More than 42 kilometers of lakefront frame Chicago's stunning urban skyline. Here in the heart of the Midwest, the nation’s third-largest city boasts soaring skyscrapers and colorful neighborhoods against a backdrop of sandy beaches and beautiful parks. This cosmopolitan playground bursts with things to do. Sightseeing options range from Chicago icons — such as Millennium Park’s Cloud Gate, Grant Park’s Buckingham Fountain and Navy Pier’s Ferris wheel — to fascinating history and architecture tours.
Dollar, 1 $ (USD) = 100 cents
Chicago Tribune — www.chicagotribune.com
Chicago SunTimes — chicago.suntimes.com
The Reader — chicagoreader.com
Time Out Chicago — www.timeout.com/chicago
(weekly magazine with event listings)
2.7 million (2021)
Chicago Office of Tourism
Chicago Cultural Center
77 East Washington Street
Open daily 10am–5pm
Chicago Water Works
163 East Pearson Street
Open Mon–Thu 10am–6pm, Fri & Sat 9am–5pm, Sun 1pm–5pm
Chicago, the third largest city in the U.S., nuzzles the shores of picturesque Lake Michigan, which reflects the dazzling skyline. As a vibrant and international city, it boasts world-class museums, cuisine and nightlife. The numerous outdoor parks and miles of lakefront paths are a wonderful attraction for sporty types, while the exclusive theaters, shops and restaurants appeal to the sophisticated visitor. Chicago is also the birthplace of modern jazz and blues, so an excursion to one of its many clubs is a must for music novices and aficionados alike.
If you are a sports fan, Chicago’s world-class venues can accommodate almost every professional and amateur sport discipline imaginable. Whether you’re watching or playing, sports are an integral part of life in Chicago.
During the baseball season the town is split. The South Side lives and dies with the White Sox while the North Side cozies up with the Cubs. The National League Cubs play at historic Wrigley Field while the American League White Sox call U.S. Cellular Field home. The NFL's Chicago Bears take to the gridiron at Soldier Field and the United Center is home of the NBA's Chicago Bulls. Hockey fans can watch the NHL Blackhawks, also at the United Center, or the minor-league Chicago Wolves at Allstate Arena. And soccer fans can see the MLS Chicago Fire at Toyota Park. There are numerous college sports teams in the area, as well as horse racing and auto races in the suburbs.
And if the Performing Arts are more to your taste, Chicago is the home of over 200 theaters hosting the Chicago Symphony, Chicago and Joffrey Ballet Companies, world renowned and “up and coming” local artists and musicians, Tony Award winning Broadway world premiers, Improvisation at Second City, and edgy original plays. Plan on spending a few hours somewhere like the State Street or Downtown Theatre Districts when you’re in Chicago, and be prepared to journey through fairytale wonderlands, discover dazzling sights and sounds, soak up thought-provoking story lines, and even laugh ‘till it hurts on any given day or night.
If it’s music you’ve come for, you’ll find every genre at live music clubs and outdoor events like Millennium Park concerts, Lollapalooza and the Chicago Blues Festival. Chicago’s calendar is packed with local street festivals, holiday celebrations and special events year round.
Blues Festival (June)
Gospel Music Festival (June)
Taste of Chicago (July)
Chicago Jazz Festival (August–September)
Chicago Gourmet (September)
World Music Festival Chicago (September)
Chicago Marathon (October)
Chicago International Film Festival (October)
Christkindlmarket Chicago (November–December)
ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo (December)
Chicago is renowned for its cultural offerings with more than 40 museums and a dedicated Museum Campus, home to The Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium and Adler Planetarium. Don't miss the Art Institute of Chicago, which contains 300,000 works in its permanent collection, and Museum of Science and Industry, the largest in the Western Hemisphere. As the only U.S. city with five regional Tony Award-winning theaters, Chicago’s theater scene takes center stage.
With several of the world’s tallest buildings located here, Chicago is a showcase for modern masterpieces and historic landmarks by America’s greatest architects including Frank Lloyd Wright, Daniel Burnham and Louis Sullivan. Go above the view at 360 CHICAGO Observation Deck in the John Hancock Center (be sure to try the TILT experience, which leans you out over Michigan Avenue). Stay grounded but still take in the beautiful cityscape with a stroll along the Chicago Riverwalk, where you can enjoy a delicious meal or grab a drink right on the water. The Riverwalk can also serve as your launching point for an architecture tour or canoe trip down the Chicago River. Take the kids to Lincoln Park Zoo and Wrigley Field, two iconic and family-friendly attractions.
Architectural River Cruise
Willis Tower — Skydeck Chicago
Lincoln Park Zoo
Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier
Museum of Science & Industry
Lincoln Park Conservatory
Museum of Contemporary Art
Auditorium Building & Theatre
360 CHICAGO Observation Deck
Art Institute of Chicago
Big Bus Tours
Explore Illinois and experience both the nonstop energy of a big city and the charm of friendly small towns. Beyond Chicago, shop at outlet malls for fabulous bargains, hike on wooded trails through scenic state parks and tour incredible Frank Lloyd Wright architecture. Take a nostalgic road trip on legendary Route 66, stroll historic small-town Main Streets to stop at diners and soda fountains for a glimpse of true Americana and visit Abraham Lincoln’s home in Springfield. Watch Illinois makers in action as they craft beer at more than 80 breweries across the state and follow an Illinois wine trail.
Chicago's North Shore
Heritage Corridor & Route 66
Chicago’s culinary scene is filled with star chefs, unique ethnic eateries and award-winning fine dining restaurants known around the world. Just as famous is the Chicago-style hot dog and deep dish pizza. As a top food destination, the city boasts 7,300 restaurants in every price range and cuisine.
