Chicago serves as an international hub, a centre for services, business and finance. In fact, the hip USA city has been ranked by The Atlantic as the world’s 4th most economically powerful city, and by Forbes as 5th most powerful. It’s also a very cool place that has a fine collection of hip places to stay, trendy restaurants and boutiques and has been featured notoriously in all kinds of art and culture – just think of “Chicago” the well-known Broadway musical. As such, Chicago provides plenty of entertainment and is a great place worth visiting year-round. Here are a few less cool well-known places you should take a sneak peek at during your next visit…
Bike at night
Conventional tourists will go and see sights during the day. But how about continuing your journey at night? And I don’t mean nightlife, which is an entirely different option. No, I mean why not take a bike tour at night? Tour operators such as Chicago Tours, for example, offer a “City Lights at Night” tour that’s like a party on wheels. You will ride through downtown to see the brand new Millennium Park, Museum Campus and Buckingham Fountain, with its world-renown light show and you’ll see jaw-dropping vantage points of the scintillating skyline. The ideal time to go? Wednesday and Saturday where the there’s skyline fireworks at Navy Pier.
In the summer, get soaked
To escape the summer heat, head to the southwest corner of Millennium Park (Michigan Avenue and Monroe Street). Here, you will find two twin 50-foot fountain towers. In addition to the cascading water, the towers display video images of various Chicagoans and lights. On warm summer days, children (as well as youthful spirited adults) frolic in the shallow water between the two towers and delight in the spray from the fountains. The surrounding green area is a relaxing place to spread out on a blanket and read a book.
Art, but not the usual
Chicago is famous for its art displays. However, instead of heading to the big and well-known museums, how about going to a smaller gallery? Special interest art museums include the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum located in Chicago’s west side, the National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum, located just southwest of Soldier Field, and the Terra Museum of American Art, located on the Magnificent Mile. City-sponsored art galleries, in turn, include the Illinois Art Gallery located in the Thompson Center, Gallery 37 located on Randolph Street near Michigan Avenue, and the City Gallery located at the Historic Water Tower.
Learn about flora
If you have seen all the typical museums, why not learn more about nature on your visit to Chicago? At the Morton Arboretum, you can enjoy 16 miles of manicured trails and nine miles of paved roads to hike, bike, ski and more. Whether you take the main routes or the paths less travelled, there is always something to see. After a day of athletic activity, head to the Gingko restaurant and café to replenish your energy.
Sleep in a work of art
There are plenty of hotels in Chicago to choose from. If you are looking for a bit of an alternative experience, consider staying at The James Chicago. In homage to the creative neighbourhood it calls home, this establishment features works by local as well as international artists, prominent and up-and-coming. From your arrival to the walls of your guest room, you will be enveloped by visual and cultural luxury.
Written by guest blogger Luke Pullen.