Heading to the Windy City can be a hassle, but it’s worth it to experience the incredible sights, food, and culture that make this major city so great. Not everyone gets to live a stone’s throw from one of the most beautiful cities in the nation—and the world. It’s easy to get used to what is in your own backyard, but the five best reasons to visit Chicago will help you rediscover the wonder around you.
Eat the Food
The biggest draw to Chicago is the food. The city is best known for its greasy, hearty dishes that have been around for decades. Food in Chicago is so famous that it’s featured on television shows across popular channels, such as PBS and the Food Network. The city celebrates its food with festivals like Taste of Chicago, where you can sample the best dishes from local restaurants. The most popular Chicago dishes include:
- Chicago-style deep-dish pizza
- Italian beef sandwiches
- Chicago-style hot dogs
- Cheeseburgers topped with a fried egg
- Jibarito sandwich
Climb the Architecture
Chicago invented the skyscraper, and it’s still the most stunning piece of architecture you’ll see. Whether you are downtown or viewing the entire skyline from a distance, you’ll see more than 100 skyscrapers. The tallest skyscraper in Chicago is Willis Tower, still known as the Sears Tower to locals. You can take an elevator to the top of this building and see the entire city from nearly 1,400 feet.
Pro Tip: Take a tour to learn more about the history of Chicago’s architecture. Tours on the Chicago River give you unique views of the buildings.
Listen to the Music
The myriad of other spectacular things that Chicago is known for makes it difficult for many people to remember its thriving music scene. The city is alive with jazz and featured predominantly in the emergence of house music in the 1980s. Several major festivals take place in Chicago throughout the year, including:
- Riot Fest
- Chicago Blues Festival
- Pitchfork Music Festival
- Spring Awakening Music Festival
Pro Tip: Even Chicago’s food festivals feature musical acts. You can catch live bands at Taste of Chicago and Ribfest, which takes place in Chicago’s west suburb of Naperville.
Enjoy the Views
Chicago’s motto is “city in a garden.” In addition to the 26 beaches of Lake Michigan, the city is 10 percent parkland and contains several rooftop gardens. You can find trails throughout the city and suburbs, from the lakefront to those that run along the rivers. Additionally, several state parks offer a retreat from Chicago’s urban neighborhoods.
Embrace the Culture
You will find culture and art throughout the city no matter where you go. One of the best places to start is Museum Campus, where you can spend an entire day exploring the Field Museum, the Adler Planetarium, and the Shedd Aquarium. The city also features the Art Institute of Chicago and its alternating exhibits. Other cultural experiences include visiting the theatre district to catch an off-Broadway show and shopping on the Magnificent Mile. You can also enjoy a football game at Soldier Field or see one of the city’s two major baseball teams play at Wrigley Field or Guaranteed Rate Field.
Pro Tip: You can guarantee that you’ll get to the game on time when you let someone who knows the streets of Chicago drive you there. Consider the advantages of a private car service over a taxi or rideshare service!
Uncovering the five best reasons to visit Chicago is as simple as taking a day trip or a long weekend. Whether you go by yourself or with friends, your experiences will be unforgettable if you hit up the best attractions in Chicago.
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