Where is Chicago?
The city of Chicago is located in northern Illinois on the shores of Lake Michigan. It is close to the north-west border of Indiana and approximately one hour south of Wisconsin.
While the city itself is rather large with a population of over 2 million people, it is surrounded by a 10,000-square-mile metro area that is home to almost 10 million. Many suburbs and smaller cities are connected to Chicago and make up the vibrancy of this city.
How to get to Chicago?
Chicago is serviced by two major airports, Chicago O’Hare, and Chicago Midway. It also has a commuter railroad called Metra which expands to the suburbs and even has a stop in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
You can arrive to Chicago by train, plane, or car. Interstates 90, 94, 65, 57, 55, and 88 all reach the city from nearly any direction of the country, making it easy to drive from any neighboring state.
When is the best time to visit Chicago?
One of Chicago’s nicknames is the windy city and, although some argue about the origins, the weather may play a role in this moniker. Because of its location near Lake Michigan, the city is quite breezy. It also becomes frigidly cold in the winter with biting winds and wind chills that can cause the temperatures to drop into the negatives.
The breeze does make summer weather quite pleasant, though. To enjoy the weather without getting bogged down with the influx of tourists, the best time to visit is from April to May. Cooler autumn weather in September and October is also a great time to visit if you want to attend festivals before winter comes.
What to do in Chicago?
The riverfront location of Chicago means many activities take place there, and the surrounding areas are major tourist attractions. In the summer, beaches and parks along the shoreline are popular destinations for relaxing, swimming, and water activities.
Lake Shore Drive is a great way to see the city by car, or you can enjoy Lakefront Trail, an 18-mile long path that can be walked or biked and features incredible views of the city skyline.
Chicago is also home to many museums, including history and art. It is also home to Wrigley Field where baseball fans gather to watch their favorite teams play. Basketball lovers can take a trip to United Center to see the Bulls while hockey fans can also see the Blackhawks there.
To see the city from a different vantage point, take a boat tour along the Chicago River to explore its canals. Another great way to explore is to take a segway tour which allows you to relax and be transported through the various neighborhoods while learning about the city’s history.
Tourists will also enjoy exploring the city’s signature food dishes such as Chicago-style deep-dish pizza that makes for a hearty meal eaten with a knife and fork. Hot dogs are also an iconic Chicago food and are often topped with mustard, relish, a pickle, and no ketchup.
Is Chicago family-friendly?
Chicago is one of the most-visited cities in the United States, and many families choose it as a destination for their annual vacation or getaway. Because of the vast influx of tourists, there are many activities families can enjoy.
Stepping out onto the glass balcony of the Skydeck on the 103rd floor of Willis Tower is sure to be a memorable experience for kids of all ages.
Chicago is also known for some fantastic opportunities to encounter animals. The Shedd Aquarium has encounters with beluga whales, sea otters, and penguins as well as a Shark Feeding Tour, aquatic presentations, and animal chats with experts.
The Lincoln Park Zoo is one of the country’s only zoo that has free admission to enjoy the exotic animals, ride the train or carousel, go for a 5D diving adventure, or visit farm animals at several of the zoo’s barns.
Millennium Park has 24 acres of architecture, art, and green space where many events and concerts take place. It also borders other parks, including Grant Park which features the rococo style Buckingham Fountain, one of the largest in the world.
Not far from the Shedd Aquarium is The Field Museum and Adler Planetarium. Field Museum is a natural history museum with many family-friendly exhibits, including dinosaurs which features a T-Rex, mummies from Ancient Egypt, and a children’s Play Lab.
Meanwhile, Adler Planetarium has several fascinating exhibits on astronomy and also has three theaters where you can watch short shows that are perfect for young attention spans. It is conveniently located on Chicago’s Museum Campus so you can visit many areas of interest in a short amount of time.
Last but not least is the iconic Navy Pier, a 3,300-foot-long pier that has gardens, parks, restaurants, shopping, and family attractions. Here you can ride the Centennial Wheel, a 200-foot Ferris wheel with 360-degree views of the city and lake, go around on the hand-painted carousel, ride the Light Tower, or go up the Climbing Wall. There is also a one-acre botanical garden called Crystal Gardens, plenty of public art on display, and the Chicago Children’s Museum is located here too.