Chicago, USA: information about the city, attractions, entertainments

The 20 best sights of Chicago

It is more usual to imagine Chicago as a large industrial and financial core of the United States, and if you believe old American movies, as the lair of the powerful Italian mafia led by Al Capone. However, the modern metropolis is one of the centers of tourism in the United States, which is visited by several million people a year.

Chicago has many parks, museums, modern shopping centers, and trendy restaurants. The city is built on the shores of Lake Michigan. It boasts a manicured shoreline and excellent city beaches. Sunbathing, lying on the golden sand against the background of glass skyscrapers, enjoying swimming and sunshine, but in five minutes be ready to plunge into the dynamic life of the metropolis – what can be better for an active and curious tourist.

What to see and where to go in Chicago?

The most interesting and beautiful places to walk. Photos and brief descriptions.

Millennium Park

An urban green oasis of 100,000 m² in downtown Chicago. It was created at the beginning of the 21st century and almost immediately gained popularity for its original design, convenience and beauty of the landscape. Scattered throughout the park are unusual sculptures, art objects and installations. There are exhibitions of contemporary art. Under the park is a train station and a large underground parking lot.

Millennium Park.

Crown Fountain

The unique fountain in Millennium Park, designed by Jaume Plens, is a true engineering feat. The design is a video installation placed on large screens-facades from which jets of water splash out. The images on the screens are constantly changing and are reflected in the water surface of the black marble pool. This solution required quite an elaborate technical effort.

Corona Fountain.

Cloud Gate

A sculpture on the grounds of Millennium Park. Locals nicknamed it the “mirror bean” because the contours of the structure truly resemble a bean bean. The object has become one of the symbols of progressive Chicago, the avant-garde of contemporary art and a territory of inspiration for ultra-fashionable artists. The sculpture was designed by London-based guest artist Anish Kapoor.

Cloud Gate.

Navy Pier

An embankment that stretches along Lake Michigan for several hundred meters. The pier was built in the early twentieth century for purely practical purposes – to provide logistics on the river and lake. At the same time, tourist ferries were launched. Very soon inhabitants took a fancy to the place and began to organize picnics there. Over time, there were cafes, landscaped playgrounds, gardens, stores and attractions.

Navy Pier.

The Magnificent Mile

Paris has the Champs Elysees, New York has Fifth Avenue, and Chicago has the Magnificent Mile. It is a shopping street, one of the sections of Michigan Avenue around which the most prestigious areas of the city are located. In these places, real estate costs fabulous money. The Magnificent Mile has a concentration of stores, hotels, and restaurants, and it’s always crowded with people – Chicago residents and visitors alike.

The Magnificent Mile.

The Art Institute of Chicago

The school and museum was founded in 1879 by an organization of American artists. In 1893, the organization received a new building in which it is still housed today. The museum displays a rich collection of Impressionists (Monet, Renoir, Cézanne) as well as works by Picasso, Matisse, Warhol and many other worthy masters. Also at the Art Institute of Chicago, you can see exhibitions of guns, photography, African art, and Asian culture.

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The Art Institute of Chicago.

Museum of Science and Industry

An unusual museum and research center of the Western Hemisphere at the same time. It is housed in a room built for the opening of the World’s Fair in 1893. The exhibits are shown in dynamics, many of the items are life-size. For children there is a scaled-down copy of the railroad, which functions like a real one, and a doll’s palace.

Museum of Science and Industry.

Fields Museum of Natural History

A museum complex on the shores of Lake Michigan that houses collections devoted to the natural history of the planet. There are about 20 million items on display, so even a cursory tour will take several days. The museum space is divided into thematic sections: anthropology, geology, and zoology. A valuable relic of the Fields Museum is the largest preserved skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus.

Fields Museum of Natural History.

Adler Planetarium

Space theater and museum built with funds from retired businessman Max Adler. The first visitors were welcomed into the planetarium in 1930. Thanks to a generous infusion of money from the former businessman, navigational and astronomical mechanisms were purchased for the exhibit in quite large quantities. The Chicago Planetarium is the first planetarium in the United States.

Adler Planetarium.

Shedd Aquarium.

A huge aquarium on the Chicago Museum Campus. It is considered one of the largest indoor aquariums in the world. It contains huge whales, sharks, penguins, crocodiles, octopuses, and quite a variety of fish. In addition to sea creatures, the Shedd Aquarium is home to iguanas, snakes, birds, otters, seals – over 2,000 species and 25,000 individuals in all.

Shedd Aquarium.

Chicago Cultural Center

A complex where exhibitions, presentations, screenings and other cultural events are constantly taking place. Also, the Chicago Children’s Chorus performs here. The center opened at the end of the 19th century. At first it housed the Chicago Public Library and the Veterans Union. Later, both organizations moved to other locations, and the building received the status of the city’s cultural center, open to all comers.

