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Exploring Chicago

Vibrant, sprawling, swaggering and famed as the home of the blues, the great, mid-western city of Chicago lies on Lake Michigan and welcomes visitors with genuine friendliness. Known for its culture, the city is America’s third largest, with its buzzing downtown district surrounded by its three vast ‘Sides’, the northern, southern and western regions. Huge parks, magnificent downtown architecture, great museums, theatres, miles of lakeside beaches and iconic sights are all here.

Exploring Chicago is easy via the CTA public transport system, which offers an extensive overland rail service, plus trams and buses. In general, the network is inexpensive, efficient and mostly safe to use. Downtown, known as the Loop, holds the majority of the attractions, museums, hotels, dining, shopping and nightlife options, and there’s so much to see and do that many visitors don’t get beyond the district. Drivers will be pleased to discover that the city is based on a grid design, but should avoid the Loop for its heavy traffic and few parking places and concentrate on the beauties and pretty towns along Lake Michigan’s shores

Sights nearby

Several months’ stay wouldn’t be enough to enjoy the city has to offer as regards museums, galleries, heritage and ultra-modern buildings, the glorious lakeside surroundings and endless entertainment options. Chicago’s multi-ethnic mix makes for diverse neighbourhoods still rich in immigrant culture and fascinating to explore after you’ve seen the highlights of the downtown district.

Along the Magnificent Mile
The Magnificent Mile is the true heart of the city, and holds a famous walking tour taking in the grandest buildings, museums, great views of the cityscape from below as well as above and the Chicago icon of the Old Water Tower, famous for its survival of the devastating 1871 Great Chicago Fire. Michigan Avenue’s blocks of upscale department stores are a wealthy shopaholic’s dream.

Located in the city’s South Side district and bordering the old Irish neighbourhood, Chicago’s Chinatown is dynamic, authentic and the third largest Chinese enclave in the USA. From ethnic stores through Buddhist temples to an endless choice of Chinese restaurants, this vibrant local community and its Chinese Marketplace are must-sees for visitors.

Lincoln Park and Old Town
For peace and quiet away from the buzzing city streets, Lincoln Park with its lovely lake and spectacular views of the cityscape is the perfect place. The neighbouring Old Town Triangle Historic District oozes pre-fire charm, with century-old buildings lining its winding streets.

Eating and drinking and shopping nearby

The Loop is Chicago’s tourism hub, offering a great choice of hotels such as the JW Marriott and the Hyatt Regency, all offering first class restaurants, and excellent public transportation links across the city, although the best in fine dining is found in the North Side. Shopping along the Magnificent Mile in the Near North district is upscale, and for unique small stores, the Lincoln Park area is fun, as is the River North art and design gallery district. Chicago is famed as a world-class restaurant town, with every wallet catered for and a huge choice of cuisines. Lincoln Park is celebrity chef land, and the city is known for its deep-dish pizzas and amazing variety of international foods as well as for its many thousands of bars and pubs.

Public transport

The Chicago Transit Authority runs a comprehensive network of public transport offering routes across the city via rapid transit subway and elevated rail, trams, overland commuter rail services and buses. The L rapid transit system is the most convenient for exploring, and for getting to Chicago from its international airport. The Blue Line train service runs 24/7, and all fares are paid with transit cards bought at all CTA stations.

Chicago travel guides

Chicago Travel Guides

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