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Chicago's skyline and lake

Sit on a beach, stroll among the skyscrapers, picnic in the park, catch the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field, and dive into a deep-dish pizza - these classic adventures will create magical memories during your holiday in Chicago.

There's an undeniable buzz in Chicago. Located in Illinois, on the vast shore of Lake Michigan, it's difficult to put your finger on what makes this city great. It could be the wealth of history, it could be the cool jazz tunes floating out of bars and around your head, it could be the visions of suave gangsters from the past, or the sports-mad residents, or the globally-influenced food scene, or the fact that you can get your kicks at the start of Route 66... Maybe you'll just have to visit and make your own discovery about what makes Chicago one of the most admired cities in the United States of America.

Check into Chicago hotels and begin your voyage of discovery. The cosmopolitan Windy City will entice you in one direction and then the next, entrancing you into visiting its attractions and charming you with a laid-back and friendly welcome. Beach in Chicago

Hotels in Chicago are dotted around the city, but tourists may want to be in the Loop. The historic centre of Downtown Chicago, the Loop, also known as the Chicago Loop, is where a large number of hotels are located, especially luxury hotels and four- and five-star hotels. Many of Chicago's cultural attractions are based here, as is Grant Park and Millennium Park.

The areas in the Loop can be quieter of an evening, as this is the business hub of the city. If you're looking for more of a 24/7 scene, consider a hotel on the Magnificent Mile, which is home to some of Chicago's finest restaurants, bars, clubs, theatres and shops with late opening hours. It really is the heart of the action for tourists.

Expect to find hotels from all the big brands, from Best Western through to Comfort Inn, Hilton, Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, Embassy Suites, Hyatt, Sofitel, Radisson, W, Staybridge and Waldorf Astoria to name but a few. Out of town on the freeways are all the motel chains such as Hampton Inn, Days Inn and Super 8.

For a taste of old Chicago, consider staying in Old Town, where rooms in lovely Victorian homes are on offer.

In the Gold Coast Historic District you can find hotels in rather grand townhouses and, while the residential avenues around here can be peaceful, there is plenty going on in the nightlife hotspots of this district.

To the north of Downtown is Lincoln Park, which is where many families choose to base their Chicago holidays. The city zoo, good beaches and Wrigley Field are located in this area.

Top five attractions

Baseball at Wrigley Field

Book tickets to see the Chicago Cubs - and don't forget your hot dogs and big foam hands during the game.

Willis Tower

Once the tallest building in the world, and formerly known as Sears Tower, visit the Skydeck on the 103rd floor and peek - if you dare - at the ground below from glass balconies.

John Hancock Center

A touch shorter than the Willis Tower, this skyscraper competes by way of a 95th-floor restaurant, which offers astounding views as a side dish.

Grant Park

Museums, galleries, lawns, fountains and the magnificent Millennium Park can be found within Grant Park, often called Chicago's front yard.

Chicago River Esplanade

Walk alongside the river or hop aboard a tourist boat to get a unique view of Chicago's skyscrapers.

Events

St Patrick's Day Parade; March: See the Chicago River turn green during this typically high-spirited celebration of Irish heritage.

Chicago Blues Festival; June: Chicago is regarded by many as the blues capital of the world. It might not be the birthplace of the blues, but you cannot deny the mark Chicago has made during this annual event.

Chicago Jazz Festival; September: Jazz and Chicago are certainly more famed as a couple. This is the place to be for “all that jazz”.