"Chicago Visit!!" Chicago by payal08

Chicago Travel Guide: 5,992 reviews and 12,656 photos

Chicago during winters

Chicago is agonizing in winter. Be prepared with all warm gears.

The most famous in Chicago is the Millennium Park. Here donot miss the Mercury Bean to see the reflection of the city, the Crown fountains, the modern design of the Jay Pritkzer Pavillion and the Winding bridge .

Opposite to the park is the Chicago Cultural Center. The building's interior of beautiful mosaics and carvings, with the biggest Tiffany glass painted dome makes it an architectural feat. There are free guided tours conducted on specific days for visitors who wish to know more about the place. This building is also the tourist information centre. A lot of exhibitions,shows and workshops are conducted here, free for visitors.

The Michigan Avenue is famous for its Magnificent Mile,a stretch of high end designer stores, luxury hotels, four-star restaurants, and cultural and architectural attractions.During winter the trees on both side of the stretch is covered in snow and decorated with white lights, like a fairyland.

The Water Tower Building in the Mile is a landmark which survived the Chicago Fire of 1871 which gutted down the entire city to ashes.

The John Hancock Tower, is one of the tallest buildings. The Signature Lounge in the 96th floor of the building gives a breathtaking view of the entire city from high up , a great place for a romantic dinner.

Dont resist the Hershey's and the Giradelli to have the bombastic chocolate icecream!!

The Fourth Presbyterian Church is a paradise in the midst of the hustle bustle of the Michigan Ave. Step inside to enjoy a moment of calm in the beautiful courtyard of the church.

Few other notable architectures in the stretch are the Wrigley's and Tribune. The Tribune building is built in stones collected from the world famous places around the world like Taj Mahal in India, Cathedral in Rome, Pyramid of Egypt. Across the Chicago river is the twin Marina Towers with its unique spiral architecture. The 25ft high statue of the gothic couple near the river is an inquisitive piece!

Every Thursday 5 - 8 PM is free entry to the Art Institute of Chicago. The place has one of the biggest collections of masterpieces of famous artists like Van Gogh, Monet. Oh! definitely visit the tiny garden just beside the museum, its covered with canopy of low trees,with a beautiful fountain, a steal!!

The Navy Pier is an entertainment center for shows, shops, food, rides and cruises. Though its livelier during summers, go for the 20 min ride in the giant Ferris wheel which gives the view of the city from the height. Don't miss the fireworks at the pier on specific nights.

Visit the less known Money Museum of Federal Reserve Bank. Admission is free. One get to see the transformation of currency with time,and many interesting facts about notes. Most interesting was the million dollar notes in the briefcase, Felt like a millionaire for a second!!

The Museum of Science and Industry took an entire day.Ticket is $15, but specific days are free. A visit to the MSI is worth as many things to see like submarine, coal mines, storms and other geological experiments, robotics and many more.

During the month of Feb-March, there were a few events worth attending.

Free dance sessions held every Sat/Sunday for the entire month of Feb in Millennium park. We went for salsa and tango, fun!

Ice Sculpting competition at Grant park. Artists across countries participated, made beautiful ice sculptures. The funniest was the statue of Oprah, named "Snowprah".

The celebration of "Toast to Magnificent Mile", a display of fireworks over the Chicago river, a 20 minutes event worth seeing.

The biggest celebration of St.Patrick's Day with a parade. On this day the Chicago river is dyed all GREEN, very funky!! The roads are filled with people dressed in green wigs, hats, glasses, painted faces, beads.

Few other attractions are the Adler Planetarium, Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum, Bahai temple and the Museum of Contemporary Art.

Chicago during summer

Summers in Chicago is a glimpse of just 3 months. By the end of March, get to see the warmer days. The city transforms drastically from the grey of snow to colorful blooms with the onset of spring!

Couldnt wait to ventured out to the Lakeshore Drive to see the lake Michigan, which is mostly covered in snow. The walk along the lakedrive is absolutely gorgeous. There are docks lined with yatches, swans and seagulls swimming in the lake. Great place to jog or cycle along the drive.

