There are many ways to experience Chicago, but the best place to start exploring is at the top. From the 360 Chicago (formerly John Hancock Observatory) or from the Willis Tower (Skydeck Chicago) there is a great panoramic view of the entire city, Lake Michigan and – on a clear day – several neighboring states. Back on the ground there are countless opportunities to get to know the city better – in trolleys, in double-deckers, on foot, by boat or by bike. You can also get a nice view of the city from the Ferris wheel at Navy Pier.
The actual inner city – Downtown – named after the elevated railway that surrounds it in a ring , is the cultural and financial center. Here is the world’s first skyscraper and the oldest futures options exchange, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. But downtown isn’t just a business center: the Loop is also home to State Street with its numerous shopping opportunities and the Theater District.
At the Chicago Cultural Center , visitors have a variety of free, constantly changing performances and exhibits to choose from. Just steps from downtown, Millennium Park is a great place for a stroll in the warmer months or ice skating in the winter. There are also some excellent restaurants here. Works by the famous architect Frank Gehry and artists such as Anish Lapoor and Jaume Pleasa, as well as the well-known landscape architect Kathryn Gustafson are also in the park
According to collegesanduniversitiesinusa, Chicago’s lakefront stands out against the striking backdrop of the city skyline. Extending from Grant Park on Lake Michigan is the Museum Campus , home to world-class museums, all within walking distance of one another.
In the immediate vicinity is Buckingham Fountain , Chicago’s well-known landmark, with its spectacular music, light and water shows. The approximately one kilometer long Navy Pier on Lake Michigan offers a wide variety of activities for young and old, including a beautiful botanical garden, a colorful variety of shops, and numerous restaurants. In addition, visitors can visit the IMAX Theater , a music carousel, the Chicago Childrens Museum and the Skyline Stage , which hosts outdoor concerts throughout the summer.
The former John Hancock Observatory is now called: 360 Chicago and offers a 100 kilometer view over the metropolis and Lake Michigan from the observation deck on the 94th floor. Incidentally, the highest ice skating rink in the world is also located here at 300 meters above sea level. The newest attraction is called “Tilt”: A rotating glass box that travels down from the observation deck. It allows visitors to see the city from a whole new perspective.
On the 95th floor of the skyscraper, you can dine in a romantic ambience above the city’s rooftops: With a table right by the window, you can also enjoy a wonderful view over the metropolis in the Signature Room.
A world-class shopping destination is the famous The Magnificent Mile with its dozens of world-class shopping and dining options.
Many interesting neighborhoods in Chicago
Greek Town – Discover great restaurants, shops and exciting nightlife in Chicago’s Greek Quarter.
Chinatown – The bustling Chinese Quarter is bustling with life and offers beautiful, authentic dining and shopping.
Little Italy – Stroll down Taylor Street. There you will find some of the best Italian restaurants outside of Europe.
Lincoln Square – Dozens of great restaurants and select shops also await you in the German Quarter on the north side of the city.
Andersonville – This charming Swedish neighborhood is home to the Swedish American Museum and has a thriving restaurant scene and eclectic nightlife.
River North – Located just off downtown Chicago, River North is now a massive warehouse that’s now home to art galleries, upscale restaurants, and nightclubs.
Gold Coast – Stroll through this beautiful residential area and marvel at the Victorian mansions built by tycoons.
Burnham Park – Here on the shores of Lake Michigan is the Museum Campus, home to three world-renowned natural history museums, all within walking distance of each other. The Field Museum with its anthropological, zoological and geological collections, the John G. Shedd Aquarium with more than 32,500 marine and freshwater animals and the Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum with outstanding astronomical exhibits.
Hyde Park – Hyde Park is home to the beautiful University of Chicago campus and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House, a landmark of modern design. Hyde Park is also home to the Museum of Science and Industry.
Lincoln Park – The park itself is home to the Lincoln Park Zoo and the Lincoln Park Conservatory (Winter Garden). The district of the same name offers countless restaurants and shops.
Bucktown & Wicker Park – These artsy neighborhoods are known for their chic shops, nightlife and music events.
Lakeview – Located north of the city, this neighborhood is home to historic Wrigley Field. The well-known baseball stadium is home to the Chicago Cubs, one of Chicago’s baseball teams, during the summer.