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Welcome to Chicago: The Windy City

Shoppers will love the famous Magnificent Mile stretch of Michigan Avenue, and surrounding streets for endless browsing and buying. Many of the city’s most exclusive hotels are in the neighborhood as well, like the Ritz-Carlton, the Four Seasons, and The Drake. But don’t worry, there are plenty of fine offerings for the budget-conscious as well. Chicago is a hub for all sorts of conventions, so if you want a downtown hotel, book early. Navy Pier has fun for everyone at the Family Pavilion, like the Chicago Children’s Museum, and IMAX Theater, not to mention a concert stage and carnival rides. Nature lovers will enjoy the botanical Crystal Gardens right next door, and the South Arcade with its shopping and theaters is great for a stroll. Chicago is home to wonderful museums like the Art Institute of Chicago and the Field Museum. The Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum, the Shedd Aquarium, and the city’s two zoos are sure to appeal to kids. You can see spectacular views of Lake Michigan and beyond from the Sears Tower or the John Hancock Observatory, and the Buckingham Fountain light and music shows are extraordinary. Public transportation is extensive, between the famous El train, buses, commuter trains, and even water taxis. Getting around is easy and even the two major airports, O’Hare and Midway, are very well-connected. Tours of the city range from architecture and history to haunted houses and restaurant-hopping, and can be taken on buses, bikes, on foot, or on a beautiful sunset lake cruise. There’s a little nightlife for everyone, whether you want swanky business executive bars or an all-night dance club party. It doesn’t get any better than Chicago for the blues, and music lovers will be hard-pressed to pick just one show to see. Dining ranges from local specialties to the international, and you’ve got to try real Chicago deep-dish pizza while you’re here. Festivals abound, from the Blues Festival to Venetian Night, so check those listings too. Sports fans have both Wrigley Field and Soldier Field, whether you manage to get tickets to a game or even just take a tour. And one of the biggest advantages of being on Lake Michigan, besides the views, is the beaches. The shoreline has great bike and jogging paths, and beach season lasts from late May until early September. But no matter when you come, Chicago’s a great city, and there’s a great time to be had by all.

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