ChicagoUnited States of America

The Windy City whips up a heady mix of basement blues, penthouse views, elevated rails and lake-front trails.

Chicago is the Windy City that loves the Blues, where gangsters like Al Capone ran rings round the Feds, and where the skyscrapers rose as the stock markets fell. A jangling metropolis, with a thicket of classy, glassy towers shooting skywards from the shores of Lake Michigan. All that is part of the draw to this, the third biggest city in the United States. But Chicago can surprise too.

While it has one of the busiest skylines of any American city – with four of the tallest buildings in the US – Chicago had the sense to build its streets wide. So its hundred high-rises don't leave you claustrophobic, unlike some other cities that reached for skies. And Chicago's love of wide open spaces can be seen when you scale its biggest skyscraper, the Willis Tower. Look east from one of its glass balconies, and you'll see the long green-and-gold strip of the Lakefront, with its parks and museums, beaches and piers.

'Chicago's Lawn' is what Chicagoans call it, and it's where they go to play. Lincoln Park is 13 kilometres of sandy beaches and park greenery, just a step or two from the city's central district, the Loop. Here you'll find the Lincoln Park Zoo, the oldest in the country, and Lincoln Park Conservatory, home to giant palms, rare orchids and some peace from Chicago's bustle. The Chicago History Museum is here too, and will set you straight on the Windy City's often blustery past.

The Navy Pier divides northern Lincoln Park from the southern stretch of Grant Park (and its radically different Millennium Park). The Pier takes you out into Lake Michigan, and a chance to mess about on the water – or to look back at Chicago's dramatic skyline from its Ferris wheel. You'll also see a line of white-pillared and glass-fronted museums stretching along the Grant Park area: the Art Institute Of Chicago, the Field Natural History Museum, the Museum of Science and Technology, and the Shedd Aquarium. They all do what they say on their entrance signs – educating and inspiring with some of the finest collections, and the most immersive exhibits, to be found anywhere in the world.

Culture and science may rule the Lakefront area, but commerce and shopping are kings in the busy streets of the central Loop – especially the Magnificent Mile. This luxury shopping street is packed with malls, restaurants and stunning architecture – and plenty of opportunities to exercise your credit card.

A more graceful architectural walk can be had in Oak Park, a western suburb where Frank Lloyd Wright lived and worked. Widely seen as America's best architect, he left the area with a treasure trove of buildings – including the Unity Temple, seen as the world's first truly modern building. Visit the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Museum to get an in-depth guide. Oak Park also does literature – it is home to Chicago-born Ernest Hemingway, and the Ernest Hemingway Museum And House tells the remarkable story of America's foremost storyteller.

But how about rounding your Chicago stay by fusing all four at a game of baseball at Wrigley Field. After all, this iconic stadium is where the Windy City's most vital living history is played out every season.

Chicago Travel Guide Video

Where to stay in Chicago

Downtown Chicago featuring a city

Downtown Chicago

Known for its fascinating museums, stunning river views and gorgeous architecture, there's plenty to explore in Downtown Chicago. Top attractions like Chicago Theatre and House of Blues Chicago are major draws. Catch the metro at State Station or Clark-Lake Station to see more of the city.

Downtown Chicago
The Loop - Downtown which includes a river or creek

The Loop

4.5/5Wonderful!(93 area reviews)

Millennium Park and Grant Park are a few top attractions in The Loop. Hop around the city on the metro at Adams-Wabash Station or Jackson Station (Red Line) and check out the area's fascinating museums, popular shops and acclaimed art galleries.

The Loop
Magnificent Mile - River North

Magnificent Mile

Are you interested in fascinating museums, panoramic lake views and popular shops? A visit to Magnificent Mile might be the perfect thing. You can also explore top sights like Water Tower Place and Chicago Water Tower.

Magnificent Mile
Gold Coast which includes street scenes as well as a couple

Gold Coast

The ample dining options and fantastic lake views are top of the list for many visitors to Gold Coast. A stop by Michigan Avenue or Oak Street Beach might round out your trip.

Gold Coast
Lincoln Park, Chicago, Illinois, United States of America

Lincoln Park

5/5Exceptional!(4 area reviews)

Known for its ample dining options and fantastic lake views, there's plenty to explore in Lincoln Park. You can visit top attractions like Lincoln Park Zoo and Lincoln Hall, and jump on the metro at Fullerton Station or Armitage Station to see more of the city.

Lincoln Park
South Loop featuring a city and a high-rise building

South Loop

4/5Very Good!(1 area review)

Soldier Field and Field Museum of Natural History are a few top attractions in South Loop. Hop around the city on the metro at Roosevelt Station or Cermak-McCormick Place Station and check out the area's fascinating museums, panoramic lake views and popular shops.

South Loop

Top hotels in Chicago

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
LondonHouse Chicago, Curio Collection by Hilton
LondonHouse Chicago, Curio Collection by Hilton
4.5 out of 5
85 East Wacker Drive, Chicago, IL
The price is NZ$159 per night

Located in The Loop, this luxury hotel is steps away from Chicago Riverwalk and Michigan Avenue. Grant Park and Chicago Theatre are also within 10 minutes. Clark-Lake ...

