Sears Tower, at 442m high, the Willis Tower was built in the 1970s and was the world's tallest building when it was completed. The most intriguing feature of this pioneering landmark is its Skydeck, which has moveable glass balconies that create the illusion that the visitor is almost 'floating' above the city.
The Field Museum of Natural History
Another world-famous exhibition venue, the Field Museum of Natural History was established in the 1920s and was built in a charismatic Classical Revival building. Here, you can observe millions of natural history exhibits from the modern day to the prehistoric period, some of which were exhibited at the 1893 Chicago World Fair.
The Navy Pier
More than 1km long, and completed in 1916, the Navy Pier is Chicago's most popular family-friendly attraction, and stands above the Lake Michigan shore. From fantastic funfair rides to the Children's Museum and the Shakespeare Theatre, this pier is guaranteed to provide hours of fun for people of all ages, and is open throughout the year.
As you can probably imagine, there are literally thousands of restaurants to choose from near Chicago hotels although if you're looking for some delicious steaks, you could consider Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab, the Bavette's Bar and Boeuf, or Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse. For other outstanding international-themed dishes, head to the Alinea restaurant, choose Mexique for some very vibrant Mexican flavours, dine at La Scarola for mouthwatering Italian recipes, or visit Shanghai Terrace for divine Chinese flavours.
Nightlife and hotels
Popular nightlife venues include the funky, 80s-inspired Berlin club, chic The Mid, clubbing hotspot Evil Olive and the glitter-painted Beauty Bar. For the ultimate hotel experience, consider The Langham, Thompson Chicago, a Thompson Hotel, Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago or The Talbott Hotel. For other stylish but more affordable accommodation venues, you can try the Wyndham Grand Chicago Riverfront or the Hyatt Regency Chicago.
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