Chicago

Chicago, IL

Chicago, the windy city will amaze you with its skyscraper skyline along the shores of Lake Michigan. The city has everything from beaches, nightclubs, world class museums and unique contemporary architecture to lush green parks and gardens. You may hear Chicago referred to as the second city, this is because the city was burnt to the ground in a catastrophic fire in 1817 and was completely rebuilt. The core of the city is the Loop and Michigan Ave, there is a comprehensive public transport system and you’ll find the finest museums in what is called the Museum Campus. To see public art follow the Loop which incorporates sculptures by some of the finest artists like Picasso, Miro and Lewitt. Apart from visual arts Chicago is known for its performing arts, Blues, Jazz and comedy clubs.

Consider getting the Go Chicago Pass Card if you want to see all the sites, there is also a family card, a museum card and a children’s card. The Chicago City Pass gets you into 5 of the top attractions, buy online for $84 ($69 for kids).


Must Sees!


John G. Shedd Aquarium

1200 South Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60605
312-939-2438
Hours of Operation:
Mon to Fri 9 – 5
Sat & Sun 9 – 6
Entrance Cost:
$8 On-wards
 

Shedd Aquarium

This enormous aquarium has various tanks like the wild reef, oceanarium, local waters and Amazon rising among others which create the water habitats of the world. The Caribbean Reef is in a rotunda 90,000 gallon tank so you can see the creatures from 360 ̊. There is an aquarium show with performing dolphins, beluga whales and sea lions. It is also possible to dive with the fish, visit behind the scenes, kids can camp over night or have an animal encounter all for an extra fee.  The aquarium has a 4D experience as well. The Chicago City Pass includes entrance to Shedds or you could get a Total Experience Pass ($34.95 for adults, $25.95 for kids) which gets you into all the Shedds attractions. General admission includes the Caribbean Reef, Waters of the World and Amazon Rising for $8 for adults and $6 for kids. There are separate ticket prices for the aquatics show and the 4D experience but you can see a full list of the ticket combos available on the Shedds website. The site is open daily from 9am to 6pm in the summer. Find Shedds at 1200 South Lake Shore Drive on the Chicago Museum Campus.


Millennium Park

201 E. Randolph St., between Michigan Ave. and Columbus Ave.
Chicago, IL 60602
312-742-1168
Hours of Operation:
Daily 6 am to 11 pm
Entrance Cost:
Free
 

Millenium Park Chicago

This is a dynamic hub of art and activity which incorporates contemporary architecture, public art, sculpture, landscaped gardens and the less formal Lurie Garden. Within the park are performance venues like the Jay Pritzker Pavilion there is also the Cloud Gate an interactive reflecting sculpture in the park’s center. The unique Crown Fountain is a 50 foot tower of glass with water cascading down it with projected images of 1,000 Chicagoan faces. The park is good for cycling and relaxing as well as ice skating in the winter. The Wrigley Square and the many path ways are waiting to be discovered. Theatre lovers can visit the Harris Theatre and art lovers can take the Nichols Bridgeway across Monroe Street to the Modern Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago. There is something for everyone among the 525 free events hosted in the 24.5 acre park each year. Entrance to the park is free and it is open from 6am until 11pm daily. The park is surrounded by Michigan Ave, Columbus Drive, Randolph Street and Monroe Drive.


Navy Pier

600 East Grand Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611
312-595-7437
Hours of Operation:
Sun-Thu 10am-8pm
Fri-Sat 10am-10pm
Entrance Cost:
$5 On-wards
 

Navy Pier

This extensive pier juts out into Lake Michigan by Streeterville and has been here since its completion in 1916. The pier was intended for shipping use and entertainment but was used for naval training in World War two and as university space following the war. Redevelopment of the pier cost 150 million dollars in the 90s establishing this national monument as a hot tourist attraction and entertainment center. The Headhouse and Auditorium are the two remaining structures from the original 1916 design. The Headhouse now houses the Children’s Museum and there are 50 acres of parkland and garden including the Gateway Park with its computerized fountain. Other attractions on the pier include the 148 foot high Ferris Wheel, the 44 foot high carousel, the Skyline theatre (and ice rink in winter),  a stained glass museum, the Shakespeare Theatre, mini-golf course, a maze,  beer garden and an IMAX cinema. There are individual prices for the various attractions on the pier.


Must Eats!


Hot Doug’s – $

3324 North California Avenue
Chicago, IL 60618
773-279-9550
Hours of Operation:
Mon-Sat 10:30am – 4pm
Sun Closed
Cost: $

Hot Dougs

Although the food here is cheap the hot dogs with original names are known for their quality and great taste. You can get entrees for under $10 with classic hot dogs as well as “haute dogs” like the Tequila black bean chicken sausage and the wild boar sausage with blue cheese. In this favorite hot dog joint in Logan Square, 3324 N California Ave you may even be served by Doug himself.


Portillo’s Hot Dogs – $

100 West Ontario Street
Chicago, IL 60654
312-587-8910
Hours of  Operation:
Sun, Sat 11am-9pm
Mon-Fri 9:30am-9pm
Cost: $
 

Portillos

In the hot dog city you’ll be spoilt for choice of where to sample a dog, but this establishment tops the Urbanspoon.com best Chicago restaurant list. The entrees under $10 include soups, Italian beef, chicken pecan salad and burgers. The Chicago hot dog takes pride of place on the menu together with other classic Chicago treats. The atmosphere is good in this large restaurant which also has a drive-through in River North at 100 W Ontario Street and another branch at 1992 W Jefferson Ave.


Fogo de Chao $$$$

661 North La Salle Drive
Chicago, IL 60654
312-932-9330
Hours of Operation:
Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:00-2:00
Dinner: Mon-Thur 5:00-10:00, Fri 5:00-10:30, Sat 4:00-10:30, Sun 4:00-9:30
Cost: $$$$
 

Fogo De Chao

For fine carnivorous dining at 661 N Lasalle Street sample Fogo de Chao’s lamb, beef, chicken and especially the steaks, pork and other Brazilian churrascaria dishes. The all-you-can-eat steakhouse is in a large industrial space and gauchos carve your meat for you off of large chunks of meat at the table.  Vegetarians won’t go hungry with the smoked salmon, aged manchego cheese as well as an ample salad bar.

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Must-Sees!
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