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An aerial view of Grant Park in Chicago

Illinois

Chicago, Illinois: Take a Walk to See the Sights

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  • States:
    Illinois

See stunning architecture, breathtaking scenery, iconic landmarks and famous shopping streets when you experience the city on foot.

With more than 42 kilometers of lakefront that is accompanied by an impressive skyline, Chicago is the third-largest city in the USA. Immerse yourself in the charm and excitement of the city by taking a walk (or bike ride) through these iconic areas.

Millennium Park

At Millennium Park, you’ll find a vibrant and spectacular place right in the center of the city. It features 10 hectares of beautiful landscaping, breathtaking architecture and a vast collection of public art. Be sure to grab a selfie at the Cloud Gate sculpture (known as “The Bean” to the locals). This seamless oval is made out of highly polished stainless steel plates and is the work of British artist Anish Kapoor. It is one of the largest sculptures of its kind in the world, measuring at 20 meters long and more than nine meters high. Catch a free show at Jay Pritzker Pavilion, a futuristic open-air concert venue that blends perfectly with the skyline. Go for a run through the BP Bridge, a stainless steel path that creates a sound barrier between the pavilion and the traffic noise at street level.  Wander through Lurie Garden, an award-winning masterpiece in botanical landscaping with seasonal displays of beauty. Cool off in the summer at the fantastic Crown Fountain – framed by two 15-meter towers that project facial images of Chicago citizens – or go for a skate at the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink and Plaza in the winter.

The Cloud Gate sculpture, also known as "The Bean," in Millennium Park

The Cloud Gate sculpture, also known as "The Bean," in Millennium Park
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Grant Park

Adjoining Millennium Park, take a stroll through scenic, waterfront Grant Park to see one of the largest fountains in the world, the Clarence F. Buckingham Memorial Fountain. Constructed in 1927, the fountain represents Lake Michigan, with four pairs of Art Deco style sea horses that symbolize the four states that border it. It contains more than 5,678,117 liters of water and nearly 200 jets, with a center jet that streams water 47 meters into the air. From April to October each year, this iconic destination offers spectacular music, lights and fountain shows every hour from late afternoon until 11pm.

Chicago Lakefront Trail

The Chicago Lakefront Trail spans 29 kilometers along the shore of Lake Michigan. Bike, walk, run or skate this trail for the perfect waterfront tour of beautiful Chicago. Start at the south end of the South Shore Cultural Center and follow the path through the beautiful greenery of Jackson Park. Grab some photos when you arrive at Promontory Point – a scenic peninsula that gives you amazing views of the Chicago skyline. Stroll by the nature sanctuaries of Burnham Park; Soldier Field, the home of the Chicago Bears; the dome of Adler Planetarium; the Roman pillars of Shedd Aquarium and arrive in downtown Chicago at Grant Park. Continue on your journey through the tree-lined Lincoln Park that houses the world-famous Lincoln Zoo. Next you’ll see North Avenue Beach, Montrose Beach and Foster Beach. This scenic trail ends at the beautiful shores of Kathy Osterman Beach.

There are many amenities located along the route; restrooms, water fountains and concessions are everywhere. Take your time and soak in the beautiful sights of the Chicago Lakefront.

Jogging on the Chicago Lakefront Trail along the Lake Michigan shoreline

Jogging on the Chicago Lakefront Trail along the Lake Michigan shoreline
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The Magnificent Mile

On Michigan Avenue between Oak Street and the Chicago River lies the Magnificent Mile: a shopper’s paradise that is packed with around 460 luxury boutiques, department stores and multi-story mega malls, including the famous Water Tower Place: eight floors of fashion stores for you to shop your heart out. Here you will find American Girl Place – American Girl’s very first flagship store, Macy’s, Abercrombie & Fitch, Sephora, Tourneau, TUMI, Nine West, Akira, Coach, Lacoste, Bebe, Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, distinctive specialty shops and boutiques and so much more.

When you’re finished shopping, check out a performance at the Broadway Playhouse, located at the base of Water Tower Place, where you can see shows traveling directly from Broadway, or premiere shows that are on their way to Broadway.

The Magnificent Mile is more than just storefronts. You’ll find 300 restaurants and 60 hotels nestled in to this 13-block stretch, as well as beautiful bridges, a gorgeous view of the waterfront on the Chicago Riverwalk and the Riverwalk Gateway that has murals depicting noteworthy events and important sites along the river. The Magnificent Mile Shopping Festival awaits you in August with a variety of events, fashion shows and concerts. In winter, you’ll see the gorgeous holiday decorations and the annual Lights Festival.

Shopping excursion inside Water Tower Place on the Magnificent Mile in Chicago

Shopping excursion inside Water Tower Place on the Magnificent Mile in Chicago
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