Chicago can be literally translated back to an old Indian word meaning “place of the smelly water”. Indeed, this city was considered a backwater and a mere trading post until the latter half of the 19th century and the Industrial Revolution. Industries such as meat packing and transportation quickly enabled Chicago to grow into the city we know today. With a burgeoning population approaching three million inhabitants, it is the third-largest metropolitan area in the United States.
The Best Times to Visit Chicago
One of the first aspects that we need to keep in mind is that Chicago is notorious for rather brutal winters; temperatures can easily fall into the sub-zero temperatures with dangerous wind chill factors. This is one of the reasons what Chicago is known as the “Windy City”. Likewise, it can become stiflingly hot during the summer season. So, many tourists will choose to visit during either autumn or middle to late spring. Tickets and accommodation prices are also likely to be cheaper.
Chicago is served by two major airports. These are O’Hare International Airport and Midway Airport. Both use the abbreviation CHI. The average flight time between New York City and Chicago is approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes. Flights will depart from John F. Kennedy Airport as well as LaGuardia Airport while charter services from smaller departure points can be chosen. The top airliners include US Airways, Delta, United Airlines and Jet Blue. Flights with layovers will naturally take significantly longer depending upon the midway point.
Accommodations in Chicago
As with any major city, some of the largest and most respected hotels are found within a close distance to the two major airports. For those who enjoy a bit of luxury, choices include Trump International Hotel & Tower, Sheraton Chicago Hotel and the famous Drake Hotel. Still, others which are not located in the downtown will offer more amenable rates for tourists on a budget. Many of these are found near Lincoln Park and Rogers Park (not far from the major universities). Motels and boutiques are likewise all possibilities. However, recall that Chicago is a vast city and it is a good idea to check the location of these properties before confirming a reservation.
The Top Things to do in Chicago
Chicago prides itself on offering some of the most eclectic bars, pubs, lounges and nightclubs in the entire country. Should you be in the taste for a night out on the town, there are a few locations which are not to be missed. Wicker Park is a district that is known for offering a massive variety of local establishments and breweries. High-class beer gardens can be found in Roscoe Village and North Center. Also, most of the major bars are all within a close distance to Wrigley Park.
Music is another major attraction to be found within Chicago. In fact, is a well-known fact that rhythm and blues flourish here just as much as they do in New Orleans. Due to this long tradition, music lovers should not miss out on a few particular venues. The original House of Blues is a must-see for anyone visiting Chicago. Other locations are Buddy Guy’s Legends (although it can be a bit pricey here) and the Green Mill in uptown. Lee’s Unleaded Blues is a final spot to enjoy for those visiting the Chatham district of the city.
While music and drink can partially define this city, Chicago is also a massive retail center. This can be seen in Navy Pier. There are literally hundreds of different shops, malls and events that are excellent for the entire family. After having partaken in both franchise and boutique outlets, more than 50 acres of parks can be used to enjoy a relaxing afternoon during the warmer months of the year. Nay Pier also offers some spectacular panoramic views of the city as well as the lake.