Chicago is the third largest city in the USA and enjoyed rapid growth in the 19th and 20th centuries as a prime transportation hub between the great cities of the east and the expanding settlements in the west.
Despite burning to the ground in 1871, the city was quickly rebuilt, and grew to cater for the influx of immigrants from Ireland, Eastern Europe, and the USA's Deep South. Known as the Windy City, this great metropolis boasts a skyline of towering skyscrapers, including the renowned Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower). Michigan Avenue runs through the heart of the city and, north of the Chicago River, is known as the ‘Magnificent Mile’. This is the heart of Chicago, with restaurants, shops and the Chicago Water Tower, one of the few buildings to survive the 1871 fire.
Visitors may wish to see Cloud Gate, locally known as the ‘bean’, in Millennium Park, the Art Institute of Chicago — one of the city’s range of excellent museums — or take in some live music at one of the many jazz, blues and rock venues. For outdoor entertainment, visit one of Chicago’s fine beaches, the lively shops and restaurants of Navy Pier, catch a baseball game at Wrigley Field, or take an atmospheric cruise on the Chicago River.
For unparalleled views over the city, its beaches and Lake Michigan, visit 360 Chicago, formerly the John Hancock Observatory.
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Suggested itineraries featuring Chicago
Our itineraries will give you suggestions for what is possible when you travel in Chicago, and they showcase routes we know work particularly well. Treat them as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.
Map of Chicago
Places & hotels on the map
Places near Chicago
- Milwaukee 82 miles away
- Springfield, Illinois 180 miles away
- Green Bay 184 miles away
- Wisconsin 203 miles away
- Door Peninsula 211 miles away
- Traverse City and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore 224 miles away
- Michigan 225 miles away
- Detroit 236 miles away
- St. Louis 263 miles away
- Louisville 272 miles away
Photos of Chicago
Accommodation choices for Chicago
We’ve selected a range of accommodation options for when you visit Chicago. Our choices usually come recommended for their character, facilities and service or location. Our specialists always aim to suggest properties that match your preferences.
The Peninsula Hotel has a wonderful atmosphere of traditional understated luxury. The service and attention to detail is superb and some of Chicago's best dining options can be found here.
Located in the centre of downtown Chicago, the Hampton Inn & Suites lies within walking distance of the Magnificent Mile, Navy Pier and Millennium Park, with a host of shops and restaurants on its doorstep.
Located in the heart of Chicago's Magnificent Mile, each of the 347 non-smoking guest suites is elegantly appointed and subtly decorated in classic, neutral tones with a separate sitting room.