Chicago is the largest city in Illinois, the largest metropolis in the U.S. hinterland and the third-largest by population in the United States after New York and Los Angeles. The city extends mostly over Lake Michigan. Nicknamed "Windy City", the center of the city (the "Loop") is dominated by imposing skyscrapers that also reach the 108 floors of the Willis Tower (previously known as Sears Tower). This architectural typology was born in Chicago which still boasts the second tallest skyscraper in the United States (after the new World Trade Center) and three skyscrapers in the ranking of the top 15 in the world. Transformed from a small town into an important metropolis, Chicago has been defined as one of the 10 most influential cities in the world. Today it is a multi-ethnic city, as well as an important financial and industrial center and one of the world's largest exhibition centers. It is the city with the largest number of movable bridges in the world (currently 45) and is a world reference point for blues. Having only 2 nights in Chicago, we will have to focus on seeing the most important attractions and having an authentic Chicago Style experience!
First stop at the largest and most famous park in the city. The park's main attraction is undoubtedly the Cloud Gate (or the Bean as the inhabitants call it): a sculpture of 110 tons of steel that resembles a huge bean on which the city and the surrounding people are reflected. It will be nice to take your photos while, with thousands of other people, you reflect on the huge legume! At this point, the time has come to introduce you to the legendary Chicago style hot dog. You will find it only here and trust me: it will be worth tasting it!! You can try this delicious experience at the first hot dog stall that you will find inside the park (later I will suggest the address for one of the best hot dogs fast food in the city!)
HISTORIC ROUTE 66 BEGIN SIGN:
In the passage from Millenium Park to Grant Park (78-98 E Adams Street), you will find this sign indicating the starting point of the historic Route 66. Do not have great expectations, it is just a small celebratory sign that you will have to look for carefully.
Continue to Grant Park until you reach Buckingham Fountain. This huge fountain is located directly on the lakefront and symbolizes Lake Michigan with 4 sea lion sculptures representing the states with whom the lake borders; Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois and Indiana. The fountain is active daily from 08.00 a.m. to 11.00 p.m., from mid-April to mid-October (it is then closed due to the freezy temperatures of the city). Water shows occur every hour and last about 20 minutes. During the shows, the central jet shoots water up to a height of 46 meters. After sunset, the choreography is accompanied by plays of light and music. The evening show starts at 10.00 p.m.
Impossible to be in Chicago and not to climb the Willis Tower: the tallest skyscraper in the world from 1973 to 1998. If you are really brave you have to set foot on the Ledge: the "closed balcony" with a transparent floor placed on the top of the skyscraper (you can buy tickets
on-line from Italy). It will be a memorable and somewhat frightening experience. I advise you to sit on the balcony and take a picture: it will seem that you are suspended in space. Then take a tour of the Skydeck and admire the city in its immense splendor. Even the elevator ride will be very fast, unplug your ears once you reach your destination.
After the adrenaline-pumping experience of the Willis Tower, relax a little at the city's entertainment pier. Here you will find countless restaurants, and fast-food restaurants of the best known American chains and an amusement park. In order not to lose the habit, you have to get on the beautiful Ferris wheel. This slightly vintage structure will allow you to have a privileged view of the city while enjoying a romantic atmosphere.
A magnificent pedestrian path that runs alongside the river to Lake Michigan. A beautiful path to walk both day and night when a thousand lights of Chicago come on. Bordered by gardens and countless clubs, restaurants, and bars, it is popular with tourists and citizens. It is wonderful to stroll and admire the beautiful buildings that surround it.
Cruising is also a must! Being able to admire the buildings of Chicago and their beautiful architecture with the explanations of an expert guide is essential. From the boat you will have a privileged point of view and you can find out more about the history and fascinating events that have characterized the history of this city. The tour begins with a close-up view of Chicago's international architecture as viewed from the river and then ventures through the Chicago Lock to the calm, cool waters of Lake Michigan, for sweeping views of the extraordinary Chicago skyline. As cruise provider I recommend Wendella.
The Magnificent Mile is Chicago's main commercial district. It is a lively area with elegant shops, high fashion outlets, trendy restaurants and chic hotels. Among the places of interest, there is the historic Chicago Water Tower, the neo-Gothic Tribune Tower, the Wrigley Building skyscraper in terracotta and the very high John Hancock Center, 100 floors, home to an observatory with fine cuisine and panoramic views of the city.
I recommend that you also take a subway tour. The Chicago Metro is the second-largest rapid transit system in the USA, after the New York subway, and the third busiest in the United States after New York and Washington. It started operating in 1892 making it the second oldest rapid transit system in America. Most of the lines are on the surface and travel suspended. The most famous is the Loop line that deserves a visit. The red line and the blue line are also the only ones on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.