Chicago Cultural Center.

Chicago Theater

An early twentieth-century cultural monument and one of Chicago’s important arts centers. Since its opening, the theater was used very extensively, with concerts, magician shows, theatrical productions, and comedians’ performances held there. Many people always gathered for the performances, as the venue very quickly gained popular love. These days, the popularity of the theater remains at a high level, and artists from all over the United States come here to tour.

Chicago Theater.

Willis Tower

Chicago skyscraper, which was considered the tallest in the world until 2009 (then the primacy went to the Sears Tower). It should be noted that Chicago has always built the tallest skyscrapers in America. Willis Tower has 110 floors, the building height – 442 meters, and together with the antennas on the roof – 527 meters. The main architect of this grand project was Bruce Graham. Up to the 90th floor the structure is supported by a system of powerful inner supports.

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Willis Tower.

John Hancock Center

A 100-story skyscraper, another grandiose “high-rise” of Chicago. The name “Big John” is firmly attached to the skyscraper among the locals. Construction was completed by 1970. On the 94th floor is an observation deck from which you can look at Chicago from a truly “mind-blowing” angle. Inside, the skyscraper is divided into business and residential areas.

John Hancock Center.

Wrigley Field Baseball Stadium

Arena for games of the most popular sport in the United States. The stadium always draws full stands of fans during numerous bowl games. For nearly 100 years Wrigley Field has been the home venue for the Chicago Cubs. The stadium is an open space with bleachers set up around the perimeter. Enterprising owners have also set up spectator seating on the rooftops of neighborhood homes.

Wrigley Field Baseball Stadium.

Lincoln Park Zoo

The Lincoln Park Zoo, on the shores of Lake Michigan, is one of the oldest zoos in the New World. It opened in the mid-19th century. Now the zoo is one of the most popular attractions of Chicago, it works without weekends on a very convenient schedule. The animals have a comfortable and natural habitat, sometimes they just seem to wander among the trees and can easily approach visitors.

Lincoln Park Zoo.

Buckingham Fountain.

A picturesque architectural composition on the grounds of Grath Park. The fountain was built with private funds of one of the bankers. The sculptural group is made in the Rococo style and from afar resembles a wedding cake. The four layers of this “cake” symbolize the states surrounding Michigan, and the jets of water are the lake itself. During the warm season, there are light shows that involve several light sources.

Buckingham Fountain.

Water Tower.

One of the oldest structures in the city, preserved since 1869. The tower survived the “great fire” of 1871, during which almost the entire city was destroyed. They tried to demolish it several times, but the residents stood up for the structure. It is believed that the tower is haunted by the ghost of the caretaker. During the fire, he climbed to the top and hanged himself to avoid an agonizing death from the fire.

The water tower.

Chicago River

The river connects the Great Lakes and the Gulf of Mexico with a total length of just over 250 km. As a result of Chicago’s rapid industrial development in the 19th century, the river’s waters were heavily polluted and epidemics broke out in the city after heavy rains and flooding. In 1900, the channel was diverted to the Mississippi River basin. Within the city limits, 38 drawbridges spanned the Chicago River.

Chicago River.

Lake Michigan

The largest freshwater lake in the United States, part of the Great Lakes system. The area of Michigan is entirely within the United States, unlike other lakes. The body of water is called the “third coast of the United States” after the Pacific and Atlantic coasts because of the excellent sandy beaches. You can swim in the lake all summer long, even in late August, the water remains quite warm.

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Lake Michigan.

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Many years ago on the shores of Lake Michigan began the birth of the third most populous city in the United States, known today as Chicago. The city owes its appearance to an ancient Native American settlement that lived southwest of the body of water overgrown with wild garlic bushes. The natives called the outlandish plant Chikagu. Traces of the thick, fragrant vegetation have long since disappeared, as have the Indians themselves, but the name of the town remains.

In size and importance, the large American metropolis is second only to two cities – New York and Los Angeles. It is firmly in second place after the giant New York City in terms of financial turnover. Chicago is home to the North American continent’s most important thoroughfares, helped in no small part by its location, which is optimal for transportation. The Harbor River Port, based on Lake Michigan, is responsible for large-scale freight traffic in conjunction with the St. Lawrence Ship Canal. The massive 0’Hare airport welcomes and escorts up to two hundred airliners hourly. The railroad line is in operation.

