Chicago, an international hub of education, transportation, technology, finance and culture, is full of many sky-high buildings and majestic cityscape along with the mesmerizing landscape. If you are searching for a perfect vacation spot in the US, Chicago is the right choice for you, especially because it is home to beautiful parks, streets full of bustling malls, pleasing eateries, and stores. As the windy city, Chicago has innumerable surprises stored for its tourists, we would recommend you to read our detailed Chicago City Travel Guide before you go on a vacation.
Geography of the Chicago City:
This city is situated in the north-western shores of Lake Michigan, which covers an area of 234 sq Mi, in which 227.1 Sq Mi is the island and 6.9 Sq Mi is water.
The continental climate of Chicago City makes you experience all the four seasons over a year. The average summer temperature in the city is recorded around 24.4 °C. So, you can enjoy a cooler weather condition even in summers, especially because of the location of the city. Winters here witness the temperature that is often below the freezing point. And, at times, the seasonal snowfall can also be experienced in the city, due to which January and February are the coldest months in the year.
How to commute in Chicago?
Chicago is well -connected with the rest of the world via airways, trains, and roads. There are many modes through which you can reach the city from any part of the USA. You can opt between flights, buses, cars, or trains to reach Chicago as per your choice and preference.
Major Airports in the city:
Boarding a flight to the city of Chicago is the most convenient way to reach the destination apart from the other modes such as roads or trains. To reach the city, you need to read our Chicago City Travel Guide and book flights to Chicago for any of the below-given airports.
- O’Hare International Airport
- Chicago DuPage County Airport
- Chicago executive airport
Airlines That Offer Flights To Chicago:
- American Airlines
- United Airlines
- Alaska Airlines
- Delta Airlines
Road & Water Transportation in the Chicago city:
- Chicago Transit Authority (CTA): CTA operates the second largest public transportation system in the US. It covers the Chicago city and also 35 surrounding suburbs, providing 1.6 million convenient rides every day.
- Metro Rail: This rail system in the city operates 242 stations on 11 lines, and it is also the fastest and easiest way to travel around the city.
- Taxi: The best option for a quick ride in and around the city, taxis are a popular mode of transport in Chicago. Also, you can use the Chicago App to hail and pay for the taxi ride online, which is a good option for the first time goers.
- Water Taxis: By using the resources of the Chicago River, Chicago Water Taxi, and Shoreline Water Taxi provide enjoyable and hassle-free commuting services to the travellers.
- Limousine & Shuttle Services: Book your private shuttle or limousine for your outing, if you want to explore Chicago in luxury.
Best time to visit the City:
Chicago can be visited throughout the year, but if you want to enjoy the vacation to the fullest, then plan a trip between September and October. During these two months, the beauty of the city remains at its peak, while climatic conditions are favorable for both outdoor and indoor activities.
Tourist Attractions in Chicago
Riverwalk: The walker-friendly 3.4-mile stretch is the perfect spot to spend an evening with your loved ones. If you are on a romantic outing with your partner, then a romantic date night at any of the restaurants or pubs would be great. To experience something unique in the city, you can take a boat ride or kayak down the river.
Buckingham Fountain: Situated in the heart of Grant Park, Buckingham Fountain has its name in the list of the largest fountains in the world. This finest ornamental fountain in America showcases a major water display from 8 AM to 11 at night. Reach at the place before 10:35 PM when the final water show is held, accompanied by magnificent music and light show.
Millennium Park: A vacation in the windy city is considered incomplete without a visit to this park. The main highlight of the park is “the Bean,” which is a steel sculpture built in the shape of a bean which reflects the skyline of the Chicago city. It is one of the top things to do in Chicago, and if you are lucky enough, you might also witness a live concert or any fest at the park.
Magnificent Mile: Referred to as The Mag Mile, this Magnificent Mile of Michigan Avenue has countless luxury retailers, top-notch eateries, and super luxury hotels. Known for its vibrant nightlife, you can bring out the shopaholic in you at this shopping district of Chicago, followed by experiencing the delicious cuisines, served at plush eateries.
North Avenue Beach: Being the most popular swimming spot in the Windy City, North Avenue Beach has a huge are for the visitors to take part in various fun-filled activities, including volleyball courts. Being a popular destination, here the beach-goers can also find many restaurants nearby, which serves mouth-watering delicacies that you cannot afford to miss.
