With a truly unique mix of global attractions and local charm, Chicago has it all.
Just imagine: more than 26 miles of lakefront nestled within a stunning architectural skyline. Here in the heart of the Midwest, the nation’s third largest city boasts sandy beaches and beautiful parks against a backdrop of downtown skyscrapers and colourful neighborhoods.
It’s an urban playground where you’ll find world-class accommodation, incredible arts and culture, shopping, dining and nightlife. With such a variety of things to see and do, there’s something for everyone.
Sightseeing options range from Chicago icons – such as Millennium Park’s Cloud Gate, Grant Park’s Buckingham Fountain and Navy Pier’s Ferris wheel – to fascinating history and architecture tours. With several of the world’s tallest buildings located here, Chicago is a showcase for modern masterpieces and historic landmarks by America’s greatest architects including Frank Lloyd Wright, Daniel Burnham and Louis Sullivan.
Chicago is renowned for its cultural offerings with more than 40 museums and a dedicated Museum Campus, home to The Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium and Adler Planetarium. Don't miss the Art Institute of Chicago, which contains 300,000 works in its permanent collection, and Museum of Science and Industry, the largest in the Western Hemisphere.
As the only U.S. city with five regional Tony Award-winning theaters (Goodman Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Lookingglass Theatre, Victory Gardens Theater and Steppenwolf Theatre), Chicago’s theater scene takes center stage. Between the Downtown Theater District, Broadway in Chicago and local storefront productions in nearly every neighborhood, you can catch shows at over 200 theaters in the city, in addition to enjoying performances from esteemed companies such as Joffrey Ballet, Lyric Opera and Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Chicago’s culinary scene is filled with star chefs, unique ethnic eateries and award-winning fine dining restaurants known around the world. Just as famous is the Chicago-style hot dog and deep dish pizza. As a top food destination, the city boasts 7,300 restaurants in every budget and cuisine, in addition to annual food festivals Taste of Chicago and Chicago Gourmet.
From massive department stores to neighborhood boutiques, Chicago is a shopper’s paradise. Not to be missed is Michigan Avenue’s eight-block stretch, The Magnificent Mile, with over 160 stores showcasing major fashion labels and brand names.
Blues, Jazz, Rock, Classical – you’ll find every genre at live music clubs and outdoor events like Millennium Park concerts, Lollapalooza and the Chicago Blues Festival. For nightlife, head to the many cocktail lounges, sports bars or dance clubs that dot the entertainment landscape. Or get tickets to legendary comedy club The Second City.
And that’s just the beginning: Chicago’s calendar is packed with local street festivals, holiday celebrations and special events year-round.
The best of America is right here and the multicultural mix is a reflection of the world — 2.7 million people call Chicago home, and our 77 distinct neighborhoods represent over 100 countries. In these neighborhoods is where the incredible diversity of the city is most evident, and where adventure awaits around every corner.
It’s a one-of-a-kind destination, and you just won’t find a friendlier, more exciting big city than Chicago.
Chicago, Illinois Highlights
Don't leave without tasting...
- Chicago's famous deep dish pizza at Lou Malnati's or The Original Gino's East
- A Chicago hot dog at Hot Doug's or Portillo's. Note: A real Chicago hot dog does not include ketchup
- A juicy steak at Harry Caray’s Italian Steakhouse or David Burke's Primehouse.
You might be surprised by...
You can take a tour through the city on a boat along the Chicago River. Numerous sightseeing cruises stand ready to give you a glimpse of Chicago’s past, present and future with insightful observations and little-known anecdotes.
Top photo opportunities
Anish Kapoor’s ‘Cloud Gate’ sculpture—known to locals as 'The Bean'—in Millennium Park is the ultimate Chicago photo opportunity. Check out your reflection and see the skyline in this giant bean-like sculpture that is like nothing you’ve ever seen.
Chicago’s famous Museum Campus along the lakefront consists of the Shedd Aquarium, Adler Planetarium and The Field Museum. Chicago also has the largest science museum in the Western Hemisphere, the Museum of Science and Industry. The largest Impressionist and Post-Impressionist collection outside of the Louvre in Paris can be found at the Art Institute of Chicago, and breathtaking art from past to present awaits you at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Cultural hubs include the DuSable Museum of African American History and Oriental Institute Museum. There’s even the International Museum of Surgical Science.
Want to stay up late?
Head to the River North neighbourhood for great nightlife, including bars, clubs, pubs and lounges. Beyond River North, you can watch music icons at Buddy Guy’s Legends, Kingston Mines or Chicago’s oldest Blues bar, B.L.U.E.S.
Your kids will always remember...
The Ledge at Skydeck Chicago in the Willis Tower is a fully encased glass balcony that extends several feet out of the 103rd floor of one of the world’s tallest skyscrapers. You’ll be able to see the bustling streets of Chicago a quarter of a mile beneath your feet!
Don't overlook this...
Oak Park, a historic suburb that borders Chicago, is home to many famous buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. It is also the birthplace of Ernest Hemingway.
- An eclectic community, Old Town is one of Chicago’s premier places to laugh (at The Second City or Zanies), see a show (at Steppenwolf Theatre), eat (from elite restaurants like Alinea to unpretentious pubs like Old Town Ale House) and shop
- Wrigleyville is named after its historic baseball field, Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs. For hours before and after a game, fans enjoy the many sports bars, cheering in places like Cubby Bear and Murphy’s Bleachers
- Boystown is the epicentre of Chicago’s GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender) community. Boystown has a thriving and vibrant nightlife scene with clubs such as the Kit Kat Lounge & Supperclub and Sidetrack
- West of River North are the quirky neighbourhoods of Wicker Park and Bucktown, where hipsters, urban professionals and young families converge. You will find designer stores alongside vintage boutiques, vegan restaurants next to steakhouses, casual BYOB (Bring Your Own Beer) restaurants next to formal eateries.
- The Go Chicago Card works as a ticket and an all-access pass to Chicago’s museums, tours and attractions. And the Chicago CityPass is a great way to jump queues and save half off on regular admission prices
- Lincoln Park Zoo is one of the nation’s last remaining free zoos
- Hot Tix sells half-price theatre tickets to plays throughout the Chicago area.
- The Magnificent Mile—Michigan Avenue between the Michigan Avenue Bridge and Oak Street—contains Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, three malls and more
- Located in the Loop, in a historic building on State Street, Macy’s is one of the largest department stores in the world
- Meanwhile, Jewelers Row Chicago lets you browse dozens of jewellery stores, all in one building
- The Lincoln Park and Wicker Park/Bucktown neighbourhoods are filled with independent boutiques.