Gino’s East Pizzeria
Portillo's Hot Dogs
Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse
Uno Chicago Grill
The Purple Pig
Shaw's Crab House
Middle Brow Beer Co.
Locating a great cafe in Chicago poses no difficulty. Choose from large American chains or smaller, more intimate cafes that serve artisan coffee and hand-made pastries. They are scattered across the city, so enjoy one while taking a break from sightseeing and shopping.
The Wormhole Cafe
Pick Me Up Cafe
Bridgeport Coffee Company
Star Lounge Coffee Bar
Julius Meinl Restaurant & Cafe
The Coffee Studio
Grand Lux Cafe
The Perfect Cup
For nightlife, head to the many cocktail lounges, sports bars or dance clubs that dot the entertainment landscape. Or get tickets to legendary comedy club The Second City. Famous jazz and blues clubs abound, as well as smaller venues that represent local musicians and quiet bars with small bands playing music from around the world. Keep in mind that the legal drinking age is 21.
The Signature Room/Signature Lounge
Le Colonial Lounge
The Original Mother’s
House of Blues
Buddy Guy’s Legends
The Green Mill Cocktail Lounge
Cubby Bear Lounge
Redhead Piano Bar
Davenport's Piano Bar & Cabaret
The J. Parker
Three Dots & a Dash
The Berkshire Room
Parson's Chicken & Fish
Shopping is a big deal in Chicago. Don’t miss Michigan Avenue’s 13-block stretch, The Magnificent Mile, with more than 300 stores to explore, including major department stores, luxury boutiques and the can't-miss, multi-level Water Tower Place mall.
The Magnificent Mile
Water Tower Place
Broadway & Clark Street
Randolph Street Market
Chicago Premium Outlets
The Shops at Northbridge
Garrett Popcorn Shop
American Girl Place
Fashion Outlets of Chicago
Passport / Visa
Citizens of the Schengen countries, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the Kingdom of Brunei can visit the United States for up to 90 days without applying for a visa (as well as citizens of Andorra, Lichtenstein, Monaco and San Marino). Citizens of these countries must obtain an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) before traveling. All other travelers must obtain a visa before visiting the United States. International travelers need a passport that is valid for at least 3 months after the end of their intended trip in order to enter the country.
Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW)
Midway Airport is 6.5 miles (10 km) southwest of the city center. The Orange Line train takes passengers to and from Midway airport and downtown Chicago and also runs 24 hours.
Chicago Midway Airport is a domestic airport located on the southwest side of Chicago. It is the second-largest airport in the Chicago metropolitan area, after O'Hare.
The Orange Line train provides direct service between Midway Airport and downtown Chicago. The train station is located right outside of the airport terminal and offers a convenient and affordable way to get to the city.
Various taxi and ride-sharing services are available at Midway Airport. You can find them at designated areas outside of the terminal.
If you prefer to drive, Midway Airport offers a variety of rental car options.
There are also several bus services that operate to and from Midway Airport, including the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) bus system and the airport shuttle service.
You can find out more about transportation options at the information booth on the bag claim level near Door 3 LL.
Address: South Cicero Avenue, Chicago
Phone: +1 773-838-0600
Chicago O'Hare Airport (ORD)
The Chicago O’Hare International Airport is the main airport serving Chicago. O’Hare is approximately 18 miles (30 km) northwest of the city center. You can take the new Airport Transit System (ATS) to navigate between Terminals 1, 2, 3, and 5, as well as the Multi-Modal Facility (MMF) for rental cars, Economy Parking Lot F, Kiss ‘n’ Fly, Pace buses and Metra. The Blue Line train takes passengers to and from O’Hare and downtown Chicago and runs 24 hours a day.
Taxis take about 20-30 minutes to get to the city center.
Address: 10000 West Balmoral Avenue, Chicago
Phone: +1 800 832 6352
Best Time to Visit
Contrary to what its nickname "Windy City" implies, the winds aren't too much of a concern, and the nickname itself ties in with Chicago's political history more than its climate. The best times to visit are around the Christmas season (for the festive lights and holiday atmosphere), or, if higher temperatures are what you prefer, any time from late spring (April) to early fall.
Chicago has an excellent system of trains, buses and a commuter rail. Pay in cash on the bus and in exact change. Transit cards may be purchased at selected outlets, which eliminates the hassle of needing exact change. You may also call and get exact directions on public transport to and from any destination in the city. RTA Travel Information service is available seven days a week, including holidays, from 4:45am to 1 am for travel information on CTA, PACE and Metra.
Phone: +1 312 836 7000
Traditional taxis are widely available throughout the city, and they can be hailed on the street or booked through a dispatch service. It is very easy to find a taxi downtown or near the Miracle Mile. There is no extra charge for baggage or credit card use, and tipping is optional. Credit cards are accepted in all taxis. Alternatively, you can hail a cab and pay using CHICABS-approved apps ARRO and CURB.
Walgreens is open 24 hours, seven days a week and there are a number of Walgreens in downtown Chicago.
Address: 757 North Michigan, Chicago
Phone: +1 312 664 8686
The Main Post Office is located on 433 West Harrison Street. Visit the website for more information.
Address: 433 West Harrison Street, Chicago
Phone: +1 312 983 8030
Country Code: +1
Area Code Chicago: 312 or 773
All power sockets in the United States provide a standard voltage of 110–120V with a standard frequency of 60Hz. Plug type A has two flat parallel pins.