About Chicago

by SmarterTravel Staff

Ready to get swept away by the Windy City? There are so many things to do in Chicago, most people find one visit isn't enough. The Navy Pier, Millennium Park, and the Sears Tower Skydeck are perennial crowd pleasers. At the Field Museum, dinosaur fans can admire the largest T. rex ever found. The country's largest collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works live at the Art Institute of Chicago. Other museums delve into history, space, and the depths of the ocean. Best of all, many Chicago attractions are free. And with architecture that people come from all over to admire, getting an eyeful in Chicago is as easy as looking up.

Shopping is another activity that attracts people to Chicago from all over. North Michigan Avenue, known as the Magnificent Mile, is the city's premier shopping destination. And small boutiques reign in the Wicker Park-Bucktown shopping district. After the sun goes down, marquees at venues around the city draw crowds to the theater, improv, comedy, and dance performances.


Even in the heart of Chicago, visitors are never far from nature. Skirted by Lake Michigan to the east and threaded by the Chicago River (which is dyed green every St. Patrick's Day), Chicago is home to nearly 600 parks, 90 gardens, and 31 beaches along the 24 lake-front miles of park. Though it's notoriously cold in winter, Chicago puts the "great" in the "great outdoors" the remainder of the year.

Though it's only the third largest city in the U.S., Chicago is nothing short of a world hub. O'Hare, the city's primary airport, is the second busiest in the entire world. With so much traffic streaming through, finding flights to Chicago is an easy task from most cities.

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