It may sometimes be called the Windy City but, during the summer at least, Chicago can be nothing but balmy. In fact I still distinctly remember the heat that I experienced during my second visit to this fair city; back in August of 2005 for the Walker Cup golf tournament. Truth be told, out on the golf course, I kept hoping that the bunkers would turn into one of the many beaches that you find along Lake Michigan.

Jokes aside, Chicago can be a great place to visit and the city certainly offers up plenty of activities and fun for a summer vacation.

Here is a quick rundown of five favorite things to see and do:

Soak Up the Sun

Dodge the crowds and venture past downtown to Montrose Beach. This local favorite in Uptown Chicago offers the perfect laid-back atmosphere. Plus there are plenty of water sport options for those looking for a little more action.

Become an Art Lover

The Art Institute of Chicago enables you to immerse yourself in art that is representative of many different cultures, genres and periods of time. Here you will find everything from the work of European greats like Monet, Renoir, Matisse, Picasso and Dali, to significant artworks from ancient cultures, as well as prolific American popular culture pieces like Grant Wood’s American Gothic. There are special exhibitions throughout the year.

Seek Out an Aerial View

Formally known to most Chicagoans and visitors as the Sears Tower, The Willis Tower now offers visitors the opportunity to walk out on a glass balcony 1,353 feet off the ground. Called The Ledge at Skydeck Chicago this popular attraction represents a unique way to look out over the four surrounding states – not to mention a great way to see Chicago landmarks like Wrigley Field, Lincoln Park Zoo, the Chicago River and the Museum Campus.

Hit the Pier

The Navy Pier is one of Chicago’s leading tourist attractions for a reason. Here you will be able to embrace your inner child by exploring more than 50 acres of promenades, rides and attractions, as well as participate in events like the Tall Ship festival this August. But hurry on over before the pier undergoes a redesign in the lead up to its 100th anniversary in 2016.

Try a Slice of Pizza Pie

You can’t go to Chicago without at least sampling a deep-dish pizza. After all it is Chicago’s main culinary claim to fame. And, as much as I like Zachary’s Chicago Pizza back home, there is something to be said for eating this type of stuffed pizza (with the tomato on top and the cheese in the middle) in the city where it originated 70 years ago. Popular pizza restaurants include Lou Malnati’s, Giordano’s or Gino’s East.

Happy Travels!

Featured Image: Downtown Chicago & Lake Michigan (Shutterstock.com)

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Michelle is director of public relations for Fly.com. A British native, Michelle has lived on three continents but, more importantly, she is an avid traveler. She is also an adventure enthusiast and her travels have included bungee jumping off Victoria Falls, kayaking to see brown bears (Alaska), surfing in Costa Rica, driving cattle in Wyoming, stunt flying in Hawaii, and swimming with sharks in Bora Bora.

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