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Chicago — Overview and Intro for travellers

Chicago Skyline as seen from Millennium Park / BP Pedestrian Bridge
Chicago Skyline as seen from Millennium Park / BP Pedestrian Bridge

Chicago is a city of world class status and unsurpassed beauty, drawing visitors from around the nation and the globe. Located on the shores of Lake Michigan in the heart of the Midwest, Chicago is home to the blues, several sports teams an internationally acclaimed symphony orchestra, spectacular live theater, celebrated architecture, and thousand s of restaurants, museums and shopping.

Visitors from around the world come to Chicago, the Birthplace of the modern building, to admire is architectural marvels. From historic landmark buildings to contemporary technological masterpieces, Chicago is built of the unique and innovative designs that have shaped American architecture thanks to the work of such greats as Daniel Burnham, Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Helmut Jahn and Hundreds of others

Although the Home Insurance Building no longer stands, today Chicago is also home to three of the world 10 tallest buildings including the Willis Tower, which opened in 1974 (when it still was named Sears Tower).
Other city landmark buildings include the Chicago Cultural Center, completed in 1897 in the Beaux Arts style, Adler and Sullivan’s 1889 Auditorium Building, and the Art Deco era Chicago Board of Trade Building, designed by Holabird and Root in 1929 .

North Michigan Avenue is the upscale shopping area of Chicago with many of the world renowned department stores and dozens of boutiques and shops. The street’s nickname is: Magnificent Mile.

Visiting

Much of Chicago can be discovered without having a car. The city’s bus and rail system allows you to travel without hassle.

All of downtown, called The Loop, can easily be discovered by means of walking. Yes, you will need comfortable shoes and at the end of the day your feet will still feel tired, but walking is a perfect way to get around the super busy streets of downtown Chicago.

To give your feet a break you could rent a bicycle, e.g. there’s a rental station right at the north end of Millennium Park, and discover the waterfront and neighborhoods around The Loop with the bike. That gives you a greater radius exploring the waterfront with its mile-long bike and running paths is especially interesting.

Bike and explore Chicago’s beaches, stop, have a cool beverage, and continue biking. Certainly, that only applies during summer time.

During winter it depends on the day if it is weather-wise recommended to be on a bicycle. Usually, winters are pretty chilly in Chicago, but … they can be sunny. The views from high above (e.g. from the observation deck at Willis Tower) on the frozen Lake Michigan are incredible. However, winter time usually limits your thirst for exploring areas.

Sightseeing Chicago

Check-out the Top attractions in Chicago here: Chicago Sightseeing and Top Attractions

Climate and Temperatures

Best time to travel / Season
Best seasons for travelling are spring, summer, fall. Not only that the temperatures can be icy cold in winter but the summer brings a variety of cultural events to the city.

Climate and Temperatures
Summer can be hot and -important- very humid because of Lake Michigan. The breeze otherwise makes life comfortable. Winter can be very cold and the icy wind gusts from Lake Michigan make it feel even colder.

Average temperatures in Chicago, Illinois. In Celsius degrees and (Fahrenheit).

MonthMaxMin
Jan0,5 (33)-7,2 (19)
Feb1,6 (34.8)-6,6 (43.9)
Mar6,6 ()-1,7 (29)
Apr15 (59)4,4 (40)
May21,6 (71)10 (50)
Jun27,2 (81)15,5 (60)
Jul30 (86)18,8 (66)
Aug28,9 (84)18,3 (65)
Sep25 (77)13,3 (56)
Oct18,3 (65)7,7 (46)
Nov8,8 (48)0 (32)
Dec2 (33)-5,5 (22)

Chicago Visitor Info & Getting Around

Population

City: ca. 2.7 Mio (estimated in 2019); 2.896.016 (US Census 2000)

City of Chicago (eGov website)

See: City of Chicago

Transportation

Public transportation

Chicago Transit Authority (CTA)

…operates a network of buses and elevated/subway trains throughout Chicago. See: Chicago Transit Authority – CTA Buses & Train Service – 1-888-YOUR-CTA – CTA (transitchicago.com)

Regional Transportation Authority (RTA)

See RTA: Home | Regional Transportation Authority (rtachicago.org)

Metra (Commuter Rail)

See Metra Rail: Metra (metrarail.com)

Airport

O’Hare International Airport
and
Midway Airport

Midway Airport and also O’Hare Internatl. Airport: https://www.flychicago.com/

Street system

It is a grid-system and State Street (runs north-south) & Madison Street (runs west-east) mark the center point. State Street as the vertical axis has marked addresses north of Madison as N State Street. In the other direction S State Street. Madison is therefore the horizontal axis and addresses west of State are marked W Madison Street. In the other direction E Madison Street.

Elevation

202 m above sealevel

Elevation

202 m above sealevel

Visitor Center

Chicago’s Visitor Information Centers are conveniently located in two of the city’s most popular areas. The Chicago Water Works Visitor Information Center is located in the Historic Water Tower buidling, just off of the Magnificent Mile. The Chicago Cultural Center Visitor Information Center is located in the Loop.

Please find addresses below and our map shows the locations on the Bing Live Map.

Visitor Centers are located in two historic landmarks:
Chicago Cultural Center
77 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60601 (at Michigan Avenue)

Chicago Water Works
163 E Pearson St, Chicago, IL 60611 (at Michigan Avenue)

Please find their website here: Chicago Things to Do, Events, Restaurants, Hotels & Vacation Planning (choosechicago.com)

Living in Chicago

Utilities

ComEd

Electricity: https://www.comed.com/

Peoples Gas

Gas: Peoples Gas (peoplesgasdelivery.com)

Nicor Gas

Gas: Home | Nicor Gas

Elections

Board of Elections: https://chicagoelections.gov/

Dog Beach

Montrose Dog Beach in Uptown is the only official dog beach in Chicago. See more details: Montrose Dog Beach in Chicago

Maps

A selection of Chicago maps and links for Chicago

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