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High-rise and high energy, Chicago is big, bold and boisterous – and proudly so. With a striking lakeside setting, a packed sports calendar and a world-class cultural scene – think the blues and deep-dish pizza – a holiday in the Windy City has something for everyone.
Rebuilt extensively after the Great Fire of 1871, Chicago became the home of the first skyscraper – and architects haven’t looked down since. It has four of the tallest buildings in the USA. But it’s not all boring blocks – you’ll also find a mid-century Frank Lloyd Wright house and Frank Gehry’s signature swooping lines at the Pritzker Pavilion.
The city’s museums, meanwhile, are must-visit attractions rather than places to while away a rainy day. See the world’s largest dinosaur at the Field Museum of Natural History, journey to the stars at the Adler Planetarium and ‘experience a tornado’ at the Museum of Science and Industry.
Visual arts are everywhere in Chicago too, from the internationally renowned Art Institute to giant public installations like Agora, Crown Fountain and The Picasso. The city’s outdoor spaces come alive in summer, with the sculpture-filled social hub of Millennium Park, the amble-worthy Riverwalk, and the sandy, lakeside beaches among the host of choices.
Travelling with the family? From the aquatic wonders of Shedd Aquarium – where you can ‘hang out’ with beluga whales – and the animals of Lincoln Park Zoo to the fairground rides of Navy Pier, the city has you covered.
Elsewhere, Chicago is recognised for its varied nightlife (live music and comedy are particular highlights), an eclectic food scene that ranges from Michelin star restaurants to food halls and ‘bottomless’ shopping opportunities at places like the Magnificent Mile, the downtown avenue with no less than four shopping centres. If you’re a sports fan, make time for Wrigley Field, the home of the Cubs baseball team.
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