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Why Go To Chicago

"It is hopeless for the occasional visitor to try to keep up with Chicago – she outgrows his prophecies faster than he can make them," wrote Mark Twain in "Life on the Mississippi." Although Twain made up his mind about the Windy City before it even reached its 50th year, his impression of Chicago has proven long-lasting. America's third-largest city has been described in a myriad of ways throughout its lifetime. When Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla were competing for the right to use their forms of electricity to illuminate the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition (also known as the Chicago World's Fair), Chicago was known as a city of industry. When Prohibition set in, notorious mobsters like Al Capone transformed Chicagoland into their own dangerous playground. And intense immigration surges throughout the 20th century brought a host of new identities to the Windy City, including Greek, Polish, Italian, Irish and Jewish.

 

Today, Chicago remains just as diverse, boasting a thriving arts scene, various shopping districts and a cornucopia of eateries. First-time Chi-Town visitors are sure to have their eyes to the sky for at least a day or two. Chicago's skyscrapers and public art are absolutely worth admiring: Tag along on a Chicago Architecture River Cruise or pass a few hours in Millennium Park and you'll find yourself spending lots of time looking upward. For a bird's-eye perspective, head to Willis Tower's Skydeck Chicago or the John Hancock Center's 360 CHICAGO Observation Deck. After, dive headfirst into all the city has to offer – from exceptional museums to a thriving sports culture and deep-dish pizza that takes delicious to whole new depths.

Rankings

The U.S. News & World Report travel rankings are based on analysis of expert and user opinions.

Chicago is ranked as:

  • #3 in Best Foodie Cities in the USA

  • #3 in Best Weekend Getaways

  • #7 in Best Nightlife Scenes in the USA

  • #10 in Best Summer Vacations in the USA

  • #14 in Cheap Family Vacations

  • #16 in Best Family Vacations in the USA

  • #21 in Best Places to Visit in the USA

Best Things To Do In Chicago

Chicago has all the offerings you'd expect from a major city: world-class museums, vibrant shopping districts and ample nightlife venues, just to name a few. If you're here to learn, plan to spend a fair amount of time in Grant Park: This area is home to such notable institutions as the Art Institute of Chicago and The Field Museum. For a more Windy City-centric education, start your vacation with an architecture river cruise – which can provide background on Chicago's famous skyscrapers like the Willis Tower and Tribune Tower – before exploring the city's innovative roots at the Museum of Science and Industry. Just save time for some of the city's quintessential experiences like catching a game at Wrigley Field and window-shopping along The Magnificent Mile.

Chicago Travel Tips

  • Winter is no walk in the park - Winter temperatures in the teens and 20s are made worse by biting wind chills. Come prepared with a warm hat, a reliable pair of gloves, a thick coat and sturdy boots if you're visiting during this season.

  • You don't need wheels - Forget the car: Chicago's extensive public transportation system is a much better (and easier) way to get around.

  • You've got a lot to see - So schedule wisely. Group the things you want to do by neighborhood to avoid wasting time in transit.

  • Consider a tour - For a local's perspective of the city, book a tour. Whether you're looking for a food tour or a boat tour, you'll find a variety of experiences to choose from.

  • Bundle up - The weather outside may be frightful, but there are plenty of deals to be found during the winter months. Many hotels slash their rates, and cheap flights are easy to come by.

*SOURCE: Information From This Page Can Be Found at U.S. News & World Report