Chicago, also known as the Windy City, is a vibrant metropolis that never fails to impress visitors. It’s a city that boasts a rich cultural heritage and a dynamic energy that’s hard to find anywhere else. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, there’s always something new to discover in Chicago.
The city is renowned for its stunning architecture, from the towering skyscrapers of the Loop to the iconic landmarks such as the Willis Tower (formerly known as Sears Tower), the John Hancock Center, and the Cloud Gate (or “The Bean”). The Chicago River, which winds its way through the city, provides a picturesque backdrop for boat tours that showcase the city’s architectural wonders.
Chicago is also a foodie’s paradise, with a diverse range of cuisines that reflect the city’s multicultural population. You can indulge in deep-dish pizza, Italian beef sandwiches, or classic Chicago-style hot dogs at the city’s many eateries. For more upscale dining options, check out the Michelin-starred restaurants like Alinea, Oriole, or Smyth.
If you’re a sports fan, Chicago has plenty to offer. The city is home to two Major League Baseball teams, the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago White Sox, as well as the Chicago Bulls basketball team and the Chicago Blackhawks hockey team. You can catch a game at one of the city’s many sports venues, such as Wrigley Field or the United Center.
For art lovers, the Art Institute of Chicago is a must-see. The museum boasts an impressive collection of American and European art, including works by Claude Monet, Vincent van Gogh, and Grant Wood. The Museum of Contemporary Art is also worth a visit, with its focus on cutting-edge contemporary art.
Finally, no trip to Chicago would be complete without experiencing the city’s vibrant music scene. From jazz and blues to hip hop and house music, Chicago has a long and storied musical history. You can catch live performances at legendary venues like the Green Mill Jazz Club, Buddy Guy’s Legends, or the House of Blues.
In conclusion, Chicago is a city that offers something for everyone. Whether you’re interested in architecture, food, sports, art, or music, you’re sure to find something that will captivate and inspire you in this dynamic metropolis.
3 Days in Chicago
If you have three days to explore Chicago, you can experience many of the city’s top attractions and immerse yourself in its unique culture. Here’s a sample itinerary for three days in the Windy City:
- Morning: Start your day at Millennium Park, a 24.5-acre park in the heart of downtown Chicago. Admire the iconic Cloud Gate sculpture (also known as “The Bean”) and take a stroll through the Lurie Garden.
- Afternoon: Head over to the Art Institute of Chicago, which boasts a collection of more than 300,000 works of art. Spend a few hours browsing the galleries and marveling at the masterpieces on display.
- Evening: For dinner, head to Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria and try Chicago’s famous deep-dish pizza.
- Morning: Take an architecture boat tour on the Chicago River to learn about the city’s stunning skyscrapers and historic landmarks.
- Afternoon: Head to Navy Pier, a 3,300-foot-long pier on Lake Michigan that’s home to an array of attractions, including a Ferris wheel, IMAX theater, and Chicago Children’s Museum.
- Evening: Catch a show at the Second City, a legendary comedy club that has launched the careers of many famous comedians, including Tina Fey and Steve Carell.
- Morning: Visit the Museum of Science and Industry, which features more than 400,000 square feet of exhibits and interactive displays. Highlights include the U-505 submarine and a full-scale replica of a coal mine.
- Afternoon: Explore the neighborhoods of Wicker Park and Bucktown, which are known for their trendy boutiques, independent bookstores, and vibrant street art.
- Evening: For dinner, head to Girl and the Goat, a popular restaurant that serves inventive dishes made with seasonal ingredients.
Of course, this itinerary is just a starting point – there’s so much to see and do in Chicago that you’ll never run out of options. Whether you’re interested in history, culture, food, or nightlife, the Windy City has something to offer everyone.
How to get to and around Chicago
Chicago is a major transportation hub, making it easy to get to and around the city. Here are some options for getting to and around Chicago:
Chicago O’Hare International Airport and Chicago Midway International Airport are the two major airports serving the city. Both airports are located within a 30-minute drive of downtown Chicago and are served by a variety of airlines. You can take a taxi, ride-sharing service, shuttle, or public transportation (such as the Chicago Transit Authority or Metra) to get from the airport to your destination.
If you’re driving to Chicago, major highways like I-90, I-94, and I-290 all lead to the city. However, be aware that traffic in and around downtown Chicago can be congested, especially during rush hour.
By Public Transportation:
The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) operates a comprehensive network of buses and trains that serve the city and surrounding suburbs. The ‘L’ (short for “elevated train”) is a popular and convenient way to get around the city, with multiple lines running throughout downtown and beyond. The CTA also operates buses that serve nearly every neighborhood in the city.
