The best 10 in the beautiful City of Chicago not to be missed is only a short list of experiences compared to the variety of activities that one can do here. Chicago, popularly known as the Windy City although not exactly named for the weather, is a beautiful city with skyscrapers, amazing architecture, world class museums, beautiful parks and food from around the world for you to immerse in when you visit.
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This city is the third most populous city in the United States and is situated on a huge lakefront, on the southwestern shores of Lake Michigan. Lake Michigan is so huge that it feels like an ocean rather than a lake because you cannot see the other side.
In addition, as I am sure most of you are familiar with Route 66, known as “America’s Highway”. Route 66 begins (or ends, depends where you begin your journey) at Grant Park. However, for now, come along with me and discover what my top 10 are.
My top 10 on Chicago are:
1 | The Lakefront
The Lakefront is one of my favourite parts of Chicago. It is perfect for a morning jog or cycling, play beach volleyball and you can even go rollerblading. When the sunsets, its perfect to walk along the shores and get your feet into the cool water. It is absolutely beautiful when you see the sun just setting behind the skyscrapers and glimpses of sunlight coming through in between the buildings. In the summer months, the shores come alive with activities and music and food.
2 | The Riverwalk
The Chicago Riverwalk is a beautiful pedestrian walkway along the Chicago River, spanning from Lake Shore Drive to Franklin Street. You will enjoy the many showcase of art, restaurants and bars where you can stop and enjoy a pint or two and resume sightseeing.
3 | Shop till you drop!
Michigan Avenue or as it’s often referred to as the Magnificent Mile is a mile-long street of shops and is the most popular shopping street in Chicago, just like 5th Avenue in New York ! At the north end of Michigan Avenue is Oak Street, where you will find designer and luxury goods and high-end brand names such as Gucci and Prada. From the south of the River, there is State Street where you will find affordable shopping at Macy’s, and more shops such as Forever21.
In winter, these shop windows sparkle with pretty Christmas decorations and in the spring/summer months, the parkways are filled with colourful blooms.
4 | The Loop in Chicago
The Loop is the heart of the business district and it is here that you will find the great architecture that Chicago is famous for, such as the Willis (Sears) Tower, the Cultural Centre and many more. The Loop is a vibrant area for eateries and theatres.
Alongside these, in a prime waterside location, there is Marina City towers in Chicago. The bottom 20 storeys of the twin towers of this iconic building consist of continuous spirals of parking and the top floors dedicated to apartments.
5 | Millennium Park
Millennium Park is in downtown Chicago and it is here where you will find the popular Chicago Bean sculpture, also known as “Cloud Gate” by Sir Anish Kapoor . It is a huge park where you can run, picnic or just hangout.
6 | The Art Institute of Chicago
The Art Institute of Chicago is home to more than 5000 years of human expression depicted in sculptures, photography and textiles representing cultures from around the world. This is definitely a “Must See” for any art or history enthusiast.
The Navy Pier is a popular attraction. It has ferries wheel, carousel and lots of restaurants and beer gardens. Suitable for anyone – family with children, couples, singles, young and old.
8 | Chicago’s Deep Dish Pizza
One of my favourite pizza and I am sure many of you pizza lovers out there, is the Chicago-style “deep-dish” pizza. So, when in Chicago, head over to Pizzeria Uno where this pizza was invented in 1943.
Although the pizza is known as “deep-dish”, the crust itself is thin, but deep! Of course, mine was pepperoni.
To know more of Pizzeria Uno or to make a reservation, click on the link below:
9 | Dining in Chicago
Chicago is renowned for its world class cuisines, from steakhouses, Cantonese stir-fry and chicken pot pie. There are many diners and eateries around the City, from high-end dining to casual open-air experiences.
10 | Fly into O’Hare Airport!
Although it is one of the busiest airports in the world, I would highly recommend that you fly into O’Hare at least once in your lifetime. Besides the crowd, the long queues at security, you will be rewarded with one of the most colourful sight.
The colours of the neon lights in the 744-foot tunnel that connects United Airline’s Concourse B and C is an amazingly beautiful experience and for some, it may transport you back to your late teen disco days. It is full of colour and is the longest neon sculpture in the world.
This piece of art is called “The Sky’s the Limit”, by Michael Hayden. If you are interested in knowing more about this artwork, click here.
Chicago has plenty more attractions than what I have listed here. It is a City to visit and experience because of its skyscrapers, world-class food and a fun nightlife. It has something for everyone.
Travel tips on Chicago
Airports – There are two airports here – O’Hare International and Midway. Both are easily accessible and connected to the city by the CTA (Chicago Transit Authority).
Local transport – the transport system here is good. Take the CTA line around the Loop and change where necessary to get to your destination or further out of Chicago. It’s good to familiarise yourself with the colours, for example it is the Blue Line from O’Hare International which will extend through the Loop.
Best time to visit: May – September/October.
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