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Chicago River
Chicago River © Robert Cameron

Chicago Travel Guide

With impressive architecture, a wealth of public art installations, and an effortlessly cool culture, Chicago is endlessly popular with both locals and tourists alike: 

Chicago is a legendary metropolis that is almost as popular as New York, and seems to get better every year. Once the city of gangsters, Chicago is now a thriving metropolis. During a holiday in Chicago there need never be a dull moment with the number of world-class events and attractions being as exciting and diverse as the city itself. Chicago is celebrated for its galleries, theatres, and restaurants, and attracts shopaholics with its shopping scene.

Anyone and everyone will enjoy a holiday in Chicago, the marvellous modern city that offers amusements, entertainment and interesting sights to suit all tastes.

Best time to visit Chicago

If there is anything that might put off visitors who travel to Chicago it could be the weather, which can be unpleasant for most of the year. It is called the 'Windy City' for good reason. Summers, between June and August, are overly hot and humid, and winters, between December and February, are unbearably cold, windy, and snow-covered. The best time to holiday in Chicago is during early autumn, when the air is frosty but it sparkles under blue skies and sunshine. Read more on Chicago's Climate and Weather.

What to see in Chicago

-Admire the views from the Hancock Observatory or the Willis Tower.

-Enjoy the many attractions of Navy Pier, a good starting point for a boat tour.

-Find out what's going on in Millennium Park, the heart of Chicago.

-Marvel at the heavens in the Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum.

What to do in Chicago

-Spend a sunny day on one of Chicago's Lake Michigan beaches.

-Walk the Chicago Loop, a downtown stretch packed with public art and interesting architecture.

-Shop and eat along the aptly named Magnificent Mile on Michigan Avenue.

-Treat the kids to a day of thrills at Six Flags Great America.

Beyond Chicago

The city of Rockford is very close to Chicago, boasting a barrage of cultural attractions. Those keen to track the historic Route 66 begin their pilgrimage in Chicago.

Getting there

Flights to Chicago most commonly land at O'Hare International Airport, located 17 miles (30km) northwest of the city. Chicago Midway International Airport, somewhat closer to the city, also handles some international flights. Get more information on Airports in Chicago.

Did you know?

-Chicago encompasses 552 parks, making it a surprisingly green city.

-The Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) is one of the tallest buildings in the Western Hemisphere.

-Chicago was the birthplace of the Twinkie, the Ferris wheel, and Walt Disney.


Chicago is the major metropolis of America's heartland in northern Illinois. Around three million people live and thrive in the city of skyscrapers that appear to rise straight out of the waters of Lake Michigan. Once a gangster's paradise, home to Al Capone and Bonnie and Clyde, the 'Windy City' today has a reputation as an international business and commercial capital with an eclectic mix of architecture, world-class theatre and art exhibitions, a fantastic local music scene, and thriving sports scene.

Chicago emerged after being destroyed in the Great Fire of 1871 when a large influx of immigrants in the early 20th century infused the city with diversity and the unmistakable sound of Chicago-style blues music. It now boasts soaring skyscrapers like Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower), colourful neighbourhoods, a lakefront business district, a re-energised downtown district, unbeatable shopping along the famed Michigan Avenue, and top-class sports teams.

One thing that does not attract visitors to Chicago is the weather; the city's geographical location means it is breezy at best, and freezing and gale-ridden at worst. It is possible to ignore the weather though, especially in summer, while getting caught up in the myriad things to do, see and experience in this Midwestern metropolis.

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