Chicago, Illinois Travel Guide

Chicago, IL

When architect and urban designer Daniel Burnham revealed his grand “Plan of Chicago” in 1909, no one could have known it would still be considered the most successful large-scale urban plan that America has ever seen. Burnham saw the city as the anchor of the nation’s Midwest region, and his vision included The Magnificent Mile, Navy Pier, vast parkland, lagoons and the Museum Campus. His plan was a resounding success, and helped turn Chicago into a shimmering metropolis that today feels familiar yet fresh. The city constantly breaks the mold while staying true to its roots with iconic architecture, soulful jazz and blues clubs, dozens of one-of-a-kind neighborhoods and savory deep-dish pizza. As for that famous “Windy City” moniker? It’s a reference to the powerful gusts that blow off the adjacent Lake Michigan (though Chicago’s history of long-winded politicians might also offer some insight).

travel tips

When to go

SPRING
The Magnificent Mile stretch of downtown’s Michigan Avenue gets even more magnificent come spring, when tens of thousands of tulips burst to life in the flower boxes lining the streets and sidewalks.

SUMMER
Architectural boat tours on the Chicago River, bike rides along the shores of Lake Michigan, Cubs and White Sox games, music festivals: There’s nothing like summer in Chicago, when temperatures top out in the low 80s.

FALL
Fall in Chicago means idyllic 50- to 70-degree weather, bright orange and yellow foliage, the Chicago International Film Festival, Museum Week and lots of hearty local beers perfect for chilly evenings.

WINTER
Chicago’s climate is largely dictated by Lake Michigan, especially in winter when the lake effect can cause large snowfalls. It gets cold, but you’ll barely notice thanks to Millennium Park’s ice skating rink, the Lincoln Park Zoolights Festival and Chicago’s dozens of acclaimed museums.

Transportation

Chicago’s traffic is consistently terrible, and finding a parking spot is even worse, so it’s best to stick with biking (rent a bike with Chicago's bike-sharing program, Divvy), walking or public transportation. Eight “L” train lines connect Chicago through elevated, street-level and subway trains. Two lines operate 24 hours a day: the Blue Line, running between the airport and downtown; and the Red Line, which runs between the North and South Sides via downtown. Buses are another good option, with more than 100 routes weaving throughout the city, though note that exact change is required for cash fares.

Insider tips

  • Many restaurants are BYOB (“bring your own booze”) and allow patrons to bring in outside alcohol to enjoy with their meal.
  • Do not put ketchup on a Chicago dog. Ever. Chicagoans consider it an offense on par with saying there’s a better football team than the Chicago Bears.
  • Downtown Chicago is known as “the Loop.”

top attractions

Art Institute of Chicago

The second-largest museum in the United States boasts some of the world’s best-known art and stunning Lake Michigan views.

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Wrigley Field

History buffs and baseball fanatics flock to one of the most beloved stadiums in the nation.

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Millennium Park

History buffs and baseball fanatics flock to one of the most beloved stadiums in the nation.

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featured properties

Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel, Chicago

Known for its incredible design by famed architect Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang Architects, the hotel is positioned in the heart of downtown Chicago and is just minutes from the Magnificent Mile, Navy Pier, and Millennium Park. The hotel’s amenities include spa services, a state-of-the-art fitness center, a rooftop outdoor pool, and a manicured lifestyle garden.

Radisson Hotel Schaumburg

Only 20 minutes from O’Hare International Airport (ORD), Radisson Hotel Schaumburg is a great location for either leisure or business travels. The hotel offers a  shuttle, fitness center, on-site restaurant and bar, and meeting facilities.

Country Inns & Suites – ALL CHICAGO AREA

There are many Country Inn & Suites surrounding the Chicago area, ensuring that you can choose the exact location that is right for you. Enjoy complimentary hot breakfast, free high-speed internet, shuttle service, an indoor pool, and a fitness center.

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