Navy Pier: It is a 3,300-foot long pier on the Lake Michigan Shore that features lush parks, family attractions, restaurants, beautiful gardens, shops, and amazing exhibition facilities. You can have a thrilling wheel ride offered in the park while enjoying the views of the city. Basically, it is an ideal place where you can spend a day with your loving family.
Willis Tower Sky Deck: Being Chicago’s most famous tourist attraction, it is also the highest observation deck in the United States. Viewing the city from 1,353 feet above the ground through the retractable glass balconies gives visitors a lifetime of experience.
Sports in the city:
Referred to as the “Best Sports City” in the United States, Chicago is probably the only city in the country to host major professional sports since 1871 along with Boston. The city has a lot to offer to their sports-loving visitors such as:
Chicago Sports Museum: This museum celebrates sport’s events with simulated experiences and relics. You can enjoy many thrilling skill challenges which use body tracking technology to score. It is also the home to city’s largest 2016 world series memorabilia.
United Center: Being an indoor arena, United Center is also the home to Chicago Bulls for basketball and Chicago Blackhawks for hockey. In the off season, the arena is used for various memorable concerts by the famous artists and musicians.
Whirlyball: A perfect spot to spend your weekend that features three whirly ball locations to play the sport. They also have 12 bowling lanes, multi-level laser tag arena, and a terrace showcasing the skyline of the windy city.
Popular festivals from Chicago:
Chicago Blues Festival: The Blues Festival is held in early June every year, which features performances of many popular musicians for three days straight. It is the largest music festival in Chicago as well as in the world. From the very first time, it has witnessed many performances of legendary artists like Bonnie Raitt, Bobby Rush, and B.B. King.
Chicago International Film Festival: Founded in the year 1964, Chicago Film Festival is the longest-running annual film festival in North America. This prestigious festival honors various short stories and documentaries from over 50 countries. Held annually during every autumn, Chicago Film Festival is a must-visit event in the city.
Arts in the Dark: A magical evening parade which celebrates the Halloween as the “artists holiday”. The parade features spectacle puppets, unique floats and creative performances through which it brings the famous institutions and artists together.
Famous Restaurants in Chicago:
Alinea: The only restaurant in Chicago which is retaining its three-star status, Alinea is awarded as the highest level of recognition, given by the AAA, i.e. AAA Five Diamond Award. Also, having its name in the list of best restaurants in the world, Alinea serves mouth-watering food that you can’t afford to miss during your vacation.
The Berghoff: Serving delicious German cuisine, the Berghoff is a 121-year-old renowned restaurant. Famous for offering mouth-watering delicacies and fresh beer, you are going to have a gala time here.
What to pack for a vacation to Chicago?
When you go ahead with the packing, start with the basics; such as clothes and toiletries. Keep the climatic condition and weather updates on your mind and carry your items accordingly. After packing the above things, go through this check-list of other items you will need before embarking on a tour:
- A portable charger: To make sure your cell phone’s battery doesn’t leave you in the middle of the day, carrying a portable charger should be your priority.
- Hand Sanitizer: Carrying hand sanitizer is highly recommendable to the travelers as it reduces the chances of various diseases while traveling caused due to germs.
- Water bottle: Don’t forget to carry a water bottle as it reduces your risk of dehydration.
- Map: Keeping a handy map of the city where you are tarveling will help you with the location. So, don’t forget to carry one.
- Camera: Bring a camera with yourself to capture those refreshing moments of the vacation.
- Backpack: Every traveler should carry a backpack with themselves to carry important documents and other things handy. Also, choose a bag with the size in which you can put all the above things safely.
Now, you are much aware of the places by reading this Chicago Travel Guide. So, it is the time to book a flight to Chicago for a perfect vacation.
The architectural & cultural values of Chicago are one of the major attractions for the city. Music, sports & theater of the city are also other major reasons tourist visit the place.
Yes, the 1.25 mile long Chicago Riverwalk is free for all visitors from 6:00AM to 11:00PM. Also during this time it offers a variety of dining, entertainment, and recreation options.
Chicago is a completely kids and family friendly destination. You can plan a family outing for this city.