Chicago has an extensive network of bike lanes and dedicated bike paths, making it easy to get around the city on two wheels. You can rent a bike from Divvy, the city’s bike-sharing program, or bring your own.
Chicago is a pedestrian-friendly city, with many of its top attractions located within walking distance of each other. Exploring the city on foot is a great way to soak up its unique character and architecture.
No matter how you choose to get around Chicago, there are plenty of transportation options to fit your needs and budget.
Places to stay in Chicago
Chicago offers a wide range of accommodations to suit every budget and preference, from luxury hotels to budget-friendly hostels. Here are some options for places to stay in Chicago:
- The Langham, Chicago: This luxury hotel is located in a landmark skyscraper in the heart of downtown Chicago, offering stunning views of the city skyline. It features elegant rooms and suites, a spa, and an indoor swimming pool.
- The Peninsula Chicago: Another luxury hotel in downtown Chicago, The Peninsula offers spacious rooms and suites with city or lake views, as well as a rooftop bar, indoor swimming pool, and spa.
- Chicago Athletic Association: This historic hotel in the Loop was once a private club for Chicago’s elite. Today, it features stylish rooms and suites, a rooftop bar with panoramic views of the city, and several dining options.
- The Robey: Located in the trendy Wicker Park neighborhood, The Robey is a boutique hotel housed in a historic Art Deco building. It features stylish rooms and suites with city views, a rooftop lounge, and a café.
- Freehand Chicago: This budget-friendly hotel/hostel is located in the River North neighborhood and offers a range of accommodations, from private rooms to shared dorms. It features a communal kitchen, a rooftop bar, and a café.
- HI Chicago: Another budget-friendly option is HI Chicago, a hostel located in the Loop. It offers dormitory-style accommodations as well as private rooms, and features a communal kitchen, a game room, and free daily activities.
No matter where you choose to stay in Chicago, there are plenty of options to fit your budget and style.
What and where to eat in Chicago
Chicago is known for its diverse and delicious cuisine, from deep-dish pizza to Chicago-style hot dogs. Here are some must-try dishes and restaurants in Chicago:
- Deep-Dish Pizza: Chicago-style deep-dish pizza is a must-try when visiting the city. Some popular pizzerias include Lou Malnati’s, Giordano’s, and Pequod’s.
- Chicago-Style Hot Dogs: These hot dogs are a Chicago staple, topped with mustard, onion, sweet relish, tomato, pickle, and sport peppers. Try one at Portillo’s, Superdawg, or The Wiener’s Circle.
- Italian Beef: This sandwich is made with thinly sliced beef, served on a crusty roll, and topped with sweet peppers and hot giardiniera. Try one at Al’s Beef, Mr. Beef, or Johnnie’s Beef.
- Garrett Popcorn: This iconic Chicago snack is made with a special blend of cheddar and caramel popcorn. You can find it at Garrett Popcorn Shops throughout the city.
- Alinea: This three-Michelin-starred restaurant offers a unique and creative dining experience, with a menu that changes seasonally. Reservations are required and can be made in advance.
- Girl and the Goat: This popular restaurant serves up inventive dishes made with locally sourced ingredients. Be sure to try the goat empanadas or the roasted pig face.
- Portillo’s: In addition to their famous hot dogs, Portillo’s is also known for their Italian beef sandwiches and chocolate cake shake.
- Gibson’s Bar and Steakhouse: This classic Chicago steakhouse has been a favorite among locals for over 30 years. Try their signature dish, the 22-ounce bone-in ribeye.
No matter what type of cuisine you’re in the mood for, Chicago has plenty of options to satisfy your cravings.
Coworking in Chicago
Chicago is a hub for coworking spaces, offering a range of options for freelancers, entrepreneurs, and remote workers. Here are some popular coworking spaces in Chicago:
- WeWork: WeWork has multiple locations throughout Chicago, offering flexible office spaces, private offices, and meeting rooms. Members also have access to community events, networking opportunities, and other perks.
- 1871: Located in the Merchandise Mart, 1871 is a coworking space and tech incubator that supports early-stage startups and entrepreneurs. Members have access to office space, mentorship, and educational resources.
- MakeOffices: MakeOffices offers coworking spaces in multiple locations throughout Chicago, with amenities such as private offices, conference rooms, and a community kitchen.
- Industrious: Industrious has two locations in Chicago, offering coworking spaces, private offices, and meeting rooms. Members also have access to professional development workshops and networking events.
- Level Office: Level Office offers coworking spaces in multiple locations throughout Chicago, with amenities such as private offices, conference rooms, and high-speed internet.
- Novel Coworking: Novel Coworking has several locations in Chicago, offering coworking spaces, private offices, and meeting rooms. Members also have access to free coffee and networking events.
No matter what your needs are for coworking, Chicago has a range of options to fit your budget and preferences.