4.6/5Exceptional! (2,335 reviews)

"Being on high floors and the elevator was on time."…"

Reviewed on 9 Jul. 2020

LondonHouse Chicago, Curio Collection by Hilton
Sofitel Chicago Magnificent Mile
Sofitel Chicago Magnificent Mile
4.5 out of 5
20 E Chestnut St, Chicago, IL
The price is NZ$338 per night

Located in Near North Side, this luxury hotel is within a 5-minute walk of State Street, Water Tower Place, and John Hancock Center. Chicago Water Tower and ...

4.6/5Exceptional! (1,780 reviews)

"Great clean and safe"…"

Reviewed on 10 Jul. 2020

Sofitel Chicago Magnificent Mile
The Godfrey Hotel Chicago
The Godfrey Hotel Chicago
4.5 out of 5
127 West Huron, at LaSalle, Chicago, IL
The price is NZ$242 per night

Located in River North, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of State Street, Michigan Avenue, and Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Chicago Riverwalk ...

4.3/5Excellent! (1,610 reviews)

"Overall pleasing experience, I would not recommend you bring children if you have them even though they say all are welcome. Great traveling distance to downtown attractions. Great views of the sky line. The rooftop is bar far one of my favorites in the city. Would recommend will travel back there ..."…"

Reviewed on 1 Jul. 2020

The Godfrey Hotel Chicago

Popular places to visit in Chicago

Navy Pier
Image for Navy Pier

Navy Pier

4.5/5(64 reviews)

One of Chicago’s most popular attractions, especially on a hot day, with its fun fair, boats, circus and theatre.

Wrigley Field
Image for Wrigley Field

Wrigley Field

4.5/5(21 reviews)

A big piece of Chicago's soul, an ancient stadium that keeps alive the quirky, edgy madness of baseball.

McCormick Place
Image for McCormick Place

McCormick Place

4.5/5(21 reviews)

Attend an event at the United States’ largest convention center, which features hyper-modern facilities and huge exhibition spaces connected by promenades and sky bridges.

Millennium Park
Image for Millennium Park

Millennium Park

4.5/5(73 reviews)

See mind-bending sculptures, a musically-inspired lawn and giant water fountains that double-up as video screens.

Soldier Field
Image for Soldier Field

Soldier Field

4/5(13 reviews)

Events center, NFL stadium and historic landmark all in one, this waterfront field is one of Chicago’s most popular destinations.

Sears Tower
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Sears Tower

4.5/5(39 reviews)

The Willis Tower is at its best when you're dangled over one of its glass-bottomed balconies 396 metres above Chicago.

Top activities in Chicago

Go Chicago Explorer Pass: Choose 3, 4 or 5 Top Attractions
Image for Go Chicago Explorer Pass: Choose 3, 4 or 5 Top Attractions

Go Chicago Explorer Pass: Choose 3, 4 or 5 Top Attractions

NZ$129
Per adult
80% of travellers recommend
360 CHICAGO Observation Deck (Hancock Center)
Image for 360 CHICAGO Observation Deck (Hancock Center)

360 CHICAGO Observation Deck (Hancock Center)

NZ$39
Per adult
86% of travellers recommend
Chicago CityPASS: Admission to Top 5 Chicago Attractions
Image for Chicago CityPASS: Admission to Top 5 Chicago Attractions

Chicago CityPASS: Admission to Top 5 Chicago Attractions

NZ$168
Per adult
94% of travellers recommend
International Museum of Surgical Science Admission Ticket
Image for International Museum of Surgical Science Admission Ticket

International Museum of Surgical Science Admission Ticket

NZ$27
Per adult
Architecture River Tour from Navy Pier
Image for Architecture River Tour from Navy Pier

Architecture River Tour from Navy Pier

NZ$73
Per adult
94% of travellers recommend
Chicago's Premier Escape Room!
Image for Chicago's Premier Escape Room!

Chicago's Premier Escape Room!

NZ$58
Per adult

Reviews of Chicago

4.7

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
116
5 - Excellent 74.83870967741936%
4 - Good
35
4 - Good 22.580645161290324%
3 - Okay
4
3 - Okay 2.5806451612903225%
2 - Disappointing
0
2 - Disappointing 0%
1 - Terrible
0
1 - Terrible 0%

4/5 - Good

Verified traveller

16 Feb. 2020

A great place to visit, love all difference architectures.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

1 Feb. 2020

Great architecture, and a lovely walk by the lake

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

24 Jan. 2020

Great city lots to see and do

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

1 Jan. 2020

Clean, well laid out city with lots great attractions and amenities. Excellent nightlife and shopping.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

27 Dec. 2019

Reminded me of New York except more relaxed and Chicago sleeps

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

14 Dec. 2019

Andy's Jazz Club. Awesome night.

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