Chicago: Essential Guide

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Chicago: guide with the most important things to see and the best activities to do.

Chicago, known more colloquially as "Second City" "The Second City" or "Wind City" "The city of the wind", is the third city with the largest number of inhabitants in the United States, behind NY y Los Angeles.

This city located in the county of Illinois, is well known for various reasons, although perhaps the best known is its Basketball team, the Chicaco Bulls. This city is also considered as "The origin of the skyscrapers". Today, the tallest building is the Willis Tower. 
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How to get to Chicago

If you are thinking of traveling to Chicago From Europe, one of the most recommended options to choose is to travel by plane. Chicago has two main airports: The one in O'Hare and of Midway, and in fact there are direct flights to O'hare from Madrid without going any further, and it is one of the most important airports in the world.

If we are going to come by plane we must take into account that the international airport O'Hare It is 18 miles (28 kilometers) northeast of the city center.

There is a great multitude of taxis from the airport that go towards the center of the city, but we must bear in mind that this service is usually expensive, and if there is a lot of traffic congestion the joke can leave us for a good pinch. Approximately, the bill for the race from O'Hare to the center of the city will amount to about 40 $. An alternative much more interesting economically is to take the train.

The CTA trains they give a direct service to both airports for the modest price of 2 $ from any point of the city, in addition of being much faster than the taxis in the hours of a lot of congestion.

What to do in Chicago?

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Once we have arrived in the city and we have established ourselves, we will most likely want to visit it and get to know a little more about it, so now we are going to explain a little the tourist attractions that are currently available to continue enjoying such a wonderful city:

  1. La Buckingham Fountain: This is one of the most emblematic places in all of Chicago, this fountain was inaugurated in 1927, and it exudes majesty just by seeing it. In summer he also makes a water show every hour, and will delight big and old. 
  2. El Hancock Observatory: this observatory located in the John Hancock Center tower is located at 1.000 feet high, and allows a view to 350 degrees of the city, in addition to being able to see at a distance of 80 miles (! 30 kilometers) everything we will find around us . Ideal for all those who do not have vertigo, is postulated as one of the must-see to see the impressive skyline of this city. 
  3. El Lincoln Park Zoo: considered one of the most beautiful in the whole country, the Lincoln Park Zoo has a historic architecture and a fauna that can not be equaled to any other, but that is not the best, and that will depend on you. It has two tricks by which you must go yes or yes: That is open 365 days of the year is a very good, but there is a better one and its price: Zero. The Zoo is totally and completely free. Ideal for Low Cost visits. 
  4. El Navy Pier: located east of downtown and on Lake Michigan, the Navy Pier will offer us countless leisure options and restaurants, where we can navigate by boat, enjoy a good dinner, or simply, enjoy the beautiful views on your Ferris wheel while enjoying the Lake Michigan view, and this is one of the most important tourist attractions in all of Chicago. 
  5. El Sears Tower SkydeckThis is the tallest building in all of North America, and is that it rises to more than 110 high floors, and naturally and therefore is a tourist attraction without equal. In its Skydeck observatory we can enjoy the views of Chicago at a height of nothing more and nothing less than 1.353 feet (412 meters) 
  6. El Shedd Aquarium: we speak of one of the most popular and important aquariums in the country, it is a first class tourist attraction and it is not surprising, since it hosts almost two million visitors a year in its facilities. If you like marine life, this stop is mandatory. 

How to get around Chicago

Chicago It is a very big city but very well connected, it has many public transport services In addition to the taxi offer, so there is no problem when moving, we have several options available, and the bus is a good way to do it.

The Navy Pier in Chicago, United States
The Navy Pier in Chicago, United States - © Noel Powell - Fotolia.com

When we move we can use it to move around the city, and that is that the bus service covers Chicago in addition to other 39 suburbs and fast routes to Midway and O'Hare, this system also covers so-called elevated train services.

We can also use the service of METRA trains. This service covers practically any point of Chicago and also the Nortese of Illinois.

An interesting option to take into account is to buy a visitor pass CTA, we have passes from one to five days, and naturally the longer the pass, the more discount we will get in transportation.

Another interesting option is rent a bike. In 1999 Chicaco It was included as one of the 10 most suitable cities to cycle around United States by Bicycling magazine. There are many routes to go by bike either through the center or periphery, and rent a bike for a day does not cost too much (Approximately 40 $), also if you are going to rent more than a day ask for a discount , and is that this means of locomotion is postulated as one of the cheapest ways to move around the city. 

What to eat in Chicago

Chicago is not only a tourist destination that attracts masses due to its enormous amounts of fun, but it is also a must for any gourmet tourist destination.

The Chicago River, United States
The Chicago River, United States - © Trey - Fotolia.com

Due to its wide spectrum of ethnicities and cultures, we will find an unprecedented symbiosis of dishes, cuisines, tastes and aromas that will surely delight even the most demanding palate. In the 25 neighborhoods we will find more than 7.000 restaurants that will pick up kitchens from absolutely all the peoples and cultures that we can imagine.

This year the new Bib Gourmand Restaurant list of the Chicago 2014 Michelin Guide has been launched, in which are more than 500 restaurant reviews from across Chicago covering more than 40 different cuisine types.

If our budget is tight, we will always have excellent street food stalls, such as Portillo's Hot Dogs, or looking for a “Food truck”, vans that are used as a mobile street stall, where we can eat for a modest price.

As we have seen, Chicago is a city that is worth visiting, its great cultural wealth and its wide range of tourism make it an essential stop in case we are going to tour the United States, and it is also a city not so face like others. If you are going to Chicago, you will not regret your visit.

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