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General

If there is one thing that defines Chicago, it is this city's world-class architecture. There are dozens of tours to guide you around the city's famous buildings, landmarks, public sculptures and lively ethnic neighbourhoods. You can see the city by boat, bus, trolley, horse-drawn buggy, on foot or even by fire truck.

Chicago boasts North America’s tallest building and one of the world’s largest office buildings. With the ubiquitous elevated trains creating a continuous clatter, the city looks, feels and, in fact is, big.

World-class museums are another top draw. Exhibits covering history, science, the natural world, the oceans, the heavens and some of the world's finest art are all available for curious minds and enthusiastic gallery-goers.

The Chicago Children's Museum is at Navy Pier, but the pier is not just for kids. People of all ages ride the pier's giant 150-ft/47-m Ferris wheel (the view from the top will inspire you to spend more time on Chicago's lakefront). Navy Pier hosts a plethora of free and fee-based entertainment, amusement rides, restaurants and theatres.

Chicago is a city of contrasts, and despite it's appearance as an concrete mecca of art and architecture, the city has more than 7300 acres of parkland and over 550 different parks dispersed around town.

Places of Interest

Magnificent Mile

Starting at the top of the avenue at Oak Street, the visitor can use the famous Drake Hotel as a point of reference. Going down the "Magnificent Mile" is an architectural paradise, after all, it was here in Chicago that the first skyscraper was built. The first imposing building at Chestnut Street is the John Hancock Center, here you can voyage 94 stories up to the observation deck and obtain the most amazing views of Chicago and on clear days you can even see Indiana. There is also a open-air skywalk where the visitor can understand more directly why Chicago is called the "Windy City". Further along, you will pass the Old Water Tower, one of the only buildings that survived the fires of 1871, it is made of limestone and has an interesting castle design. Across the street is the new Water Tower Place, a multi-level shopping centre with more than 100 stores. At Chicago Avenue, if you feel like seeing a bit of contemporary art, hang a left and visit the Museum of Contemporary Art which specialises in works created after 1945. Before you reach the river, two of the most architecturally exquisite building are based, the Wrigley Building is a masterpiece. Built in 1920 by the chewing gum magnate, William Wrigley, it is actually two buildings and the interior is as beautiful as the exterior. On the other side there is the Tribune Tower, built in 1922, it is a gothic wonder with a little known outer wall, that has bricks and pieces from other buildings and structures around the world. Some stones come from the Great Wall in China, the Taj Mahal, Notre Dame and even the Alamo.

Lower Michigan Avenue

When passing over the river, (which is engineered to flow backwards, an engineering marvel) you will see the two flanks that create an impressive backdrop to the lower end of Michigan Avenue. On the left is the 333 North Michigan Building, completed in 1928, this art-deco inspired building is one of the most ignored buildings in Chicago. Across the street on the other flank there is the London Guarantee Building, another architectural masterpiece built during the 1920's. As you reach the corner of Randolph and Michigan, don't forget to stop by the Chicago Cultural Center, this building used to house the city's library and was the place of reception for diplomats. The interior's wide spaces make the visitor feel extremely small and the attention to detail is quite impressive. On the corner also is the Smurfit-Stone building, it is an unforgettable part of the Chicago skyline, it is the building that looks like the top is shaped as a diamond.


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