Chicago, located in the mid west of the United States in the state of Illinois is the third largest city in America and since 2012 has been listed as an alpha global city. Seen as an international hub for business and commerce, finance and technology, it is also a major tourist destination in the US seeing 52 million international and domestic visitors during 2015, no wonder then that its major airport, O’Hare international is the second busiest airport in the world.
As well as being a major player in the business world, Chicago is also well-known for its arts and culture, with this large, vibrant city being famed for music, especially jazz, theater, museums, art, dining and awe-inspiring architecture.
Chicago is the focus of the mid west, the largest city in the state of Illinois, its stunning skyline that rises up from the shores of Lake Michigan is a dramatic sight that draws people in from all over the world to this wonderful city and all that is has to offer. Everything that you could want from a city is here in Chicago from world-class museums to stunning public parks, sandy beaches and fun fairs to amazing architecture and fine dining, it’s all waiting to be explored in the Windy City.
There is so much to see and do in Chicago that no matter how long you stay here or how many times you visit, you will always discover something new. When coming to Chicago prepare to start moving, there is a lot of ground to cover and you will want to begin straight away. It’s a great town to walk in, the impressive skyline will keep drawing your eye upwards and everywhere you look there will be something of interest. That said, there are some things that you just don’t want to miss out on seeing and here are a few examples.
What to see in Chicago.
Visit the Millennium Park
Millennium Park is a public park that was constructed originally to commemorate the millennium. Situated in down town Chicago at Randolph Street, it has become one of the most significant and impressive millennium projects throughout the world. Work began on this 24.5 acre plot in 1997 and since its opening it has become an extremely successful center for world class-art and music as well as having amazing architecture and stunning landscape designs.
It is in the Millennium Park that you will discover one of Chicago’s premier tourist attractions the famous sculpture, The Cloud Gate Sculpture also known as “The Bean”. This tourist highlight is a stunning piece of sculpture made from 168 pieces of highly polished stainless steel that has amazing reflective properties.
One of the best places to get some amazing photos of your trip to Chicago, especially if it is a clear day, as everything is reflected from this stunning piece of art. The sculpture looks like liquid mercury and is a real draw for tourists so it does get busy, especially at weekends and through the middle of the day.
Other highlights of the Millennium Park are an Ice Rink that is situated close to “The Bean” as well as plenty of places for alfresco dining. There is also interactive art in the Park as well as free classical concerts to enjoy. This has become the city’s showpiece, full of free sights to marvel at, amazing fountains, stunning art work, amazing architecture and gorgeous gardens. A great place to spend some time walking around and enjoying some of the best sites that Chicago has to offer.
Spend the Day at Navy Pier
Situated along the shore line of Lake Michigan, Navy Pier is a 3,300 foot attraction that is a great place for tourists and families alike. Opened in 1916 so celebrating its centenary this year, the Pier over its history has been many things. Originally it was designed for recreational and shipping purposes, during WWI it housed regiments of soldiers. During WW2 pilot training began at the pier eventually 15,000 pilot’s were trained there.
Since the war, the University of Illinois has taken up residence there as well as many trade shows and exhibitions. In 1977 Chicago City Hall designated The Pier as a city Landmark. Since then new theatre’s have been built, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, modelled after The Swan Theatre in London as well as museums and other places of entertainment.
Navy Pier now boosts over 50 acres of attractions and exhibition spaces, places to eat, parks and gardens, shops and recreational facilities and it is seen as the top leisure destination in the midwest which sees annually almost 9 million visitors.
Navy Pier is a great place to go for a walk and to take in views of the city and of Lake Michigan and during the summer months on Wednesday and Saturday nights at 10.15pm there are great fire work displays.
Navy Pier is a great tourist attraction and a good place to go if you have kids. An entire day can easily be spent here and with plenty of places to go for something to eat and drink and amusements galore it is the ideal place to spend some time.
Check out Chicago Botanical Gardens
A must do trip when you are in Chicago is to go and visit the Chicago Botanical Gardens. This is 385 acres of pure garden heaven, were you will see a stunning array of flora and fauna, waterfalls, foot bridges and waterways.
The Botanical Gardens are sublime no matter what time of the year that you visit Chicago. There are extensive Japanese Garden’s, English Garden’s, Rose Garden’s and many, many more. Whether you are a garden lover or just like walking around an enchanting space this is the place for you. There are many greenhouses to enjoy if the weather is not too good but try to go on a good day and you will be spoilt for choice of what to look at and admire. The care and attention to detail that they have put in to making the gardens is evident for all to see.
There are some really nice places to have a break and go for something to eat or to just have a rest before continuing on your journey around this amazing horticultural space. This is a wonderful, relaxing oasis of calm to enjoy away from Chicago and the hustle and bustle of the city. A trip to Chicago Botanical Garden’s will not disappoint and will be one of the many highlights of your visit to the city.
Admire the Amazing Architecture
Chicago is famed for its impressive skyline and architecture, it’s known around the world as the place to go to view some of the world’s most iconic sights and whether you take a guided tour or just go off on your own there are some that you really need to go and see.
Chicago Board of Trade on W. Jackson Boulevard in the Cook County area of Chicago is a skyscraper of great merit. It was constructed in 1930 and was given a designated Chicago Landmark status in 1977 and was then listed as a National Historic Landmark in 1978. The building is known for its Art Deco Design as well as the 3 storey art deco statue of the Roman Goddess Ceres that resides on the top of the building. This is a popular tourist attraction as well as a popular spot for film locations. Although dwarfed by many other skyscrapers in the city, this building stands out because of its stunning architecture and art deco design.
Chicago’s Merchandise Mart is another iconic building to take time out to go and see. Another building that appeared in 1930, when it was first built it was the largest building in the world. Another fabulous art deco landmark in the city, this building now houses various design centers and many places to eat as well as having large office spaces and service outlets.
Take a trip down to the Magnificent Mile in Chicago to see The Wrigley Building. This impressive skyscraper was built for chewing gum magnate William Wrigley JR as the headquarters for his company. Taking inspiration from Seville’s Cathedral and in particular Giralda tower(or bell tower) a good idea is to take a trip to view this amazing building at night were it will be lit up with floodlights and is a very impressive and spectacular sight.
In downtown Chicago you will come across the Aqua, an 82 storey mixed use skyscraper, which is topped with terraced gardens, pool, hot tubs and a running track. The building gets its name from the wave-like forms that come off the building giving it a look of waves breaking against the shore. Completed in 2009 it is a modern building that mixes the old and new styles of Chicago perfectly.
Things to do in Chicago – Final Words.
Whether you are in Chicago for just a whistle stop tour or are spending a bit of time in this amazing city, you will find plenty to keep you occupied. From the amazing architecture to the museums, spectacular water front to magnificent eateries, Chicago is a city that needs to be seen and enjoyed. Time spent here will be time well spent and it is sure to be a place that you will want to return to again and again.