The Chicago River through the midst of the city makes it perfect. At this time one should not miss the boat rides and cruises on the river. Get into the River taxi which is the most budget friendly, just $2 for a ride!! It takes from Michigan Ave to Chinatown and back. The ride is approximately for an hour and the view is amazing. Its lots of fun too. If you are not on a budget, take the architectural tour.

Don't want anyone to miss the beauty of the Michigan Avenue in spring! During this time its transformed into a garden of tulips of all colors, breathtaking indeed!

The Millennium park becomes the hub, with many concerts and filled with families picnicking and kids playing in water under the Crown fountains.
The Lurie Garden in the park is a secret retreat during summer days, the best place to soak your tired feet. The purple flowers in the garden makes a beautiful scenery with the skyscrapers in the background!

The Buckingham Fountain is awake, gushes water beautifully to give respite to the summer heat. In the night the lights in the fountain makes it even more beautiful.

One can enjoy sunbathing and a swim in the small beach hidden beside the Navy Pier ,ie., the Oak street beach. The place is crowded during the few summer days. The Navy Pier is full of fun activities for kids.

Starting the month of May there are many summer festivals. Here are a few we attended.

The Chicago International Film Festival in the Cultural Center. Great movies of from across different countries.

Eastside Millennium Art Festival, and the Chicago Tribune North Michigan Avenue were great experiences. Had the opportunity to catch up with a few artists personally n discuss their work, truly inspiring.

Never miss the Mayfests in the neighbourhood localities. The first summer fest was the Mayfest in Lakeview, had to push through the crowd, live bands performing. The best was pinacolada served in a pineapple shell,the showstopper!! This followed a few more fests like the Andersonville Midsommarfest.

One of my favourite neighbourhood was Oldtown with line of restaurants and speciality shops in Wells street.

There are a lot of events held in the Daley Plaza. I enjoyed the Turkish Festival and the Chicago Arabesque. One gets the chance to taste the local cuisines and art, with stage dances. One regular event is the Chicago Farmer's Market on Thursdays!

The most awaited is the free summer workout sessions in the Millennium park. Every morning on weekends went to attend the Yoga, Pilate and Aerobic sessions. Working out in the early morning under the open sky is a heavenly experience and energised me all throughout the day!

The Chicago Blues Festival and the Taste of Chicago in the Grant park. had great music with good food.

Exploring the city our another finding was the The Nicholas Centennial Fountain and Water Arc in the Chicago river near the Sheraton. The fountain works only during the summer, in time interval. Interesting to see the fountain shooting water across the river. It's funny to see boats stopping quizzically below the arc not knowing what to do.

Summer in Chicago is definitely the most fun time and the city has a lot to offer!

Chicago - Dine and party

Every afternoon for a coffee my favorites were "Caribou" or "Descartes", in Michigan Ave. A cup of white chocolate mocha with a book in hand is just so appropriate for the evening. Also the coffeeshop in Borders, State Street or the cafe inside the Cultural center was the place for some brew.

Few budget places:
"Wow Bao" for a quick Chinese bao, a must try is the famous hot dogs at "Downtown Dogs". A speciality place for popcorns is the "Garret popcorn" especially the caramel flavour is yummy.

My most favourite pub in Chicago had been Pippin's Tavern, on Rush street. Its cosy and frequented by the regulars. I left my heart at Pippin's.

The Hubbard Street is all alive and the hub for nightlife as it lined up with pubs and dance clubs.We went to Social25 and Hub51 and both were fun as we danced till 2am! It gets very crowded on Fri/Sat but thats the part of the fun, isnt it?

Another place worth mentioning is "Howl at the Moon", a piano bar. The unique n most fun part is their big bucket drinks and the bone drinks as not seen anywhere else!

An unusual Indian experience in the USA was Devon, an Indian neighborhood in Chicago. The place has everything Indian. We ate chats and samosas, at Sukhadias,and then biriyani and mango lassi in a Pakistani restaurant Sabri Nihari. Its worth a visit in Chicago.

When in Chicago DONOT miss the Giordano's chicago deepdish pizza!!

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:City with great architectural value, good food!
  • Cons:Winter sucks! Stay safe.
  • In a nutshell:A definite summer city in US!
  • Last visit to Chicago: Feb 2010
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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