the top 10 sites not to be missed!
Visit Chicago, the third largest city in the United States and the largest city in the Midwest! Tall buildings, an important economic and cultural center, Chicago has a lot to offer its visitors!
With very contrasting seasons (very hot summer and freezing winter) “the Windy City” (“the windy city”, in French) has something that New York does not have: the sumptuous view of Lake Michigan! And so many other things to offer. Do you want to visit Chicago? An overview with our top 10 things to do in Chicago.
First of all, you need find accommodation in chicago not far from your activities.
1. Willis Tower (formerly known as Sears Tower)
Impossible to visit Chicago without climbing to the top of the incredible Willis Tower! Previously called Sears Tower because it housed the corporate offices of Sears, it is the second tallest tower in UNITED STATES just behind the One World Trade Center in New York (443 meters, against 541).
Propelled in 45 seconds, to the 103rd floor of the tower, i.e. 412 meters high, the sky deck offers you a most impressive view of the city and Lake Michigan… and even, in the distance, as far as the neighboring states: Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin.
It takes approximately $25 per person to access this panoramic view. THE sky deck will surely give you dizzying sensations when you put your first foot on the glass floor. Day or night, the view is breathtaking. On the other hand, prefer a day when the weather is clear.
If you want to avoid the endless wait, I advise you togo there when it opens. Not only will you skip the line to access the sky deck but it will also be much more pleasant to take pretty pictures.
2. Millennium Park and the “Cloud Gate”
You have surely already seen in photos or in films the famous work of art The Cloud Gate (“The Cloud Gate”), designed by British artist Anish Kapoor.
Here, it is rather nicknamed The Bean (” the bean “), due to its shape. Day or night, summer or winter, this urban sculpture is simply stunning. It is located in Millenium Park, a place where it is very pleasant to walk around to admire other urban works and take a photo under the immensity of the bean.
A little extra if you go there during the holidays: a huge ice rink is installed there and the atmosphere is festive. Especially since it is very pleasant to skate with a view of the Cloud Gate and the beautiful skyline (skyline spiky skyscrapers) of Chicago.
3. Eat a deep-dish pizza
Being a major city of Italian immigration, Chicago keeps track of it. The famous deep dish pizza is the very example of the mixture of the two cultures. Restaurant chains of all kinds will offer you to taste this speciality, but Giordano is the place to go! Indeed, the Giordano’s chain has maintained a certain authenticity and that’s where the pizzas are the best. A word of advice: don’t count the calories!
4. The Navy Pier
This pier on Lake Michigan is over a mile long. It is a magnificent place, which offers a view of the lake and the skyline. Photography lovers will fall in love with this place. Impossible to visit Chicago without a walk on this pier.
Here you will find hot dog vendors, small restaurants and a few kiddie rides. But the must-see on the pier is the incredible Ferris wheel, which has been renovated very recently: it is huge and its cabins are brand new and even equipped with air conditioning! The view from above is breathtaking. Count about $15 per adult to access it. You will not regret it.
5. Lincoln Park Zoo
If you have young children or if you simply like going to the zoo, this one is a must… and completely free!
If you access it by car, we advise you to park in the streets of the city (paid parking with parking meters) rather than in the car park provided for the zoo, which still costs $25.
outside the zoo, Lincoln Park is the city’s largest public urban park and the second in the country. You can observe the runners or readers quietly seated on the benches. It is very pleasant to walk there and to benefit from such a large green space in the heart of a city of this size.
6. Visit Chicago and see a Bulls or Cubs game
Sport has a very important place in the United States and particularly in Chicago. Everyone knows the famous basketball player, Michael Jordan. Even if he hasn’t played for years, go see a Chicago Bulls game remains an experience not to be missed during a visit to Chicago. Ticket prices start around $20 and can go very high depending on your location. So there is something for all budgets.
If you are rather curious about baseball, you will also be served. Between the Chicago White Sox and the Cubs, the city’s two iconic teams, you will have the choice. The former rather represent the south of the city and the Cubs the north. The Cubs won the World Series very recently, which hadn’t happened… since 1908.
It is true that the rules of baseball are not easy to understand if you are not used to following this sport. Attending a game is nonetheless a great experience. The atmosphere is absolutely fantastic and then it’s not often that we have the opportunity to attend a baseball game. Especially since you will find places that are not very expensive, if you don’t want to be in the front row.
7. Art Institute of Chicago
For art lovers and even for others, I’Art Institute of Chicago is, the second largest art museum in the country, is a must-see. From Grant Wood to Picasso, via Van Gogh, many major works are present in the collections. If you like impressionism, you will be spoiled, because the works of this movement abound.
If you want to see the entire museum, know that you will need at least half a day, so don’t hesitate to come when it opens to avoid the crowds and be quieter to admire the works.
8. The John G. Shedd Aquarium
The Chicago Aquarium is one of the largest in the United States. You can discover about 2100 animal species there. It’s a very nice experience, which will appeal to children and adults alike. There are also shows with killer whales, including a Christmas-themed adaptation at the end of the year.
Michigan Avenue is Chicago’s best-known and most touristy street. From luxurious boutiques to more accessible boutiques, it is an emblematic place to shop. Even if you are just window shopping, the street is very beautiful and you can see the Chicago Water Tower and the Art Institute of Chicago.
10. A cruise on the Chicago River
The 251 kilometer long Chicago River, runs through all of downtown Chicago. It is best known for the local tradition of dyeing it green for St. Patrick’s Day.
Cruise ships allow you to embark on board for tours of about an hour, sometimes a little more, in order to discover the city and its architecture. It takes about $35-40 per person, but you won’t be disappointed. A guide is present on board to tell you anecdotes about the architecture of the city. A must do if you visit Chicago.
Before leaving, did you take out good travel insurance? In case of concern, medical costs are expensive on the spot! See my article about it here.
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Thanks to Laura and Thomas for this article. Do not hesitate to come to their blog http://super-voyageur.com to discover other destinations but also little advice for your trips.