Chicago is situated in the Great Lakes regionof the American Midwest, in the state of Illinois.
Rising from the edges of Lake Michigan, Chicago began as a tiny trading post at themouth of the Chicago River, and has boomed into a modern global centerof commerce and culture.
The Windy City has always been driven by anunshakable optimism and can-do attitude.
The Great Chicago Fire of 1871, which destroyedhalf the city, was seized upon as an opportunity for themetropolis to reinvent itself.
What followed was the biggest building boomin US history and a skyline that is almost beyond beautiful.
Start your visit in The Loop – the central business district encircled bythe 'L', Chicago's elevated train line.
The streets within The Loop are a showcaseof architecture, from the world's first high-rises, to thecloud-piercing towers of today.
Willis Tower held the title of world's tallestbuilding for almost 25 years.
Take the 60-second ride to the Skydeck.
On a really windy day you might even feelthe building sway a little, but don't panic, it was designed to do justthat.
The Loop also contains some amazing outdoorsculpture and an historic theater district which makesthe area feel like a cross between a museum and a film set.
Running north from The Loop is the MagnificentMile, where you'll be able to gaze up at even morewonders from the Chicago School of architecture.
Looking a little out of place is the Old WaterTower, a lone, but much-loved survivor from the ChicagoFire.
Shop 'til you drop in the upscale boutiques which line The Magnificent Mile's wide boulevards.
And when it's time to refuel, sink your teeth into a deep dish pizza – anold Chicago favorite.
Following the south bank of the Chicago River and winding between the canyons of glass andsteel, The Riverwalk offers a relaxing change ofpace from the downtown bustle.
Still within The Loop is Millennium Park.
Once the site of railway yards and car parks, the area has been transformed into what criticshave hailed as 'the future of parks'.
The centerpieces of this visionary space arethe Frank Gehry-designed Jay Pritzker Pavilionand the BP Footbridge.
The park showcases a number of public sculptures, including a futuristic stainless steel archwayto the city, Cloud Gate, or as it's affectionately known to locals- 'The Bean'.
Just across the road is The Art Instituteof Chicago whose exterior is a work of art in itself.
Set aside at least a day to explore this treasure-houseof European, American and Asian masterpieces.
There are plenty of treasures to be foundoutside The Loop.
Just to the west is one of Chicago's hiddengems, the Garfield Park Conservatory, an inner-cityhaven for nature lovers and a first-date favorite for Chicago couples.
In nearby Oak Park, step inside Frank LloydWright's home and studio, where for 20 years he pioneered an entirelynew architectural vision for America.
Unity Temple is just a short stroll away.
Completed in 1908, this Lloyd Wright masterpiece is widely regarded as the world's first modernbuilding.
While you're in Oak Park, stop by the birthplace of one of Chicago'smost famous sons, Ernest Hemingway.
In the nearby museum, fans of the novelist can read from his childhooddiary and original manuscripts.
Down by The Loop's waterfront, the historic Navy Pier offers entertainmentfor all ages.
The pier is also the place to climb aboard one of the many lake and river cruises onoffer.
Just south of Navy Pier, The Field Museumhouses over 20 million specimens from the world of naturalhistory.
Say hello to Sue, the largest and most intactskeleton of a Tyrannosaurus Rex ever unearthed.
The museum might look a little familiar, after all, it was the home base for IndianaJones in the blockbuster movie series.
A little further south along the waterfront you'll find the Museum of Science and Industry- known by generations of school children as'the best field trip ever!'.
Here you'll get to explore the inner workingsof man and machine, and discover the secrets of natural phenomena like tornadoes, lightning and avalanches.
Chicago's largest green space is Lincoln Park, a seven mile stretch of shoreline which runsnorth from The Loop.
It's home to nature reserves, a conservatory, and monuments to many of the nation's heroes, including the park's namesake – Abraham Lincoln.
The park also features the Lincoln Park Zoo which has been entertaining and educatingvisitors since 1868.
The zoo features two sections specificallydesigned for children, and best of all it's free.
The park is also home to the Chicago HistoryMuseum.
From gangsters to baseball, this is the placeto visit if you really want to know what makes thisunique city tick.
As the sun sets, Chicago truly lights up.
But don't plan on going to bed early, the city offers some of the best jazz, bluesand theater in America.
So come on over to Chicago, the memories you'lltake away will last a lifetime – no matter how hard the wind blows.