Chicago Travel Guide
Chicago is one of the most important capitals of the United States. Art, music, architecture and good food flood its streets. Green Mill is the ideal place to enjoy the best blues and jazz concerts. Downtown is an architectural paradise. It has dozens of skyscrapers and buildings of great architectural value. Art is also present in many galleries.
Chicago, the Windy City, is also an ideal place for shopping. It has a craft market in Lincoln Square, countless boutiques on Michigan Avenue and huge shopping malls. Among them is the Water Tower Place.
Here you can enjoy one of the best pizzas in the world at Lou Manati’s or a majestic burger at DMK. The Red Apple Buffet, which specializes in Polish cuisine, and the Taco Joint, which focuses on Mexican cuisine, are also very famous. Overall, there are lots of things to do in Chicago.
- Top 5 reasons to visit Chicago
- What to do in Chicago
- When To Visit Chicago
- How to get to Chicago
- Where to stay in Chicago
- Getting around Chicago
- Cost of living in Chicago
- Where to Eat in Chicago
Top 5 reasons to visit Chicago
Downtown Chicago is marked by the most avant-garde architecture of the 20th century. There are works of architects as prestigious as Louis Sullivan or Frank Lloyd Wright. Its most famous skyscrapers are the Hancock Tower and the Sears Building.
Watching the MLB Cubs compete at Wrigley Field or the NFL Bears compete at Soldier Field are experiences that only a city like this can offer.
Try Lou Malnati’s delicious pizzas at 439 N Wells Street and the local Maxwell Street hot dogs at 601 S Sacramento Boulevard. The barbecue ribs at the Blackwood BBQ, located at 305 W Lake Street, are also worth a special mention.
The Field Museum’s natural history collection and the artworks of artists such as Seurat and Hopper from the Art Institute are the most prominent exhibits.
In Chicago, at the beginning of the 20th century, the blues were born. The House of Blues has hosted artists such as BB King and Buddy Guy, among others. Jazz is the other great genre of this place. In the Green Mill, which was owned in the past by Al Capone, it is possible to enjoy the best shows.
What to do in Chicago
Back to the year 2000 in the Millennium Park
This park was inaugurated on the occasion of the change of millennium and is a technical prodigy. Although it has almost 20 years of history, it is still far ahead of its time in terms of sustainability and accessibility.
Free Sunday access to the Art Institute of Chicago
The Art Institute of Chicago is one of the oldest museums in the United States. Art lovers make a pilgrimage there to enjoy the works of artists such as Georges Seurat and Picasso. It also includes a conservation center and an art school.
Shopping on Magnificent Mile
Magnificent Mile is the busiest street in Chicago. It has room for countless skyscrapers and stores of the most prestigious brands in the world. It also contains a wide variety of gourmet restaurants. On the other hand, going up to 360 Chicago Viewpoint, which is located on the 94th floor of the John Hancock building, is ideal to enjoy the best views of the city.
Discover the Industrial Revolution at The Museum of Science and Industry
This museum will show you how the resources provided by the planet are managed. There you will see a replica of a coal mine and a completely rebuilt train. However, its star attraction is Apollo 8, a spaceship that reached the moon.
Watch a Bulls game at the United Center
Michael Jordan is considered by many to be the greatest basketball player in history. He spent the bulk of his career with the Bulls, the city team, for which he won the NBA championship six times. The United Center is the spectacular stadium in which he achieved all those successes.
When To Visit Chicago
The weather is the most important factor to consider when deciding when to travel to Chicago. Between November and March the cold is very intense. In spring, summer and autumn temperatures are milder. To avoid suffering from the heat as well, it is best to travel in September or October. This will also allow you to enjoy the Chicago Jazz Festival and the International Film Festival.
How to get to Chicago
O’Hare International Airport is located 35 km from the city centre. The best way to get there is to take the CTA train service and in particular the blue line. It runs 24 hours a day, takes 30 minutes to cover the trip and costs $5. If you land at Midway Airport, take the CTA Orange line. It takes 25 minutes and costs the same. Another option is the taxi. This costs about $40 from O’Hare and $30 from Midway not including tip.
