1. Third largest city in the United States
The name ‘Windy City’ may be known all over the world, but the fact that Chicago is the third largest city in the United States may not. Just steps from New York City and Los Angeles, Chicago enjoys a growing number of tourists from around the world, with 55 million visitors last year, a constantly growing number compared to previous years.
Millennium Park, without a shred of doubt, managed to stay in its top spot as the most visited attraction in downtown Chicago. In fact, his record is undefeated in the entire Midwest. The city also has a host of other similar attractions that emit the same gravitational pull: the Art Institute of Chicago, Cloud Gate, Willis Tower, Navy Pier, Shedd Aquarium, Chicago History Museum and Lincoln Park Zoo, Grant Park Music Festival, The Chicago Opera Theater and Harris Theater for Music and Dance events, just to name a few.
The list of popular tourist attractions may still be Chicago’s biggest draw, but so are the myriad types of unique dining and shopping destinations. Don’t miss your chance to hunt down delicious and unique Chicago-style hot dogs, deep dish pizza, or the Maxwell Street Polish sausage as you ride the charter bus past intriguing architectural structures like Sears Towers and museums that feature gangster history from the 1920s like Al Capone Frank ‘The Enforcer Nitti’ (successor to Al Capone), John ‘Papa Johnny Torrio, John Dillinger, Lester Joseph’ Baby Face ‘Nelson, etc. And when you’re ready to go shopping, organize some excursions to the Magnificent Mile or State Street. The streets are lined with famous brand retail stores, family shops, quirky diners, fast food restaurants, fun cafes, bakeries, ice cream parlors and coffee shops.
- Millennium Park 201 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60602 (312) 742-1168
- Art Institute of Chicago 111 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603 (312) 443-3600
- Willis Tower 233 S Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60606
- Navy Pier 600 E Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60611 (312) 595-7437
- Shedd Aquarium 1200 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60605 (312) 939-2438
- Chicago History Museum 1601 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614 (312) 642-4600
- Lincoln Park Zoo 2001 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614
- Harris Theater 205 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60601 (312) 334-7777
2. The railway capital of the country
With more than 1,300 trains transporting people in and out of the capital, in and out of the suburbs, The Loop, and with the world’s first elevated railroad, getting in and out of Chicago is a breeze. Chicago is also an easy city to navigate, with predictable northern and southern boundaries, and eastern and western divisions, all divided into grids. The ‘L’, short for Loop, and its elevated railway were astonishingly designed and built during a period of time when no precedent was yet set. It was built in 1892 and moves more than 1.7 million passengers weekly, connecting the city both above and below ground through 144 train stations throughout the city. The Blue Line and Red Line operate 24 hours a day between the north and south of downtown Chicago; the Metra, a high-speed commuter train, is used to transport people in and out of some outlying suburbs.
Traveling alone or with a couple of friends, CTA visitor passes, which have a set number of admission days loaded onto cards, are more than enough to get around. It costs $ 10 to $ 105 for 1 to 30 days of travel. If you are not sure how far it will move, get the unlimited travel options. The good news is that passes can be ordered and delivered in advance. Load the amount you prefer onto your Ventra card, personal bank card, or get 1-day disposable tickets that can be purchased at Ventra vending machines throughout the city and voila!
For tourists who want to catch a glimpse of Chicago while on the go, taking a water taxi or renting a bike will get them places too. The Water Taxis offers a great combination of a sightseeing tour of popular Chicago museums, Chinatown, Willis Tower, Union Station, Michigan Avenue (and many more) and lets you languidly explore these amazing sites without trying too hard.
- Chicago Water Taxi Stops Ogilvie / Union (West Loop), Michigan Avenue Stop, LaSalle (River North), Riverwalk Clark Street, Chinatown, Chicago Avenue, North Avenue / Sheffield
- Unlimited travel passes
- Bike and Roll Chicago – Navy Pier 700 E Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60611 (312) 729-1000
- Bobby Bike Hike 540 N Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 6061 (312) 245-9300
- Wheel Fun Rentals 305 East Riverwalk, Chicago, IL 60611 (773) 458-0868
- Divvy 33 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60601 (855) 553-4889
3. Chicago is a breath of fresh air
With more than 8,000 acres of green space in the form of 26 beaches and 580 parks around the city, Chicago gives you plenty of space for a relaxing break if you fancy a day of total tranquility. Some of the parks are located not far from downtown Chicago, some are embedded in its heart, while others are easily accessible by public and private transportation. The city is also well connected by bicycle lanes for those who prefer to get around by bike. With 225 miles of lanes, 13,000 bike racks, 3,000 bikes, and 300 bike stations through the Divvy bike-share system, Chicago’s most notable attractions and landmarks are literally a cycle away.
