Visiting Chicago, Illinois
So you want to go to Chicago, eh? Here are some things you need to know about the windy city. Chicago has four full seasons per year: spring, summer, fall, and winter. You can travel there year round, but expect to see rain in the spring or fall and snow in the winter. Make sure you dress appropriately or you will be like me, headed off to the nearest Macy’s or Nordstrom’s to buy a rain jacket.
Plan A Visit
How long should you plan to be in Chicago? For me, a weekend was enough. I was there just long enough to be immersed in the culture and feel of the big city without any of the resentments of being around crowds of people or traffic. If you can, avoid renting a car and instead use local transit to get around. The traffic is horrendous in Chicago. Traffic accidents kill many people yearly and the parking is very, very expensive per hour.
Things you MUST do in Chicago:
1. Climb the Skydeck Chicago or Willis (formerly Sears) Towers
2. Take a picture of the “Cloud Gate” aka “The Bean”
3. Eat a Chicago deep dish pizza
The Towers in my opinion are the top tourist attractions in Chicago. Both offer amazing views but I chose to experience the Willis Tower. It was once the tallest building in the world and is currently the second tallest building in the United States. During the day it offers a panoramic view so you can experience the city from all angles. At night if the sky is clear you can see the city lit up for miles. In a word the view is breathtaking. The pictures really cannot do it justice; you have to experience it. Be prepared to spend about $13 USD (+tax) for a youth and $20 USD (+tax) for an adult on admission to the Towers. The best time to visit would be on a weekday to avoid the crowds. If you must visit on the weekend, be sure to arrive early in the morning or later in the evening.
Make Sure You See…
The Cloud Gate is a unique outdoor monument, located at Millenium Park. The metallic and reflective sculpture is in the shape of a bean from which its nickname “The Bean” was derived from. It is my favourite attraction as it is free of charge to view. This is a plus for all of you Thirsty Tourists on a budget. If you are driving around, be wary as the parking nearby is quite expensive here.
Feeling A Bit Hungry?
The cuisine in Chicago is legendary. The only other place I have been to in my travels that has rivaled the Chicago eateries is Boston. Chicago is well known for their pizza, so ordering a slice is a must. If pizza isn’t your thing be sure to check out the other 7,800+ restaurants in the downtown area. There will be something for everyone’s pallet.
Are you ready to go to Chicago yet?
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