According to its administrative jurisdiction, the millionaire city is the center of Cook County and part of the state of Illinois. The residential agglomeration stretches along the coast for nearly 30 miles and, together with suburban communities, is home to nine and a half million Americans. For its impressive size, the agglomeration is called the “Greater Chicago”. The city itself is home to about 3 million people, not much smaller than the legendary City of Angels and the Big Apple. The history of the community has not been without its nicknames, either. Paying homage to the fact that Chicago is considered the unspoken capital of the Midwest, Americans have nicknamed their small homeland the “Windy City” and the “Second City.”

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The latter names of the huge settlement did not arise from nothing and are closely related to the rich history of the settlement. The year of 1837 is written in the annals of the city, and it is considered to be a landmark in the status of the former village of “town”. And everything began with the initiative of the French missionary Jacques Marquette in the 70s of the 16th century. It was he who made the momentous decision to equip a Jesuit station here. By 1840, Chicago was already home to 4,000 citizens. The rapid growth of the young city in those days was helped by the key position of the future metropolis between the western and eastern parts of the United States. The entire great country was interested in the progress and development of a population center that could connect the transportation arteries of an entire nation.

A tragic and yet important strategic role in the development of the modern appearance of the city was played by the great fire of 1871. Many structures in Chicago burned to the ground without any hope of reconstruction. It was necessary to urgently solve the fate of the affected settlement in a radical way. So it was decided to give priority to the construction of giant skyscrapers and high-rises that became the trademark of the Second City. The main concept of architects and builders was the idea of conquering space not in breadth, but upward. Chicago was built in the shortest possible time. Architectural planning brought an unexpected climatic innovation to the city – the city became a favorite abode of fierce winds. Thus the nickname “Windy City” was born. Evil tongues still argue that the name highlights not only the city’s rampant winds, but also hints at the political attitudes of local residents in relation to the central government.

With the name “Second City” everything is much simpler. The convenient geographic location of the administrative center of Cook County could not help but give a rapid impetus to the growth of industry in the region. Initially, the agglomeration held the palm for meat and meat products production. Then the priority went to 3 heavy industry goddesses at once: iron and steel, chemicals, and machinery. The railroad and waterways added weight and importance to the growth of the giants, Chicago was unable to overtake only one single American monolith, New York, in the industrial field, securing its 2nd place on the industrial podium and the well-deserved nickname “The Second City.”

These successes were not enough for a major city in Illinois. Chicago became world famous in several other categories. First, the newly rebuilt community became the undisputed model for architectural innovation throughout the United States, earning first place in statewide building issues. Second, sewer problems forced professionals to apply an unorthodox solution and reverse the flow of the local river, forcing it to originate in the Illinois River and receive sewage from the sewage treatment plant. A third achievement was the founding of one of the most iconic temples of science, the University of Chicago, whose merits in world science are recognized by scientists the world over.

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The city’s criminal past deserves its own lines of explanation. In the 1920s, Chicago was beloved by gangs of gangsters who waged a veritable reign of criminal terror in its streets. The most famous leader of one of the sinister syndicates, the legendary street fighter Al Capone, entered all the criminal chronicles of the police departments of the world as a sophisticated and ruthless gangster of all time. The reason for the increase in crime at various levels was the influx of migrants of African-American descent coming to Chicago to work. Hard work in industrial plants did not suit the new inhabitants of the metropolis, they preferred to make a quick buck through robbery, theft and murder. The criminal side of the city unexpectedly had a positive side. In those years, downtown Cook County became the birthplace of world-famous African-American jazz and home to its founding father, King Oliver, a musical movement that would later spread around the world. Chicago was also the birthplace of modern Islam in the United States, which later spread to other communities in the American north.

Today’s Chicago is a colorful giant with everything your heart desires on its streets. But locals are increasingly leaving the king of urbanization and trying to move to the more eco-friendly suburbs of the city. The center of the city beckons tourists and visitors shining showcases of the famous fashion stores, still breathtaking 100-story buildings and the glow of millions of neon lights of bright colored billboards.

Daytime strolls along the Lake Michigan shoreline, exploring the new fashion collections in boutiques along the Magnificent Mile, seeing the amazing sights and gazing at the skyscrapers at night are followed by other activities. In Chicago, you can still experience jazz in the city’s many venues, cafes, and restaurants, enjoy a rousing nightclub party, or marvel at the skills of the professionals in the food court. The city is world renowned for its fine cuisine and imaginative culinary prowess.

Founded: 1795 Area: 606.1 km2 Population: 2,716,450 (2017) Currency: American Dollar Language: English Official website:

Flight time: from Moscow – from 13 hours 10 min. (1-4 transfers) from Saint-Petersburg – from 13 hours 35 min. (1-3 transfers) from Kazan – from 16 hours 30 min. (1-4 transfers) from Ekaterinburg – from 17 hours 25 min. (1-4 transfers) from Novosibirsk – from 20 hours 10 min. (1-4 transfers)

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