Your Ultimate Chicago Travel Guide: Great Tips for Your Trip
Check out these handy tips that will ensure you have the most amazing trip to Chicago.
So you're heading to Chicago? As the third largest city in the United States you will not be short of places to explore. Spread over over 10,000 kilometers, the city is currently home to over three million people and has so much to offer. From museums and galleries to vibrant bars and a picturesque skyline, Chicago has something for everyone's tastes. Whether you are travelling to the city for a couple of weeks or even a couple of months, Chicago has a number of iconic neighborhoods to explore. To not miss out on any of Chicago's marvels have a look at some of our top tips below.
Now you have probably heard of Chicago 360 as it is one of the most famous attractions the city has to offer but just because it is a popular tourist attraction does not mean you should give it a miss. It is amazing! If you are thinking of ways to find it, don't worry it is situated on Chicago's Magnificent Mile.
For those that don't know Magnificent Mile, it is a section of Michigan Avenue situated between Chicago River to Oak Street. 360 Chicago offers all visitors the most amazing views of the city. Over 1000 feet high you can not only see the entire city skyline but also an incredible view of Lake Michigan. If you're not one for high top views, you can always indulge in the awesome cafe that can be found on the 94th floor.
As one of the most popular tourist destinations in Chicago, there is no way you can head to the city without visit Magnificent Mile. As one of, if not the most popular street in Chicago you will be able to shop until you drop. If you start on Chicago avenue and head North for a mile you'll be able to make the most of every single store the Magnificent Mile has to offer. It doesn't matter what you are looking for you will be able to find it there.
Aside for the amazing shops, the Magnificent Mile is Chicago's most famous dining district where you can pretty much choose from any type of cuisine. If you are not a big shopper and are not out to grab a bite to eat you may want to head to Magnificent Mile for the architecture. The buildings are majestic and if you can head there over the Christmas period you'll be able to see the lights parade.
Grant Park isn't just your usual park. It is in fact filled with historical and natural value. Grant Park dates back to 1835, where citizens chose to preserve the open space in order to not be overcome by commercial developments. Grant Park is the best known park in the city and is proudly known as Chicago's Backyard to all its locals. Aside from being a park it also features some of the most popular attractions in Chicago. These include Millennium Park, Buckingham Fountain, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum Campus.
Throughout the year there are a number of events of all types from art, to music and everything in between. Very similar to New York's Central Park, the park is home to the most impressive and iconic museums the city has to offer. In Grant Park you can find the Art Institute, the Field Museum of Natural History, the Shedd Aquarium and the Adler Planetarium. Not only can you explore the culture and history of Chicago but there are areas to indulge in both baseball and tennis. You can also visit the marinas and the skate park.
You have probably already seen Cloud Gate in a few big Blockbuster movies. Designed by Indian born, British artist Anish Kapoor, Cloud Gate is a shiny metallic sculpture in the shape of a bean. Okay, that doesn't sound too impressive but you will see once you get there that it is well worth a visit.
The futuristic bean arrived in Millennium Park in 2004 and has been a hit ever since, tourists and locals gather year round to take pictures and see their distorted reflections in the metallic sculpture. Stretched faces, exaggerated curves, funny looking facial features, you can walk around and under it.
Not only can you play around with your own face and body in the reflection of "the bean" but Cloud Gate is worth a visit just to see the reflection of Chicago's skyline. If you can visit during the day and at night you will get the full experience as the bean is completely black once night falls. The only thing that defines the shape is the big city lights.
Shedd Aquarium is Chicago's most popular cultural tourist destination. Situated next to the Field Museum and Adler Planetarium, Shedd Aquarium is home to over 30,000 different animals from the big blue sea. From fish to penguins and even some of the bigger species of the ocean, you will not be disappointed.
In fact, you can probably schedule a few visits if you have time as it is hard to take in everything in just one day. Make sure you schedule your day appropriately in order to not miss out on the Aquatic Show and the Penguin Encounter. If you really want a "wow" factor experience you will really not want to miss out on the new Abbott Oceanarium which features some of the bigger mammals of the water.
This 360 degree Caribbean reef sea home will give you an incredible insight into the world of beluga whales, Pacific white-sided dolphins, Alaska sea otters and California sea lions. Just the tank itself is an impressive experience!
Perched on Lake Michigan, the Adler Planetarium is exciting from the moment you set eyes on it from the outside. It is one of the other favorite tourist and local destinations and is home to one of the most advanced technological done theaters.
Aside from exploring the Planetarium, you can visit a number of shows as there are a large number of theaters. There are nine exhibitions running and on top of everything the Atwood Sphere is a great way to get to know the skies of Chicago as they were in the early 1900s. The Adler Planetarium is not just an excuse to have a look at pretty stars, it will also teach you all you need to know about the universe and beyond.
From a view of the Milky Way on the Galaxy Wall to 30 minute shows on how our Solar System works, there is so much to see and more importantly, so much to learn.
The Field Museum
The Field Museum is probably the most historical and cultural experience you will ever have. The museum takes you billions of years back into the past where you can experience animals, people and cultures like no other. Although it takes you through the ages one of the biggest and most exciting attractions has to be the Egyptian tombs. Very few places in America offer such an experience.
Featuring mummies, original tombs, the spooky book of the dead and so on you will find yourself going on a little adventure through time before you know it. Field is a great place to learn about where we came from and how we evolved. Aside from people and animals the museum features exhibitions on precious stones and their evolution throughout the years, from discovery to their transformation into the precious jewelry we have today.
The museum even features the creatures of before but not just encased in little glass jars or anything like that. They are reproduced at over 100 times their original size. For something to impress the kids, feast your eyes on the largest Tyrannosaurus Rex in the world! Plus, this T-Rex known as SUE still has 58 petrifying teeth.
Chicago Sports Teams
If you are a sports fan you won't want to miss out on the Chicago Sports Teams. From baseball, to football and everything in between, You can visit stadiums, get tours and the list goes on. Soldier Field is the oldest stadium in the NFL and is an amazing experience in itself. For those Bulls, Bears and Blackhawks fans you are in for a treat.
Aside from stadium tours you can also visit the famous Michael Jordan bronze statue. But the experience doesn't stop there. Not only will you be able to visit stadiums, pitches and some great souvenirs stores but you can get a real sports game dining experience and even watch a live game if you fancy it!
From history to stadiums, souvenirs and food, these experiences are made for the most eager of sports fans. It really is the ultimate sporting experience and one you will not want to miss.
Make it a long trip and don't miss out on anything!
Chicago really offers something for everyone, from culture, to history, sports and art you won't be disappointed by this entertaining city. If you are not one for museums or stadiums then why not hit up a show. The Chicago Theater is an amazing experience no matter which show you decide to attend.
For the nature lovers out there, Chicago is filled with parks and you can do the Lakefront trail which is really beautiful especially in the summer months. Navy Pier is a great place for all things food, shops and attractions galore. For the nerds out there you can always visit the Museum of Science and Industry which is the first museum in North America that allows guests to really get close to the exhibits.
Chicago is a popular destination with lots to offer and a place you just can't miss if you are visiting the area. For more information on destinations in the USA make sure you have a look at all the other amazing locations featured on the site.
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