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Chicago, Illinois

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View of downtown Chicago from Willis TowerView of downtown Chicago from Willis Tower
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Chicago 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 ChicagoLighthouse off Navy Pier in Chicago
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authorshipFrank Buchalski

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Travel to Chicago

By Plane
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.

By Bus
Greyhound, Megabus and Indian Trails are some of the bus companies that have services to Chicago.

By Train
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, ChicagoAmtrak train approaching Union Station, Chicago
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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

  1. Chicago History Museum
    Museum that traces the history of Chicago from its early days to present day.

  2. Newberry Library
    An independent research library for the humanities.

  3. Magnificent Mile
    Stretch of Michigan Avenue which is the most fashionable street in Chicago.

  4. John Hancock Center
    Famous 100-storey skyscraper in Chicago.

  5. Navy Pier
    A recreational and cultural center in Chicago, once the largest pier in the world.

  6. Chicago Children's Museum
    Museum that focuses on activating the intellectual and creative potential of children.

  7. Museum of Broadcast Communications
    One of only three broadcast museums in the United States.

  8. The Loop
    A district in Downtown Chicago that got its name from the elevatede track system.

  9. The Art Institute of Chicago
    Institute with an extensive collection of artwork spanning nearly 5,000 years of human civilization.

  10. Willis Tower
    Formerly Sears Tower, the 108-storey skyscraper that is still the tallest building in the United States.

  11. South Loop
    Residential and retail neighborhood to the south of Downtown Chicago.

  12. Museum Campus
    Lakefront park that links three world-famous natural science museums.

  13. Museum of Science & Industry
    Museum that celebrates scientific and technological accomplishments.

  14. University of Chicago
    Prestigious private university founded through an endowment from John D. Rockefeller on land donated by Marshall Field.

  15. DuSable Museum of African American History
    Museum dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of African American historical experiences and achievements.

Sights in Greater Chicago

  1. Lincoln Park Zoo
    Oldest free public zoo in the United States.

  2. Oak Park
    District with many groundbreaking buildings by celebrated architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

View of the skyscrapers along the Chicago RiverView of the skyscrapers along the Chicago River
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Welcome to my website, Discover with Timothy Tye. I started it in 2003 to freely share information about places. Today it has close to thirty thousand pages. I have been writing this website full time since 1 November 2007, and continue to do so as a means to satisfy my curiosity about the world around me. I am happy if the information I have assembled is useful to you. Please follow me on Facebook!

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