If you are looking for places to go in America, you must add the city of Chicago, Illinois to your list.
Chicago provides its visitors with so much: a gorgeous skyline, a vibrant lake, a mix of historical and modern architecture, an endless array of shops and some of the best restaurants and museums in the country.
Having been in Chi-town a couple times by now, I can write about the city’s hottest locals with confidence. At the end of the day, my main tip is this: visiting the “windy city” is a must.
Eat lunch and admire the skyline at Navy Pier
Navy Pier is a pristine boardwalk that extends far into Lake Michigan. Complete with a food court, restaurants, arcade games and a ferris wheel, this pier is the place to view the entire Chicago skyline that looms over the water. For real, the view is breathtaking.
If people aren’t grabbing grub from the pier’s food court, they are most likely tanning on their yachts or kayaking around the lake.
Shop ’til you drop on Michigan Avenue
In my experience, Michigan Avenue is home to some of the finest shopping in the world. The likes of Prada, Lucky Brand and Burberry line the streets, while hundreds more shops lie inside Water Tower Place–the local shopping mall.
Michigan Avenue extends all the way down to the famous Millenium Park, but most hit up the avenue to make big purchases on clothes, home goods or anything in between.
Observe the world from the John Hancock Center.
This building is home to a conference center and The Cheesecake Factory, but has attracted fame mostly because of its insane observation deck. If you aren’t afraid of heights, take the elevator up to the its nth level (it’s up so high your ears will pop on the ascent) and view Chicago as a bird would.
Find serenity in the midst of Fourth Presbytarian Church
Strolling along Michigan Avenue, an auora pulsating from within an ivy-lined, open stone building lured my sister and me into its breadth. Within seconds, we were pulled from the electric streets of Chicago and into this heavenly courtyard that seemed to be taken out of a fairytale.
But okay, we weren’t within the pages of a fairytale; we were on the property of Fourth Presbytarian Church. Chicagoians (yes, I just made that up) can be caught sitting and reflecting on the stone benches that line the premises. Why? Because this place is truly Heaven on Earth and provides visitors with a feeling unlike any other in the city.
Can you hear the chants coming from within the abbey? I can.
Walk through the skyscrapers and across the water at Millennium Park.
If the view of the skyline at Navy Pier isn’t enough for you, then check out the walkways that loop through Millenium Park. The walkways connect to other parks, as well, making it a great place for an evening run, or a morning stroll.
The walkways can take you through a “Garden Playground” or lead to what many come to Chicago to see: “the bean”–you know, that massive, mirrored orb that is plopped on a concrete bed in the middle of the park?
View fine works of art at the Art Institute of Chicago
Unlike the Met in New York City and the Smithsonians in D.C., this museum charges an admission fee of $25. Unfortunately, my sister and I couldn’t find it within us to cough up that dough (not even for some solid pieces of art), so we left only experiencing the museum’s gift shop and intimidating front entrance.
Was that a mistake? Maybe–TripAdvisor ranked this museum No. 1 in the world.
At the end of the day, I ended up leaving Chicago with this sick hat, a mug for my Nonno, a dress from Urban Outfitters and one of the most breathtaking experiences of my life.