Introducing the city

£1.00 | $1.27

GBP | USD

Gasoline £0.56 | $0.72

One-way ticket £1.77 | $2.25

Beer £3.93 | $5.00

Main Course £11.78 | $15.00

About Chicago

The United States' third largest city, Chicago is located in Illinois and boasts a mesmerising skyline and world-class attractions bordering the emphatic Lake Michigan.

Sometimes experiencing four seasons in a week, The Windy City's weather is so unpredictable that the almost-three-million population seem to talk about it just as much as the British (we can't believe it either). But sun, rain or snow, this city still has plenty to offer with a reputation for impressive architecture, excellent cuisine and a thriving arts, entertainment and music scene.

In many ways, sporty, vibrant and proud Chicago draws comparisons to New York; just about everything you'd expect from a big city and more can be found here. Huge skyscrapers sit among the clouds, a range of diverse attractions never leave you wanting and beautiful green spaces provide an escape from the fast pace of city life. Chicagoans will argue their pizzas and hot-dogs are better than those you'll find in the Big Apple and many visiting tourists would agree. Plus, in summer, surprisingly beautiful beaches lining Lake Michigan give Chicago yet another dimension.

Hold onto your hat; this city will blow you away.

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Weather

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When Should You Visit?

September is a great month to visit when temperatures are warm and the crowds of summer have dispersed.

The weather in Chicago is variable throughout the year. During summer, the warmest month of July experiences an average high temperature of almost 30 degrees Celsius, whereas temperatures in the winter months regularly drop below freezing and snowfall is also common and can be heavy. February is the driest month of the year while August is the wettest month. Late spring and early autumn can still be pleasant, experiencing many warm days, although a jacket may be needed in the evening.

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Travioor top tips

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Getting Around
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Insider Info

  • If you plan on visiting a fair few of Chicago's attractions, purchasing a Chicago CityPass or a Go Chicago Card can save you a bundle as they include some of the city's best for a set price. Try Viator for great deals.
  • Chicago has an excellent public transport system with CTA visitor passes offering great value and unlimited rides on CTA trains and buses. A 3-day pass is just (around) $20 for example. Alternatively, (weather permitting) a bicycle is a good option as the city's lakefront boasts 26 miles of bike and walking trails.
  • Instead of heading for the observation deck on the 94th floor of in the John Hancock Tower, you can enjoy a cocktail in the Signature Lounge on the 96th for less than the price of a ticket , which boasts equally jaw-dropping views.

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Food and drink

Main Course £11.78 | $15.00

3-Course Meal £47.13 | $60.00

Cappuccino £3.10 | $3.94

Beer £3.93 | $5.00

The Scene

Foodies are always in for a treat when visiting Chicago. There are an array of international options here given its international appeal and reputation. In particular you will discover excellent Italian and Asian eateries in ethnic areas such as Little Italy and Chinatown respectively. However, when people come to this city they think of the food Chicago is known for. Here you can taste some of the best deep-dish pizza you're likely to come across. Other popular Chicago staples include a Chicago-style hot-dog and an Italian beef sandwich which should be experienced by all who visit this city.

With a long brewing history, they'll be a variety of locally produced beverages to enjoy. Given the size of this city you'll never be too far from a nightlife scene with dozens of diverse options ranging from live music hangouts and late-night clubs to chic cocktail lounges and budget bars.

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History

Chicago’s Story

The first permanent settlement in Chicago was in the late 18th century when a trader known as Jean Baptiste Point du Sable came here from Haiti. However, Chicago did not 'become' a city until 1837 and people began to notice it was ideally positioned for trading possibilities, with railroads soon to follow. Following some great development, the Great Fire of Chicago in 1871 burned many of the wooden structures to the ground although the city and its people went about rebuilding them very quickly, putting Chicago back on its feet again by the 20th century.

In the next 100 years, Chicago really took off, with Daniel Burnham's 'Chicago Plan' prompting proceedings. Wide boulevards, parks and skyscrapers were being constructed, although the world's very first skyscraper came a little earlier in 1885. Today Chicago stands tall above the rest with an array of high-rise buildings designed by many top architects. Its continuous development means it is now one of the world's most recognised cities and a place where thousands come every year in chase of the American Dream.

Language

English

English is the official language and you won't need to know any other languages to get by in the city. However, maybe you could touch up on your Americanisms or some Chicago slang like the examples we've listed below:

  • You ready to dip?: You ready to go/leave?
  • Square: Cigarette
  • Fufu: Fake/bad quality/not good (usually in reference to clothes/shoes)
  • Pop: Soda

Need to know

+1 Dialling Code
911 Emergency Services

Get The Low-Down

  • You can reach Downtown Chicago from O'Hare International Airport by train in 45 minutes.
  • Traffic can be heavy in the main areas so avoid renting a car and driving in the city if possible.
  • A 15-20% tip is usually given in restaurants, while tips are also given to taxi drivers and bartenders.
  • Be careful late at night if you are in one of Chicago's 'rougher' neighbourhoods.
  • Beware of ice in winter.

VISA INFORMATION

Find out about the visa requirements for the US here.

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Travioor Recommends

1. Art Institute

The diverse and extensive range of art exhibits here can keep you occupied for hours on end.

2. Wrigley Field

Chicago is a huge sports city with a major team in several US sports. Try and catch a Chicago Cubs baseball game at Wrigley Field for a taste of American sport.

3. Millennium Park

Other than enjoying the diverse attractions in the city's most popular park, look out for free concerts and movies in the Pritzker Pavilion.

4. Shopping

Magnificient Mile is the most famous shopping street but don't disregard other unique stores in Lincoln Square, Bucktown and Wicker Park.

5. Speakeasies

It's been said that Chicago never really sobered up after the Prohibition era of the 1920's. Go join in the drunken fun at one of the secret speakeasies such as Double A.


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