The big city with a small town welcome in the heart of America’s Midwest
Set on the shore of Lake Michigan in north-east Illinois, Chicago is the USA’s third largest city. Featuring one of the most spectacular skylines in the world, its vast array of skyscrapers dominate ‘The Loop’ in the downtown area, but despite its intimidating appearance, Chicago has a surprisingly laid-back feel and more friendly atmosphere than most major cities.
The vast Lake Michigan borders central Chicago on its east side, with 29 beaches skirting its shore. The city is home to a number of world-famous art galleries and science museums, while also boasting a thriving arts scene and a number of renowned sports teams. World-class shopping can be found on Michigan Avenue, with a host of inner-city parks offering respite from the endless towers of glass.
Chicago has everything you’d expect from one of North America’s largest cities, but its unique lakeside setting and cultural riches give it a unique appeal. The city gave birth to the blues, was home to the legendary Al Capone and features some of the world’s finest art. Throw in a healthy dose of Midwestern hospitality and you’ll soon understand why millions of tourists visit the city each year.
When to go
Chicago’s climate is one of extremes. Winters can be brutally cold, with temperatures regularly dropping below freezing and snowfall common between December and March, while summers are hot and humid with average temperatures around 27°C. Spring and autumn tend to be relatively mild and more pleasant.
How to get there
Chicago is served by O’Hare airport, located 20 miles from the downtown area. Direct flights are available from London with a number of airlines including British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, while American Airlines also operate a direct service from Manchester.
Watching the sun set behind the city’s incredible skyline from a boat on Lake Michigan is an unforgettable experience, while an equally spectacular view can be enjoyed while sipping cocktails in the Signature bar on the 95th floor of the John Hancock Tower. For sports fans, a trip to Wrigley Field to watch the Chicago Cubs play baseball offers the chance to enjoy one of Chicago’s famous hot dogs while mixing with the locals.