Known as the “Windy City” or the “Second City,” Chicago is a quintessentially American town. Its iconic cityscape is complemented by Lake Michigan’s inviting coastline, and the streets are perfect for walking tours, allowing you to experience the city’s rich history, shopping, dining, and entertainment up close.
Chicago is well known for its breathtaking cityscape and architectural wonders; you can find here one of the country’s tallest buildings, the Willis Tower. The John Hancock Center is perfect for a panoramic view of the city. Visit the modern architectural must-see attractions scattered across the city, including the Cloud Gate sculpture, Frank Gehry's swooping silver band shell in Millennium Park, or the Art Institute of Chicago, the second largest art museum in the United States.
With Lake Michigan as the backdrop, you can relax and enjoy water sports along the lake’s public beaches or visit the vast network of parks including Millennium Park and Lincoln Park, which are ideal for a leisurely stroll or brisk bike ride.
Chicago is the home to some of America’s most popular sporting teams, who enjoy the full support of the Chicago fans. Take in a baseball game at historic Wrigley Field, watch the Bears play football at Soldiers Field, or visit the United Center, home of the world-famous basketball team, the Chicago Bulls, as well as championship ice hockey team, the Blackhawks.
There is a range of fascinating museums and conservatories like the Field Museum of Natural History, the Shedd Aquarium, and the Museum of Science and Industry, which the whole family will enjoy.
There are dining options for every taste, including the high-end culinary spots Alinea and Moto, which are on the cutting edge of the molecular gastronomy trend. For something more traditional, try Chicago’s legendary deep-dish pizza.
Generations of immigrants from around the globe have made Chicago home, and brought their culinary traditions with them. Explore Chinatown, Little Italy, or Greektown, or get a taste of Poland and Thailand in the ethnic enclaves sprinkled throughout the city.
The Magnificent Mile is the heart of Chicago’s world-famous dining scene. The 13-block stretch of North Michigan Avenue is packed with the city’s most popular restaurants; you can find anything from mouth-watering steaks to Chicago’s famous cheesy-caramel popcorn.
The Navy Pier, Chicago's most-visited attraction, sports a 150-foot ferris wheel, an IMAX theater, restaurants, and a magnificent lakefront view.
The city is alive with arts and culture, including Broadway musicals, world-class classical music, and an active theater scene. Take in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra or the Lyric Opera of Chicago, which features accomplished theater companies like Steppenwolf.
While the city has its share of trendy nightspots, you can immerse yourself in the atmosphere of an authentic Chicago neighborhood tavern or sports bar in Lincoln Park, Wrigleyville, or Bucktown.
North of the city is a collection of theme parks and opportunities for shopping in nearby Gurnee. Ride a roller coaster, enjoy the exhilaration of a water park, or shop at the very popular Gurnee Mills Outlet Mall.
Rockford, less than two hours’ drive from the city, has a 12-acre, "pond-strolling" Japanese garden. With winding paths and serene waterfalls, it is considered one of the most authentic formal Japanese gardens outside of Japan.
For those looking for a taste of nature, serene waterfalls, lush forests, and rustic lodges await in Starved Rock State Park in Utica. Naturalist-led programs draw you farther into this hilly wonderland, located just minutes from wineries, quaint shops, and restaurants.