Of course, the US is much more than the cities too, from the likes of Monument Valley, Yellowstone National Park to the gorgeous beauty of the Tennessee – there really is a piece of the US that’s perfect for each of us regardless of our personal tastes in holidays and travel in general.
This brings me of course to a place we’ve visited, loved and plan on re-visiting very soon – the windy city i.e. Chicago!
Snuggling the banks of Lake Michigan, Chicago has some pretty beautiful sights to see and things to do; especially when you visit for the very first time! Take a look at some of the very best places you must include on your trip to Chicago.
1.) Stroll across Navy Pier
Stretching out onto Lake Michigan with its iconic Ferris wheel and other amusements is Chicago’s Navy Pier. You’ll be able to enjoy plenty of shops, restaurants, gardens, exhibition areas, and age-old attractions as you make your way along the whole pier.
Just over 100 years old, it’s one of Chicago’s most loved areas!
2.) Chill in Millennium Park
Located along Lake Michigan, Millennium Park is the most iconic and exciting green space in Chicago. Originally built for, you guessed it, the millennium; the park is host to many events that take place throughout the year.
Dip into a little culture at one of the concerts that are held on the Great Lawn and Jay Pritzker Pavilion areas. If that’s not your thing, swing a ball or two at the famous Wrigley Stadium (or maybe just watch for us novices). 😉
Be sure to head to The Crown Fountain for a mix of technology and waterpark-style fun! Stroll down the Chase Promenade, making your way to the big bean (technically known as Cloud Gate). 🙂
3.) Spot ‘the bean’
Known as “The Bean”, Cloud Gate is a beautiful and impressive reflective sculpture by Indian-born British artist Anish Kapoor. Located in Millennium Park, Cloud Gate is not only fabulous to see and iconic when thinking of Chicago!
This fairly new addition to Chicago is a favourite you have to see!
4.) Gorge on Art at the Art Institute of Chicago
Nestled in Grant Park, is the gorgeous Art Institute of Chicago. Founded in 1879, this magnificent institution is one of the oldest (and largest) art museums in the whole of the US!
They’re over 300,000 different artefacts to discover, so make sure you set aside a few hours (or days) to see it all. 😉
5.) Shop, eat and sleep around the Magnificent Mile
If you’re looking for a huge array of shops, international cuisine, live entertainment, and take in some of the most beautiful natural and architectural sites in the city, head for the Magnificent Mile.
The Mile is a total of 13 blocks along Michigan Avenue, stretching from the banks of the Chicago River up to Oak Street. With over 275 restaurants, 460 stores, 60 hotels, and all sorts of fantastic attractions, the Magnificent Mile is a must-see for anyone in Chicago.
6.) Learn about conservation at Shedd
An aquarium might not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of things to see in a major world city, but Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium is not to be missed! It is the largest indoor aquarium in the world, showcasing over 8000 aquatic animals. Shedd also focuses their efforts to educate, promote and showcase the very best ways we can protect the marine environments and make the oceans a better place.
Interestingly, Shedd was the first inland aquarium to have permanent saltwater exhibits, with salt water taken directly from the seas of Key West and brought to Chicago via railroad tank cars.
7.) Enjoy the views at the John Hancock Center
The John Hancock Center is both a massive skyscraper as well as retail and business area located on North Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago. The 100-story tall building, which stands at 1,127 feet (344 m) tall, is one of the most iconic skyscrapers in the city.
Don’t forget, you can head to 360 CHICAGO, an incredible observation deck on the 94th floor of the building, for breathtaking views of the city, Lake Michigan, and the Magnificent Mile.
8.) Walk The Ledge at the Willis Tower
What used to be officially called (and is still frequently called) the Sears Tower, the Willis Tower is another iconic skyscraper in downtown Chicago. At 1,451 feet (442 m), this 108-story tall building is officially the tallest in the city, and offers some incredible views from the top.
Known as the Skydeck, the observation deck in the Willis Tower includes The Ledge, a pretty scary glass ledge and box that you can stand in to see the city below. As the glass floors of The Ledge dangle off the side of the building, the sight might be worth giving a miss if you suffer from vertigo!
9.) Learn about baseball at Wrigley Field
Whether you are a fan of baseball or not, you have certainly heard about Wrigley Field. Home of the Chicago Cubs, Wrigley Field was opened in 1914, originally as Weeghman Park. The Cubs played their first game there in 1916 when they beat the Cincinnati Reds. Eventually, the owner of the popular Wrigley chewing gum bought out the Cubs, and the field was renamed after the company in 1927.
If baseball is your thing, you can enjoy daily and group tours of Wrigley Field, and even catch a game if they go at the right time!
10.) Chow down, deep-dish style!
No visit to Chicago would be complete without a hefty and chunky slice of deep-dish pizza! With so many places to try, it can be tricky finding the right place for you.
Make sure to try Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria on Wells Street, known for their signature crusts. Or maybe Pequod’s Pizza on North Clybourn Avenue, where food and drinks are served until late. For more than just pizza, head to The Art of Pizza on North Ashland Avenue, where you can eat some carbolicious fresh pasta too!