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Chicago: The Greatest City in the Midwest
Are you looking for your next adventure in the city? Then check out Chicago. The third largest city in the U.S, trailing behind New York and Los Angeles, the “Windy City,” is a force to be reckoned with. There is something for everyone to enjoy on a trip to Chicago, and with a great public transportation system you’ll have no problem seeing all the city has to offer. Although there are four distinct seasons, and the winters are not for the faint of heart, entertainment will always be at your fingertips no matter the weather. For intellectual and cultural fun, explore the city’s museum campus.
For you shopaholics, there’s a whole mile dedicated to you for your shopping needs, literally. A stroll through the city’s largest park should not be missed, for you nature lovers, and it can be enjoyed during all seasons. If nightlife is your thing there are an abundance of clubs that will fit your taste. Beautiful gardens, grand architecture, an ice skating rink and the great Navy Pier should be visited. And a trip to Chicago is not complete without tasting the famous deep dish pizza and Chicago style hot dog. This is definitely a city that the whole family can enjoy.
Where to Stay?
When you visit Chicago, you may want to sleep near all of the action. Finding a hotel downtown, or as locals call it, ‘The Loop’, will be your best option. There are an abundance of hotels, hostels and motels that will fit your travel needs in the area. You should stay in a hotel that’s centrally located to public transit, but also close in proximity so you can walk everywhere as well. The best options are the hotels that offer all of these perks, but are still affordable. One perfect example of this is, SP Suites Millennium Park and it’s in the heart of some of the best places in the city. If you stay in this hotel, you’ll be able to walk to popular attractions. You’re a five minute walk from the famous Millennium Park and a ten minute walk from the Magnificent Mile, as well as many restaurants. An additional plus, if you’re a biker, this hotel also offers bike storage.
Another good affordable option in ‘The Loop’ is the Best Western Grant Park. This hotel has its own restaurant and a coffee bar. You would also be conveniently located to many of downtown’s main attractions, by foot. If sleeping amongst the hustle and bustle is not your thing, there are also great hotel options in quieter neighborhoods. The Chicago South Loop Hotel is located just outside of ‘The Loop’ and a quick bus ride will bring you downtown in no time. If you’re looking for a luxury hotel, the The Palmer House is one of the most historic hotels in Chicago. It offers two well-known restaurants, a spa and health club. Outside of the hotel, you are close to shopping, more restaurants and transportation is right outside of the hotel’s doors.
Where to go, what to do?
Your vacation itinerary must include a trip to “Chicago’s front yard,” also known as Grant Park. Constructed in the heart of the city, much like New York’s Central Park, Grant Park is home to many of Chicago’s well known sites. The sites include Millennium Park, the Museum Campus, Buckingham Fountain, the Art Institute and just recently, the Maggie Daley Park. Grant Park is so huge, you could spend a whole day exploring the park by itself.
On the southern end of Grant Park, you’ll find the Museum Campus, home of some of the best museums in the city. This includes The Field Museum, The Shedd Aquarium and Adler Planetarium. Solider Field, home to the Chicago Bears, is also a part of the Museum Campus. If you’re a fan of nature and greenery, Grant Park has tons of it. After leaving the Museum Campus, walk the trails and take in the flowers, especially during the warmer seasons. There is also lots of artwork constructed throughout Grant Park, which is worth seeing.
As you make your way up, in the center you’ll find the Buckingham Fountain. The Buckingham fountain is one of the world’s largest fountains and it’s a great hangout destination for tourist and locals. Grant Park is also home to Lollapalooza and as you continue on your way, you’ll run into the spot where they host the famous summer concert. People come from all over the world to partake in the experience that is Lallapalooza. And if you’re lucky enough to be in the city during late July to early August, you definitely don’t want to miss out. On the central, western edge of Grant Park, closer to Michigan Avenue, you’ll also run into the Art Institute of Chicago. You should definitely take a tour and view the great artwork.
Your final stop, in Grant Park, will be Millennium Park. Although this is located on the northern end of Grant Park, there is so much to do in this portion of the park it could stand alone. The park is always free. While you’re here, you must see the Crown Fountain and visit the Lurie Garden. Jay Pritzker Pavilion is also located here, and it’s often known to host local musicians during park hours. Don’t forget to take a picture under the “Cloud Gate,” while you’re in the area. Although, locals will definitely know you’re tourist if you don’t call it the “Bean.” Finally, before you leave stop by and view the beautiful gardens of Maggie Daley Park, a new area dedicated to the former mayor’s late wife. During the winter months, you’ll also be able to ice skate along the “Ice Skating Ribbon.” Later on this year, the Climbing Park will open and visitors will be able to test their luck in wall climbing.
For you shoppers, walk the long strip of North Michigan Avenue to an area known as The Magnificent Mile. ‘The Mile’ is filled with some of Chicago’s authentic boutiques, name brand stores and restaurants. The Water Tower Place is at the end of this shopping excursion, and it’s the most visited mall in the city. Everything you can imagine is found in The Water Tower Place. You may do more shopping and dine in the grand food court. While in the area, you must stop by Navy Pier. This is one of the city’s most well-known landmarks and you can spend an entire day here if you desire, as well. Take a ride on the giant Ferris wheel and visit the other outside attractions. View a play indoors or catch a 3D movie at the IMAX Theater, or dine at one of the well-known restaurants with drinks. If you’re really up for an adventure book tickets for one of Navy Pier’s many cruise lines. Enjoy food, drinks and dancing, while you cruise around Lake Michigan and view Chicago’s Skyline. Although these cruises can be enjoyed during the daytime, they are fabulous at night.
End your night in one of Chicago’s famous bars, nightclubs or jazz clubs in the area. Whatever your taste, Chicago has it. Before you leave, don’t forget to try two local foods. For authentic deep dish pizza, you should definitely check out Lou Malnati’s or Giordano’s; although there are many other options as well, these are two of the best in the city. Make sure you stop by Downtown Dogs, for an authentic Chicago hot dog and hold the ketchup. With so many diverse and fun activities, in Chicago, not to mention the different choices in hotel options and great food, you’re guaranteed to enjoy your time in the Midwest’s greatest city. Chicago will surely become one of your favorite places to visit and you’ll keep coming back to explore more.
Price rangefrom $34to $1,055
- Hotel Millennium Knickerbocker Chicago4from $148
- Hotel DeWitt Placefrom $134
- Hotel SP Suites Millennium Park3from $140
- Hotel Days Inn Chicago3from $125
- Hotel Renaissance Chicago O'Hare Suites4from $124
- Hotel Holiday Inn & Suites Chicago-Downtown3from $162
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