When it comes to attractions, all big American cities have one thing in common – skyscrapers. In most instances they are a city’s most instantly recognisable landmarks. To make them even better, you can view them from most places points around a city making them free attractions! Chicago has its own selection of tall buildings to see. But what makes the ‘windy city’ different to its counterparts is that Chicago is their birthplace.
The world’s first skyscraper, the Home Insurance Building, was erected here in 1885 and stood 180 feet in height. Unfortunately it isn’t still standing today, having been demolished in 1931. Today its two best known skyscrapers are the John Hancock Building and the Sears Tower. Both have observatory towers and present excellent views over the city.
Chicago’s location on Lake Michigan means there are many open areas to relax on if the hustle and bustle of the city centre becomes too much for you. Over 20 miles of the city runs along the lake, one of North America’s ‘Great Lakes’. Chicago Beach is different to Venice Beach in Los Angeles and the beach on Coney Island, New York as it isn’t on the coast. This means calmer water and smaller crowds.
Ask people outside of America what springs to mind when they think of Chicago (apart from the musical, of course) and many will say baseball and basketball. The world’s most famous basket ball player, and arguably sportsman, Michael Jordan, played with the Chicago Bulls. Even though he is no longer a member of the team, a visit to the United Center where the Bulls play will leave your interest in the game greater than when you walked into the stadium. And if you would prefer to go to the baseball, the Chicago White Sox play their home games at Comiskey Park and the Chicago Cubs play theirs in Wrigley Field.
875 N. Michigan Ave., Near North Side, Chicago, USA
Standing at 1,127 feet tall, the John Hancock Center is Chicago's third tallest building. The observatory deck is the building's biggest attraction. From here you can gaze at views spanning 80 miles and over 4 states.
The observatory deck is open from 9am-11pm, admission $9.75.
600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago, USA
With over 50 acres of parks, restaurants, a big wheel and carousel among other attractions, this pier was built in 1916 and is 3,000 feet long.
Open from 10am-8pm Monday-Thursday and until 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays (times may vary between different seasons).
Grant Park, Congress Pkwy. and Columbus Drive, Chicago, USA
This is one of the largest fountains in the world. Named after Clarence Buckingham, there is a music and light show on the fountain every hour between 10am and 10pm. During this show water shoots over 120 feet in the air. Not to be missed, it is more impressive at night due to the lights.
111 S. Michigan Ave, At Adam Street, Chicago, USA
Chicago's flagship art museum is full with art from all over the world. Choosing what you want to see can be a bit of an issue. Inside there are paintings and artwork from Japanese, Egyptian and European civilizations. If you enjoy art, make sure and pay this museum a visit.
Open 10.30am-4.30pm on Mon, Wed, Thur and Fri, until 8pm on Tues and from 10am-5pm on Sat/Sun.
Admission is at your own discretion, although you must offer something. Tuesdays are free.
White Sox - Comiskey Park, Bears - Soldier Field Stadium, Chicago, USA
Chicago's native sports teams are famous all over the world. If baseball is your thing, you may wish to visit Comiskey Park to see the White Sox, or maybe Wrigley Field to see the Chicago Cubs. American football fans can see the Bears play at Soldier Field Stadium and the world-famous Chicago Bulls basketball team shoot hoops at United Center.
233 S. Wacker Dr, The Loop, Chicago, USA
The Sears Tower is not just Chicago's tallest building, but also America's. On top of that, it is the world's third tallest. The best way to see the building is from a distance. The observation deck, known as 'Skydeck' is the world's tallest.
'Skydeck' is open daily from 10am-10pm (May-September) and from 10am-8pm (October-April). Admission $9.50.
North Avenue (start), Chicago, USA
Chicago's largest park has so much packed inside, you could spend a week there! The city zoo is in the park, as are two fascinating museums, a botanical conservatory and a golf course. If you want to simply chill out the park has about 6 beaches suitable for sunbathing (weather permitting, of course).
57th St. and Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, USA
This interactive museum has endless exhibits, both permanent and temporary. Altogether there are over 2,000 exhibits at any one time, spread out over 75 exhibition halls.
, Chicago, USA
Within the city centre are an array of neighbourhoods which all have their separate characteristics and qualities.
Greektown, found in the West Loop part of the city is full of Greek restaurants and cafés to visit. Chinatown is also full of top class restaurants specialising in Asian culinary delights.
Bucktown is another haven for pubs and bars, but they are sometimes a little bit more upper class than those in other parts of the city.
And of course there is the Loop which is what the city centre is known as.
, Chicago, USA
Over twenty miles of Chicago is situated on the shores of Lake Michigan, one of America's great lakes. Grant Park in the city centre provides loads of excellent vantage points to look out on to the lake and the lake even has its own beaches to laze on.