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Travel Guide to Chicago, Illinois

Updated on May 21, 2012

Planning a vacation to Chicago, Illinois? Or maybe you live nearby and are looking for fun things to do? You could spend weeks exploring the city with its vibrant history as a cultural and architectural center. This travel guide to Chicago has some of the tourist highlights of the windy city.

Chicago Architecture Foundation

The Chicago Architecture Foundation is a non-profit organization that advances public education about architecture. They offer fantastic tours by foot, bus, and boat. You can get an overview of the city or you can opt for more specialized tours if you're an architecture buff. They also have free exhibits at their headquarters.

Navy Pier

A great place for the kids (or any fun-lover) is Navy Pier. Located on Lake Michigan is 50 acres of parks, shops, restaurants and attractions with a carnival atmosphere. It has the Chicago Children's Museum, a miniature golf course, Ferris wheel, carousel, and many other attractions. Many bus and boat tours of Chicago leave from here.

Millennium Park

This is a public park between the Loop and Lake Michigan, and it connects to Grant Park. It was dedicated to celebrate the millennium. Here you'll find public art, the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Cloud Gate, the Crown Fountain, and the Lurie Garden.

Skydeck Chicago's The Ledge
Skydeck Chicago's The Ledge | Source

Skydeck Chicago's The Ledge

Located on the 103rd floor of the Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower), Skydeck Chicago has a phenomenal view, as well as exhibits on Chicago and skyscrapers. On a clear day, you can see four states from here. If you dare, you can step out onto the Ledge. This is a cantilevered glass box that will allow you to see straight down.

Performing Arts

With the number of theaters in Chicago, you're sure to find one playing your favorites. The Theater District spans 4 blocks within the Loop. Here you'll find the Cadillac Palace Theatre, the Ford Center for the Performing Arts/Oriental Theatre, the Chicago Theatre, the Bank of America Theatre, and the Goodman Theatre.


There are a lot of museums if you're interested in museum-hopping in Chicago. There's definitely something for everyone. Here are a few of the highlights:

Chicago Deep Dish Pizza
Chicago Deep Dish Pizza | Source

Chicago Culinary Favorites

Chicago is famous for its food. No trip is complete without eating some Chicago favorites!

Deep Dish Pizza--A butter crust piled high with cheese, sauce, and toppings. It’s best to opt for a fork on one of these. Giordano's, Gino's East, Uno, and Lou Malnati's are some of the more famous pizzerias in town, but there are a lot of good ones.

Popcorn--Chicago has delicious gourmet popcorn. The Chicago mix is a salty sweet combination of cheese and caramel corn. Check out Garrett's or Nuts on Clark.

Chicago Dog--These are topped with just about everything. Mustard, relish, onions, dill pickle, tomato, sport peppers, and celery salt make this dog unique.



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    • bn9900 profile image

      Clayton Hartford 5 years ago from Alger WA

      Growing up in Chicago, I've been to all these places, and love them all. I've written a hub about getting around on public transportation in the Chicago area.

    • Modern Lady profile image

      Modern Lady 5 years ago from Chicago, IL

      Nell Rose, the Skydeck is great, but it can be a bit unsettling. If you're not brave enough to step out onto it, you can still go up and enjoy the view from a safe distance.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      Hi what a great city! I would love to check out the Skydeck! not sure if I would feel dizzy though! then go for a pizza! lol!

    • Modern Lady profile image

      Modern Lady 5 years ago from Chicago, IL

      Thanks, bdegiuldio! Chicago is a fantastic place to spend a few days. There are definitely things you can do as you pass through too (like grab a slice of pizza or take a quick trip up to the Ledge).

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 5 years ago from Massachusetts

      I've never really been to Chicago, only passed through a few times. It's been on my radar for the last few years and after reading your Hub we'll have to find a way to get there sooner rather than later. I agree with molometer about your format, I like it also. You are informative and to the point. Great job. Voted up also, sharing and most of the other good stuff.

    • Modern Lady profile image

      Modern Lady 5 years ago from Chicago, IL

      Thank you for the kind words and support, molometer.

    • molometer profile image

      molometer 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Lovely photo's of the windy city.

      I visited in 1979 and loved this town. I did go to the top of Sears Tower; it was the tallest building in the world at the time.

      I like the way you have put this hub together. Nice format.

      Voting this up interesting and useful and of course sharing it.