If you haven’t been to Chicago then you are missing out on something. I was there to attend the American College of Surgeons meeting. Chicago is home to opera, jazz, museums, aquariums, parks, fountains, theatres, shopping malls, restaurants and extensive walking trails along the river.
Chicago was founded in 1833. It is the third most populous city in the United States. With over 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the state of Illinois and the Midwest.
Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport is the busiest airport in the world when measured by aircraft traffic. The region also has the largest number of U.S. highways and railroad freight. Chicago has many nicknames, the best-known being the Windy City.
In Chicago, tourism is a serious business. In 2014, Chicago attracted 50 million domestic leisure travellers, 11 million domestic business travellers and 1.3 million overseas visitors. These visitors contributed more than US$13.7 billion to Chicago’s economy.
There are many ways to take sightseeing tours in Chicago. Ferries offer sightseeing tours along the Chicago River and Lake Michigan. You can take Hop-On Hop-Off tourist bus or you can walk. A 2011 study by Walk Score ranked Chicago the fourth most walkable of fifty largest cities in the United States.
- The Magnificent Mile
Chicago’s Magnificent Mile is the great Chicago shopping experience with an abundance and variety of boutiques and stores. It can satisfy all your shopping needs with towering shopping centers, chic designer studios, intimate specialty retail shops, iconic department stores, lavish luxury boutiques and trendy favorites all within an easy stroll.
- The Millennium Park
In Millennium Park, there is the reflective Cloud Gate sculpture. Cloud Gate, a public sculpture by Indian-born British artist Anish Kapoor, is the centerpiece of the AT&T Plaza in Millennium Park. Also, an outdoor restaurant transforms into an ice rink in the winter season. Two tall glass sculptures make up the Crown Fountain. The fountain’s two towers display visual effects from LED images of Chicagoans’ faces, along with water spouting from their lips.
- Chicago Riverwalk and River Cruise
Originally, the Chicago River flowed into Lake Michigan, which was the source of the city’s drinking water. To improve public heath by reducing water pollution, engineers completed the reversal of the flow of the river in 1900. Now the water flows into Mississippi River and this keeps Lake Michigan clean. Since 1970, the city reduced pollution and started to beatify riverbanks with dazzling views, landscaped riverwalks, parks and cafes. The river today is a constantly changing and improving.
- Trump International Hotel and Tower (2009) – 1388 feet (423.1 meters)
At over 90 stories, Trump Tower, with a hotel at the base and residential units above, was designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, the firm responsible for Burj Khalifa, Dubai the world’s current tallest building.
- The Chicago Loop
The Chicago Loop is the central business district. The best way to go through the Loop is by taking Hop-On Hop-Off sight seeing bus.
With an estimated completion date of 2020, the Barack Obama Presidential Center will be housed at the University of Chicago in Hyde Park and include both the Obama presidential library and offices of the Obama Foundation.
If you plan to visit Chicago then make sure you plan well. Enjoy!
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