Situated at the edge of Lake Michigan in Illinois is an amazing metropolis known as Chicago.
Known for its historic museums, iconic skyscrapers and dyed-green river during St. Patrick’s Day (yes, really), Chi-town is one of the largest cities in the US.
I first visited the Windy City while I was travelling around America with my sister in 2016. Since then, I’ve been twice with my Wisconsinite boyfriend in transit to or from Green Bay.
And do you know what? Chicago has quickly become come one of my all-time favourite American cities for a number of reasons.
How to Get to Chicago
First things first, getting to Chicago from the UK is rather straightforward.
Either way, your journey will take approximately eight hours.
How to Get Around Chicago
The great thing about Downtown Chicago is that it’s super walkable. You can rent a car if you wish, but I wouldn’t recommend it.
Why? Well, Chicago isn’t the easiest city to drive around. The roads are complicated and there are several one-way systems! Instead, I’d suggest using Uber or Lyft and taking advantage of their handy train and bus services.
The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) is the second largest transportation service in the country and operates the famous L-train lines. You can purchase a Ventra card for use as a 1-day pass ($10), 3-day pass ($20), 7 day pass ($28) or 30 day pass ($105). Alternatively, you can purchase single tickets which start at $2.50.
Oh, and there is an L-train that goes Downtown from O’Hare airport for just $5 one way. Helpful, right?
Top Things to See and Do in Chicago
There are lots of things to see and do in the city, which makes it one of my favourites in the whole wide world. Read on for a few more reasons why I love Chicago.
1. The Buildings
Firstly, the skyscrapers, architecture and general skyline are extremely impressive in Chicago. It looks and feels like New York City’s sibling.
(And who doesn’t love NYC?)
2. Willis Tower
Speaking of Chicago’s stunning skyline, there’s an observation deck at the top of the Willis Tower which will give you the most perfect view of the city.
As well as being one of the tallest skyscrapers in the world, Willis Tower even has a glass ledge that protrudes outside of the building.
You can stand or even sit down on this – which feels kind of scary, I might add – but it captures the best photographs.
3. The Food
Another reason why I love the Chicago is the food.
Sure, you can get every cuisine imaginable in this city. However, whatever you do, make sure you try their famous deep-dish pizza. This is a standard pizza cooked in a deep dish pan with about 2984 layers.
Okay, that may be a slight exaggeration. But keep in mind that it’s a struggle to get through just a slice of this pizza, never mind the whole thing.
It’s worth it though.
There’s also some cute little cafes that you just have to visit, including The Original Pancake House that does every kind of pancake breakfast you can think of. Did someone say “yum”?
4. The Bean
Located in Millennium Park and perhaps one of the most touristic attractions of Chicago, the Bean is definitely worth a visit.
Basically a giant steel sculpture, the Bean was originally called ‘Cloud Gate’ but earned this famous nickname due to its shape.
It’s definitely cool to see if you like art as it has an interesting reflection of the skyscrapers surrounding it. You can also walk directly under it and use the shape to play with your reflection for some pretty unique photos!
5. Oak Street Beach
Chicago is the only city I’ve been to so far in this world with a beach that just comes out of nowhere when you’re making your way through the skyscrapers.
(Oh hey, sand – didn’t see you there.)
There’s something so awesome about having your photo taken overlooking a beautiful beach on the edge of Lake Michigan with the Chicago skyline directly in the background.
Truth be told, I fell in love.
6. The Shopping
One of the top reasons why I love Chicago is because you can get anything you want on Michigan Avenue, whether luxury goods or high street bargains.
Therefore, be warned. If you want to walk the length of it, you can expect to be shopping all day long.
7. Navy Pier
The final reason why I love Chicago is Navy Pier.
If you’ve ever visited Los Angeles, it’s a bit like Santa Monica Pier where you can find rides, bars and restaurants all on one strip at the water’s edge.
It’s always busy and bustling no matter what time of day, and has great views of the city. Two words: must do.
Endless Reasons Why I Love Chicago
Whichever way you look at it, Chicago is beautiful both morning and night.
I’m obsessed with all the little things the city has going for it and I can’t wait to return again soon so that we can continue our love affair.
Have you been to Chicago? Do you love it? Let me know!