Chicago is known by many as the windy city, but did you know that it’s also called America’s second city? There’s a good reason for that – because it’s an incredibly vibrant city with so much to see and do. Unfortunately, a lot of people overlook Chicago when they are planning a trip.
You could easily spend weeks there and still not scratch the surface of things to do. However, if you are just planning a long weekend, you can still have a great time in Chicago. If you’re still not convinced, here’s why Chicago should be top of your list of US cities to visit.
If you’re a foodie and you’re always checking out restaurants and menus when deciding where to go, you won’t be disappointed in Chicago. It is, of course, the home of deep dish pizza, and even if you prefer a New York style, you must sample a deep dish from Chicago, because there’s nothing like it. However, Chicago isn’t just about pizza; there are so many amazing downtown Chicago restaurants to try, with a range of cuisines from around the world. You’ll find some incredible fusion restaurants, like Oriole, serving Japanese American cuisine. There are some excellent classic BBQ restaurants, like Smyth and the Loyalist too. You’ll find all of these great eateries in the downtown area, so they’re very convenient. You can also find a lot of smaller restaurants dotted around the city, so it’s worth exploring, but if you want the finest foods, head to the downtown area.
Whatever your tastes, you’ll find something that you like. You should give the deep dish pizza a try, but don’t be afraid to explore a little further too, because the bustling food scene in Chicago matches that of places like New York.
When people think of cities with great architecture, they usually picture places with lots of old buildings that have been beautifully preserved. However, modern buildings can be just as impressive, and Chicago has some incredible architecture on offer. A lot of people don’t realize that it is the birthplace of the skyscraper and it has a very rich architectural history. There are some great sights, like the Wrigley building, which has a beautiful French Renaissance style. The Chicago Cultural Center is a must-see too. Although a more modern building, it brings to mind the classic architecture of Italian cities, like Rome. You can take in the architecture just by walking around the city and casting your eyes toward the sky. However, if you want to see it in style and learn more about the history of the buildings, you should take a boat tour. You can cruise along the Chicago River, taking in some of the most impressive buildings in the city and learning all about them from an experienced tour guide. If you’ve never been to Chicago before, this is an excellent way to see the city.
Being able to take in some beautiful scenery while on a city break is always a bonus. The great thing about Chicago is that it is set on the shores of Lake Michigan, one of the 5 great lakes of America. There is an impressive 26 miles of lakefront to enjoy during your stay. There are some great bike rental spots, so you can hire a bike and have a nice ride around the lake. It’s a good way to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city for a while and see some nice natural landscapes. There are lots of fun activities to do on the lake too. You could take a boat tour around, go paddleboarding, do some birdwatching, do some fishing, or even go horseback riding. Having the lake right there is one of the reasons that Chicago is so great. It gives you more variety on your trip so you don’t just have to do ‘city’ things, you can take some time out to relax by the water and do some fun adventure activities too, so you have the best of both worlds.
Millenium Park is an amazing town square space that is jam-packed with cultural activities. It’s here that you’ll find the iconic bean sculpture that always springs to mind when people think of Chicago, but there’s a lot more to Millennium Park than that. The Crown Fountain is an interactive foundation that is part sculpture, part art installation. The impressive black granite fountain has two glass towers that display videos and show various images. You’ll always find lots of people splashing around in the fountain on a hot day and enjoying the art installation.
If you want some peace and quiet, head to Lurie Garden. The rich garden filled with lovely flowers and shrubs has lots of nice hidden benches where you can find a moment of serenity and watch the flourishing wildlife. You’ll be surprised how many birds can be found, considering you’re right in the city center.
When you get hungry from all the exploring, you can head over to Plaza at Park Grill. This is the largest outdoor dining space in the city and it’s a vibrant hub of people enjoying the Millennium Park area.
As well as all of the normal sights around Millennium Park, you’ll find lots of concerts and exhibitions going on throughout the year. No matter when you visit Chicago, there’s always something happening at Millennium Park.
5th Avenue in New York is the go-to spot for shopping, and Chicago has its very own version in the Magnificent Mile. It’s where you’ll find all the top brands, like Chanel and Prada, as well as some more affordable high-street stores for people that don’t have such deep pockets. The great thing is, the prices are lower than places like New York or Boston, so if you want some bargains on designer brands, Chicago is the place to be.
So, there you have it. Plenty of great reasons why Chicago should be next on your list of places to visit.