Chicago, Illinois

Copyright: Patrick L. Pyszka/City of Chicago

Chicago, Illinois

More than 42 kilometers of lakefront frame Chicago's stunning urban skyline. Here in the heart of the Midwest, the nation’s third-largest city boasts soaring skyscrapers and colorful neighborhoods against a backdrop of sandy beaches and beautiful parks. This cosmopolitan playground bursts with things to do. Sightseeing options range from Chicago icons — such as Millennium Park’s Cloud Gate, Grant Park’s Buckingham Fountain and Navy Pier’s Ferris wheel — to fascinating history and architecture tours.

The City

Chicago, the third largest city in the U.S., nuzzles the shores of picturesque Lake Michigan, which reflects the dazzling skyline. As a vibrant and international city, it boasts world-class museums, cuisine and nightlife. The numerous outdoor parks and miles of lakefront paths are a wonderful attraction for sporty types, while the exclusive theaters, shops and restaurants appeal to the sophisticated visitor. Chicago is also the birthplace of modern jazz and blues, so an excursion to one of its many clubs is a must for music novices and aficionados alike. If you are a sports fan, Chicago’s world-class venues can accommodate almost every professional and amateur sport discipline imaginable. Whether you’re watching or playing, sports are an integral part of life in Chicago. During the baseball season the town is split. The South Side lives and dies with the White Sox while the North Side cozies up with the Cubs. The National League Cubs play at historic Wrigley Field while the American League White Sox call U.S. Cellular Field home. The NFL's Chicago Bears take to the gridiron at Soldier Field and the United Center is home of the NBA's Chicago Bulls. Hockey fans can watch the NHL Blackhawks, also at the United Center, or the minor-league Chicago Wolves at Allstate Arena. And soccer fans can see the MLS Chicago Fire at Toyota Park. There are numerous college sports teams in the area, as well as horse racing and auto races in the suburbs. And if the Performing Arts are more to your taste, Chicago is the home of over 200 theaters hosting the Chicago Symphony, Chicago and Joffrey Ballet Companies, world renowned and “up and coming” local artists and musicians, Tony Award winning Broadway world premiers, Improvisation at Second City, and edgy original plays. Plan on spending a few hours somewhere like the State Street or Downtown Theatre Districts when you’re in Chicago, and be prepared to journey through fairytale wonderlands, discover dazzling sights and sounds, soak up thought-provoking story lines, and even laugh ‘till it hurts on any given day or night.


If it’s music you’ve come for, you’ll find every genre at live music clubs and outdoor events like Millennium Park concerts, Lollapalooza and the Chicago Blues Festival. Chicago’s calendar is packed with local street festivals, holiday celebrations and special events year round.


Explore Illinois and experience both the nonstop energy of a big city and the charm of friendly small towns. Beyond Chicago, shop at outlet malls for fabulous bargains, hike on wooded trails through scenic state parks and tour incredible Frank Lloyd Wright architecture. Take a nostalgic road trip on legendary Route 66, stroll historic small-town Main Streets to stop at diners and soda fountains for a glimpse of true Americana and visit Abraham Lincoln’s home in Springfield. Watch Illinois makers in action as they craft beer at more than 80 breweries across the state and follow an Illinois wine trail.

Do & See

Chicago is renowned for its cultural offerings with more than 40 museums and a dedicated Museum Campus, home to The Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium and Adler Planetarium. Don't miss the Art Institute of Chicago, which contains 300,000 works in its permanent collection, and Museum of Science and Industry, the largest in the Western Hemisphere. As the only U.S. city with five regional Tony Award-winning theaters, Chicago’s theater scene takes center stage. With several of the world’s tallest buildings located here, Chicago is a showcase for modern masterpieces and historic landmarks by America’s greatest architects including Frank Lloyd Wright, Daniel Burnham and Louis Sullivan. Go above the view at 360 CHICAGO Observation Deck in the John Hancock Center (be sure to try the TILT experience, which leans you out over Michigan Avenue). Stay grounded but still take in the beautiful cityscape with a stroll along the Chicago Riverwalk, where you can enjoy a delicious meal or grab a drink right on the water. The Riverwalk can also serve as your launching point for an architecture tour or canoe trip down the Chicago River. Take the kids to Lincoln Park Zoo and Wrigley Field, two iconic and family-friendly attractions.


Chicago’s culinary scene is filled with star chefs, unique ethnic eateries and award-winning fine dining restaurants known around the world. Just as famous is the Chicago-style hot dog and deep dish pizza. As a top food destination, the city boasts 7,300 restaurants in every price range and cuisine.


Locating a great cafe in Chicago poses no difficulty. Choose from large American chains or smaller, more intimate cafes that serve artisan coffee and hand-made pastries. They are scattered across the city, so enjoy one while taking a break from sightseeing and shopping.

Bars & Nightlife

For nightlife, head to the many cocktail lounges, sports bars or dance clubs that dot the entertainment landscape. Or get tickets to legendary comedy club The Second City. Famous jazz and blues clubs abound, as well as smaller venues that represent local musicians and quiet bars with small bands playing music from around the world. Keep in mind that the legal drinking age is 21.


Shopping is a big deal in Chicago. Don’t miss Michigan Avenue’s 13-block stretch, The Magnificent Mile, with more than 300 stores to explore, including major department stores, luxury boutiques and the can't-miss, multi-level Water Tower Place mall.

Tourist Information