"Chicago" Chicago by monica71
Chicago Travel Guide: 5,920 reviews and 12,132 photos
To me, Chicago is one of the best places to live close by. I say this because I really do not live in Chicago, but in one of Chicago's suburbs. I love the city, but I love the quiet and relaxing times my big backyard gives me too. And you can not possibly have this if you live right in town.
I visit the city very often and I always have lots of fun when doing it. There is so much to do and to see in Chicago. I can never get tired of visiting the Art Museum, Shedd Aquarium, The Planetarium, The Field Museum or the Museum of Science and Industry (just to name a few). Plus, there is always fun going to Navy Pier, Sears Tower, Big John (John Hancock Tower), or just a stroll on the Michigan Ave (known for its high-end stores) or State Street.
I will concentrate my focus though on one of the best things I like to do every summer in Chicago: take the Architectural Boat Tour!
One of my big time favorite things to do every summer in Chicago is to take the Architectural Tour. There are several companies that offer this tour with departures from Navy Pier or from the city (along the river). The boat tour lasts about 75 minutes and it is professionally narrated. The views from the boat are just amazing and if it is a sunny day, make sure you wear a hat and sun lotion! You will get lots of sun while on the boat.
Make sure that you get your tickets in advance if you plan on doing this tour on a weekend.
You will see the following during this tour: Navy Pier, Lake Point Tower, Aon Tower, John Hancock Center, Cityfront Center, Illinois Center, NBC Tower, Chicago Tribune Tower, 360 North Michigan, 333 North Michigan, 401 North Michigan, Wrigley Building, 35 East Wacker, Leo Burnett Building, IBM Building, Marina City, R.R. Donnelley Center, LaSalle-Wacker Building, 222 North LaSalle, Central Office Building, Merchandise Mart, 333 West Wacker, Montgomery Ward Complex, River Cottages, Merchandise Mart, Fulton House, 225 West Wacker, Boeing World headquarters, Civic Opera Building, AT&T Corporate Center and USG Building, Riverside Plaza, Citicorp Center, Sears Tower, Chicago Board of Trade, Central U.S. Post Office, U.S. Post Office Central Processing and Distribution Center, 311 South Wacker, and River City. The information is overwhelming, but you will be amazed how much of it you can retain.
Having the luxury to be close to the city, I have also visited most of these building by foot. But if you are in Chicago sometimes during the months of May to late September, and you do not have a lot of time to see everthing there is to see in Chicago, you should consider taking this tour.
Check this page with lots of information about this tour and several other options related to things to do and see in Chicago: http://www.chicagotours.us/
So if you are in Chicago for a brief time, these are the things I would recommend to do:
1. Architectural Tour by Boat (May to late September). If here during fall/winter, take the Chicago Grand Tour by bus (about 4 hours) or the Chicago City Mini-Bus Tour. I did not take the Grand Tour, but I enjoyed the City Mini-Bus Tour a lot when I took this one with some friends that were visting me late November 2006. In this tour you'll see the Sears Tower, Lincoln Park Zoo and Gardens, the Magnificent Mile (Michigan Ave), Millennium Park (lots of steel here, very modern, maybe too modern for my taste!), Wrigley Field, downtown's historic Loop area and a lot of other things.
2. Buckingham Fountain, built in 1927 by Kate Buckingham in memory of her brother, Clarence. The fountain operates from April to end of October and runs from 10:00 am to 11:00 pm each day. Every hour on the hour for 20 minutes the fountain produces a major water display and the center jet shoots 150 feet into the air. At dusk, the fountain's hourly major water display is accompanied by lights and music.
3. Go to the platform where the entrance to Shedd Aquarium is for a breath taking view of the city. If you have time, visit the Field Museum which is next door. This one is more for adults, but the kids will also have fun visiting it. The Aquarium is of course something that the kids will enjoy big time! If you are into museums and plan to visit a lot of them, get the Museum Pass which is a great value for the money and you will skip all the lines. The entrance to the Shedd Aquarium and the Field Museum is included in the pass, so if you plan to visit more than 1 museum, get the pass. It comes in few options: 3 days, 5 days or 7 days. You can purchase the pass here: http://www.gochicagocard.com/
4. Sears Tower (the lines are long, so get there early and if it is a cloudy day, skip this one since the view will be limited), but you can skip this one or John Hancock Tower
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