You can enjoy events around Lake Michigan and Grant Park with free admission to the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Cloud Gate and Crown Fountain in Millennium Park, visit the remarkable country house, and let the kids relax in Indian Boundary Park, which are common grounds for local health enthusiasts. . Soak up the pristine landscape, natural formations, stone paths and Midwest-themed Columbus Park, or take the chartered bus to Chicago’s Chinatown, where Ping Tom Memorial Park is strategically located. As water taxis connect two of the aforementioned parks to the city center, you are still a stone’s throw from all the hustle and bustle when night falls.
You can also relax and enjoy the serene Chicago scene from North Avenue Beach, bird watch or let the kids play at the Lane Beach playground, enjoy the hidden beach of Rainbow Beach and if you are visiting with your furry friends , head to Belmont Harbor Dog Beach, where they can jump in absolute delight to your heart’s content.
- Indian Boundary Park 2500 W Lunt Ave, Chicago, IL 60645 (773) 764-0338
- Columbus Park 500 S Central Ave, Chicago, IL 60644 (773) 287-7641
- Ping Tom Memorial Park 1700 S Wentworth Ave, Chicago, IL 60616 (312) 225-3121
- North Avenue Beach 1600 N Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60613 (773) 363-2225
- Lane Beach 5915 N Sheridan Rd, Chicago, IL 60660 (773) 363-2225
- Rainbow Beach 2873 E 75th St, Chicago, IL 60649 (312) 729-1000
- Belmont Harbor Dog Beach N Lake Shore Dr and Lake Shore Drive Dr, Chicago, IL 60657 (312) 742-7529
4. The impressive historical side of the city of winds
The first permanent resident of Chicago was an African-American businessman from what is now Haiti, Jean Baptiste Point du Sable, in 1779. Here, du Sable built his house with his Indian wife and the rest, as they say, is history. Visitors are encouraged to stop by the Chicago History Museum, the Newbury Library, or the Clarke House Museum to explore the myriad documents, artifacts, images, maps, magazines, newspapers, and directories. These are real life stories about the Great Chicago Fire, photographs and documents related to the unique world of Chicago architecture, the history of the railroads of The Pullman Company, Central Illinois and Chicago, Burlington & Quincy. It doesn’t get any more real than this! Tour The Clarke House Museum, the oldest house in town, with free hourly service on Wednesdays, Fridays or Saturdays.
- Chicago History Museum 1601 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60614 (312) 642-4600
- Newberry Library 60 W. Walton St., Chicago, IL 60610 (312) 943-9090
- Clarke House Museum Chicago Women’s Park, 1827 S. Indiana Ave. Chicago, IL 60616
5. Of art and food
If a hot dog were an art, you would never run out of options. With more than 2,000 hot dog stands located within Chicago’s sprawling downtown area and its quaint suburbs, a long list of award-winning chef restaurants and diners, and a conglomerate of cheap and affordable meals, Chicago is a foodie haven in all senses. the word. Together, the army of hot dog stands outnumbers Chicago’s Burger Kings, McDonalds and Wendy’s. So, don’t be surprised to learn that the first McDonald’s in America made its mark with the first restaurant in Chicago in 1955. Chicago-style pizza made a splash on the food scene when Pizzeria Uno opened in 1943.
With its culinary offer comes its large collection of impressionist paintings. Housed at the Art Institute of Chicago, it remains the largest collection of its kind outside of Paris, France. The art institution is known and globally recognized for its active healing efforts, bringing and hosting a wide variety of paintings, sculptures, and historical artifacts from around the world, attracting more than 1.5 million patrons and participants each year. The art institute is also connected to the famous and historic Route 66, marking its starting point. The Main Street of America or Mother Road, as Route 66 is fondly known, has become world famous thanks to its breadth (measuring about 4,000 km in total) through the hit song and television show of the same name. Even to this day, Mother Road is considered an important work of art.
- Art Institute of Chicago 111 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603 (312) 443-3600
- Hot Dog “G” 5009 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60640 (773) 209-3360
- Jimmy’s Red Hots 4000 W Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60651 (773) 384-9513
- Chicago Dog House 816 W Fullerton Ave, Chicago, IL 60614 (773) 248-3647
- The Wieners Circle 2622 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614 (773) 477-7444
While technically not ‘secrets’ per se (is it SOMETHING a secret these days, with the internet?), I think the short list and resource above will help you uncover the important facades of Chicago. Some less touristy than others due to things like water taxis and hot dogs, as touristy as they are, they are not to be missed! Visiting tranquil green spaces and beaches in Chicago is one way to help you find the sweet and serene place when you need it.