Chicago grew up on the railroad, so it’s not surprising that this is the star transportation system in it. Its main station is Union Station, which is itself a monument. It offers direct routes to New Orleans, Los Angeles, St. Louis and New York.
If you choose this option and come from the east you must take the I-90/94 road that links Chicago with Philadelphia and New York. I-57 is the one chosen by those coming from St. Louis and Kansas City and I-65 for those coming from Kentucky and Tennessee.
Four bus companies operate in Chicago. The first is Megabus, which offers routes to Dallas, Indianapolis, New York and Detroit. The second is Greyhound. It has an operations center at 630 W Harrison Street and allows you to go to Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New York and Philadelphia. There are also Burlington Trailways, which has lines to various destinations in the Midwest, and Indian Trails, which works with the entire state of Michigan.
Airports near Chicago
ORD Chicago O’Hare
MDW Chicago Midway
RFD Chicago Greater Rockford
Airlines Serving Chicago
Where to stay in Chicago
If you are looking for a good hotel to stay in Chicago you have many options. These are the most popular neighborhoods to find it:
This is the center of the city. It is the reference cultural, commercial and entertainment enclave within it. It also has emblematic buildings of the Art Deco style. This is the case of Carbide & Carbon. It also has modernist towers such as the Federal Center and the Rookery. As if that were not enough, in this area you can enjoy the spectacular Auditoria Theatre and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
The North Side
This is the most prosperous area of the city. It offers the chance to see the Cubs play at Wrigley Field and listen to the best rock bands in Metro.
At the southern end of the city. Muhammad Ali or Saul Bellow, among others, had their home there. Barack Obama also worked here doing community service. It is also the home of the University of Chicago. It also includes tourist attractions such as the Drexel Fountain or the Isidore Heller House, which was designed by the famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
The most popular hotels in Chicago according to the neighborhood
Chicago Magnificent Mile Sofitel – $563.200+
St. Jane Chicago – $392.528+
Fieldhouse Jones – $276.224+
Sheraton Grand Chicago – $523.370+
DoubleTree by Hilton Chicago – Schaumburg – $319.838+
Club Quarters Hotel, Central Loop – $341.645+
Hyatt Regency Schaumburg-Chicago – $341.645+
Getting around Chicago
By public transport
Chicago’s public transportation system is cheap and efficient. The most recommendable is to opt for the trains and buses of the CTA company. This sells in their stations and in the kiosks of the street some cards called Ventra that cost $5. Thanks to it, each trip in train costs $2.25, price to which it would be necessary to add $0.25 for each change of line within the same route. The price of the bus ride from this company is $2. You can also buy unlimited weekly travel vouchers for $28 or monthly for $100.
Taxis raise the flag with a fee of $2.25 and then charge around $2 per mile. To this you have to add an additional $1 for each passenger and another $1 for each suitcase. Uber, on the other hand, charges a base fee of $1.70 and $0.90 per mile. There is also an insurance fee of $1 and a transit tax of $0.30.
Driving around downtown Chicago is usually not a good idea. Also, the good public transportation system makes it unnecessary in most cases. Parking can cost up to $35 a day, and it can still be difficult to find a spot.
Car Rental Agencies in Chicago
Search for rental cars in Chicago
Cost of living in Chicago
Chicago is a cheaper city than New York or San Francisco. A normal lunch can cost between $15 and $30, for example. Non-branded jeans are usually around $50 and a dozen eggs costs, on average, $2.90.
Michigan Avenue is the most important shopping street in Chicago. They have stores there such as Chanel, J. Crew, etc. Lincoln Square is more suitable for those looking for craft shops and bookstores.
Where to buy food
In Chicago, the K-Mart, Walmart, Jewel-Osco, Trader Joe’s Whole Foods and many other supermarket chains operate. Buying medicine is also not complicated since this is the home of Walgreen’s.
Where to Eat in Chicago
Italian cuisine is one of the great specialties of this city. For example, Pasta Bowl and Vito & Nicks are two indispensable restaurants in your visit. In Alinea you can enjoy the best traditional American cuisine and in The Gage you will find great craft beers. For some Chinese food, Great Seas and Lao Sze Chuan are your best options. For an authentic Polish hot dog, head over to Jim’s Original.