View of downtown Chicago from Willis Towerhttps://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:ChicagovanafSearsTower.jpg
is the largest city in Illinois. With a population of 2.8 million people, it is also the third largest city in the United States. The Chicago Metropolitan Area spreads across the states of Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin and has a population of 9.6 million people.
Chicago was founded in 1833 on the area straddling the watersheds and waterways of the Mississippi River and the Great Lakes. The area was inhabited by the Potawatomi Native Americans who were forciby removed by the Treaty of Chicago.
Chicago grew as a transportation and telecommunication hub for North America. This role is reflected in the importance placed on the Chicago-O'Hare International Airport, presently the second busiest airport in the world. Chicago is also a major financial and business center.
Chicago is famous for blues and jazz music, as well as for comedy. The city has a modern skyline dominated by Willis Tower, formerly known as Sears Tower, presently the tallest building in the United States.
Lighthouse off Navy Pier in Chicagohttps://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Navy_Pier_lighthouse.jpg
Travel to Chicago
You can reach Chicago by flight to the O'Hare International Airport (ORD) and the Midway Airport (MDW). Both airports may also hold the Metropolitan Area airport code of CHI.
The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) operates the bus and train services in Chicago. This second largest public transport provider in the United States also manages the trains connecting Chicago to the two airports.
The most economical option to reach the city is to take the CTA trains, which costs $2.25 one way - they are certainly cheaper and in times of jams a lot faster than taking the taxi (which will cost you $40 from O'Hare and $30 from Midway).
O'Hare International Airport is a giant airport located 17 miles to the northwest of downtown Chicago. United Airlines and American Airlines have the highest volume of traffic using this airport, and 50% and 40% respectively. From this airport, you can take the CTA Blue Line to Chicago. The journey will take 45-60 minutes.
The much smaller Midway International Airport is 10 miles to the southwest of downtown Chicago. Southwest Airlines and AirTran are the two main carriers using this airport. The CTA Orange Line links it to Chicago, making the journey in 25 minutes.
Greyhound, Megabus and Indian Trails are some of the bus companies that have services to Chicago.
Amtrak has a service linking Chicago to major US cities. The terminus is the majestic Union Station, itself a tourist attraction.
Amtrak train approaching Union Station, Chicagohttps://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:A_Lake_Shore_Limited_train_backing_into_Chicago_Union_Station.jpg
Travel within Chicago
The CTA runs the buses and the trains in Chicago. The trains are known as the L, short for "Elevated", because that's how it is most of the time. There are also some sections that go underground as a subway (or metro). You can get the maps for using the CTA here.
As a visitor to Chicago, you can pay for your rides using either the Visitor Pass, which allows unlimited travel. The Visitor Pass are available for 24 hours ($5.75), 3 days ($14), 7 days ($23) and 30 days ($86), and can be purchased at selected train stations and convenience stores. Alternatively, you can buy the stored-value Transit Cards, available at most kiosks and train stations, which you can refill. Each single train ride, regardless of distance costs $2.25. If you need to transfer, say from one turnstile and entering another, costs an additional $0.25.
Places of Interest in Chicago
- Chicago History Museum
Museum that traces the history of Chicago from its early days to present day.
- Newberry Library
An independent research library for the humanities.
- Magnificent Mile
Stretch of Michigan Avenue which is the most fashionable street in Chicago.
- John Hancock Center
Famous 100-storey skyscraper in Chicago.
- Navy Pier
A recreational and cultural center in Chicago, once the largest pier in the world.
- Chicago Children's Museum
Museum that focuses on activating the intellectual and creative potential of children.
- Museum of Broadcast Communications
One of only three broadcast museums in the United States.
- The Loop
A district in Downtown Chicago that got its name from the elevatede track system.
- The Art Institute of Chicago
Institute with an extensive collection of artwork spanning nearly 5,000 years of human civilization.
- Willis Tower
Formerly Sears Tower, the 108-storey skyscraper that is still the tallest building in the United States.
- South Loop
Residential and retail neighborhood to the south of Downtown Chicago.
- Museum Campus
Lakefront park that links three world-famous natural science museums.
- Museum of Science & Industry
Museum that celebrates scientific and technological accomplishments.
- University of Chicago
Prestigious private university founded through an endowment from John D. Rockefeller on land donated by Marshall Field.
- DuSable Museum of African American History
Museum dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of African American historical experiences and achievements.
Sights in Greater Chicago
View of the skyscrapers along the Chicago River
- Lincoln Park Zoo
Oldest free public zoo in the United States.
- Oak Park
District with many groundbreaking buildings by celebrated architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
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