Chicago Tourist Activities
Chicago O’Hare International Airport is the third largest airport in the world, handling over sixty million passengers per annum, and is a major gateway to one of the busiest and most appealing cities in the United States, Chicago. The airport is known by its code of ORD, and as the Chicago International Airport, the O’Hare Airport or simply as O’Hare. Tourists arrive at the airport by the thousands, to see the wide variety of Chicago attractions nearby. The airport is the ideal gateway to the city, as it has transport facilities that run to various locations in downtown Chicago. Attractions of the city include the Lincoln Park Zoo, the Kohl Children’s Museum, North Avenue Beach, the Magnificent Mile and the Hancock Observatory.
The city of Chicago enjoys a particularly beautiful position alongside the Michigan Lake, and is therefore often referred to as the ‘Queen of the Lake’. It is known for both tourism and business, with a central business district lined with some magnificent skyscrapers and a lovely ‘coastal’ area with miles of sandy beaches. There are plenty of Chicago hotels available to accommodate visitors of the city. Hotel rooms with varying prices can be found in the Chicago Loop, which is nearby to Grant Park and the business district of the city, and a large number of hotels are also found around Lincoln Park, in the Gold Coast/Near North area. Visitors are recommended to book their hotel rooms in advance, especially during the busier times of the year, when there are big conventions and music festivals, and at Christmas time.
The most popular beach area in Chicago is North Avenue Beach, a place where locals and tourists enjoy sunbathing and swimming. The beach is found along North Lake Shore Drive, and is the ideal location for a fun-filled day out. Nearby is also the Chess Pavilion, where many intriguing chess matches are played. Perhaps one of the most famous aspects of Chicago is the Magnificent Mile, a part of Michigan Avenue. This is where tourists can ‘shop till they drop’, as there are literally hundreds of magnificent shops, cafés, restaurants and gift shops to be browsed. There are large shopping malls along the Magnificent Mile as well, featuring shops of all varieties. They include the Place Mall and the Water Tower Place.
The Hancock Observatory is a wonderful place to visit during the day or night. When the sun is shining some superb views over the city’s buildings can be seen, and when its dark, the observatory provides the perfect view of the night sky. Its most popular attraction is the impressive open-air sidewalk and the talking telescopes. The Hancock Observatory is at 875 North Michigan Avenue, on the 94th floor. Children under five years of age may enter for free. Tours enjoyed in Chicago include the Neighbourhood Walking Tours and the O’Leary’s Fire Truck Tours, while additional famous attractions include the Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum, the Auditorium Theatre, McCormick Place and the Harold Washington Library, one of the largest in the world.
Chicago Attractions for Children
Children thoroughly enjoy a vacation in Chicago, as not only are there lovely beaches for their amusement, but many other attractions as well. One of the most popular places to visit is the Lincoln Park Zoo, one of the oldest zoos in America and one of the only that offers free admissions. It covers an area of around 35 acres, or 14 hectares, and is home to a large variety of fantastic animals, for example, lions, tigers, elephants, zebras and exotic birds. It also features a large number of gorillas and monkeys. Besides watching the animals, the zoo’s guests can ride the Lincoln Park Zoo Express, take a paddle boat on the South Lagoon and enjoy refreshments at the cafés.
Kid ‘n’ Me is an indoor playground with a special area for very young children, and the Kohl Children’s Museum found in Glenview is an ideal outing for children of all ages. It features wonderful hands-on activities that will keep children entertained for hours. Chicago has the world’s largest indoor aquarium, known as the John G. Shedd Aquarium and Oceanarium. It is one of the city’s most popular attractions, with sea life that include huge sea turtles, dolphins, beluga whales, sharks and piranhas. The Aquarium is found in the South Loop district, and is visited by over two million people every year. Additional children’s attractions in Chicago are the Polar Dome Ice Arena, the Racing Rapids Action Park and Santa’s Village Azoosment Park, featuring a petting zoo, sleigh rides, exotic animal shows, the Dragon Coaster and the Kiddie Ferris Wheel.
Chicago Attractions – Museums, Landmarks, Monuments and Parks
Some of the most appealing Chicago museums are the Museum of Science and Industry (MSI) at 57th Street and Lake Shore Drive, the Aurora Historical Museum that was once the home of Chicago businessman William Tanner, the Clarke House Museum which is a Greek Revival-style building, the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum full of interesting exhibits about the world of Science, and the Chicago Historical Society that includes a hands-on Historic Gallery and many fascinating collections of toys, furniture, posters, sculptures and many other items. The Field Museum is one of the largest in the city, with attractions such as the ‘DNA to Dinosaurs’.
Important landmarks and monuments of Chicago city include the Michigan Avenue Bridge, the famous Picasso Statue, the Navy Pier, the Carbide and Carbon Building, the Willis Tower, Lorado Taft’s Fountain of Time, Buckingham Fountain, the Chicago Rising from the Lake sculpture and the Elks National Veterans Memorial. Lovely green areas to explore in Chicago include the Chicago Botanic Gardens, Lincoln Park with the Lincoln Park Observatory, Grant Park, Jackson Park, the Seneca Playlot Park, Washington Park, Abbott Park and Calumet Park, with a beach area and tennis courts.
Chicago attractions nearby include the Allstate Arena that is visited by thousands, and that is a multi-purpose arena with 20,000 seats. The Brookfield Zoo is another popular kid’s outing and the gardens of Morton Arboretum features footpaths, a library, a gift shop and a restaurant, as well as over 40,000 plants.
Information regarding Chicago attractions can be found at Chicago O’Hare International Airport, and at the Chicago Cultural Centre (East Randolph Street) and the Water Works Visitor Information Centre, at East Pearson Avenue.