Windy City Chicago

Chicago, it gives its name to a great song and a great musical show.  It’s called the Windy City, but not for any genuine meteorological reason, but because its politicians had a reputation for being verbose.  President Obama was a Chicago politician, and it’s the city which gave us electric blues.

Named after a wild onion, Chicago did have a reputation for being rather wild, especially during the prohibition years in the 1920s when Chicago’s criminal gangs gained global notoriety.

Chicago is located on Lake Michigan and these days it is considered to be one of America’s greenest and most livable cities., and the City Hall even has a rooftop garden.

Some of the “must see” attractions in Chicago include Navy Pier in Streeterville which juts 3,300 feet (1,010 metres) out into Lake Michigan.  The pier contains a ferris wheel, IMAX Theatre, Children’s Museum, Shakespeare Theatre, public art and an interactive animated fountain.

Millennium Park is located in the Loop Community Area and is part of the larger Grant Park.  It contains a pavilion where concerts are held, ice skating rink, postmodern sculptures, a music shell, crown fountain and Lurie garden and a cycling centre.  Millennium Park is very popular with locals and visitors alike.  

For shopping you can’t go past the Magnificent Mile which runs up Michigan Avenue from the Chicago River to Oaks Street.  Here you have some of the world’s leading stores including Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Cartier, Bulgari, Saks Fifth Avenue, Tiffany and Co., Chanel, Georg Jensen and lots more.  It is a shoppers, and certainly a window shopper’s, delight.  Along this stretch of road are also some of Chicago’s best known restaurants like The Pump Room, The Prime Rib and Spargo’s.

Chicago has a unique service for tourists.  Called Chicago Greeter, it is a free service which matches visitors with a local called a Greeter based on the visitor’s area of interest.  The greeters use a combination of walking and public transport to show the visitors around, and give them an introduction to the city that only a local can do.

There are a number of boat tours that you can do, one of which is the architectural tour, which may sound a bit dry but actually gives you a fascinating insight into both the history the architecture of the city.

Chicago has something to suit anyone’s taste, from the culture of its galleries, museums and theatres, to its magnificent parks and waterways, its shopping and restaurant experience, and, of course, Chicago is home to the Chicago Bulls basketball team and Wrigley Field, home of the Cubs.  Chicago also has a magnificent musical history, being a leading centre for jazz, blues, rock ‘ roll, hip hop, house and many other musical styles.  A trip to Chicago is not complete without taking in a show at a club or theatre.

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