7 Must-Know Travel Hacks About Chicago

Known as “The Windy City”, there is more to Chicago than just the Chicago Bulls, the Chicago Cubs, and the White Sox.

Chicago is the third most-populated city in the U.S. and is the origin of many of the country’s cultural and industrial exports, such as the skyscraper, McDonald’s, Boeing, the deep dish pizza, and The Blues Brothers.

Now getting around Chicago might seem complicated with the streets laid out in a grid but going around the city will let you discover a variety of attractions.

1. John Hancock Center – The John Hancock Center is no longer called by that name; it’s now known as 875 North Michigan Avenue. However, as the fourth-tallest building in Chi-Town, it has a 360-degree view of the surrounding area – a radius of around 80 miles encompassing the city, Chicagoland, and up to four states.

While most tourists go up to the observation deck, visitors are charged $21 for adults and $14 for children. However, going up to the 95th-floor restaurant is free. Of course, you must get a drink, but a cocktail there would be cheaper than the same cocktail at the observation deck.

2. Hyde Park – While the Loop is often considered the cultural heart of Chicago, Hyde Park isn’t a bad place to take in some culture as well. The neighborhood is home to some of the foremost cultural institutions in the city, such as the Museum of Science and Technology. The Robie House, built by the architect Frank Lloyd Wright, is open for tours on Thursday to Monday. The Oriental Institute Museum, located on the sprawling, magnificent campus of the University of Chicago, contains archaeological finds from the Middle East.

3. Chicago Pedway – Should you drop by Chicago in the middle of winter, you’ll understand why the locals call it “Chiberia” – temperatures could go down to as low as -23°F. However, you could still get around by taking the Chicago pedway, a series of underground walkways that stretches from Maggie Daley Park in the Loop’s east side to the parking facility at the corner of Madison and La Salle streets. The pedway might be a tangled mess, but it’s still the best way to get from Point A to Point B within the Loop.

4. Water Taxis – If you’re in Chicago in the warmer months and have some time to kill, head down to the Navy Pier and take the Shoreline water taxi. The red, white, and blue water taxis take two routes: one going to the Museum Campus area by the lake, another going to Willis Tower (which was known as Sears Tower until fairly recently). Both are equally scenic routes. The Chicago water taxi, on the other hand, is painted yellow and goes from Michigan Avenue to Chinatown, with two of seven stations closed on weekends.

5. Chicago Athletic Association Hotel – If you can’t imagine going through the day without coffee, Chicago has hundreds of coffee shops. However, if you want to visit a place where you can sample some of the best coffee blends from over the country, Fairgrounds at the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel offers beans from Chicago, California, Portland, Milwaukee, Nashville, and New York. If you’re not in a hurry, you can enjoy your coffee and a sandwich at Fairgrounds’ patio with a view of Milleninum Park.

6. Chicago deep dish pizza is the city’s shining culinary legacy. It’s not a snack like most pizzas; it’s a meal in a slice. Most tourists go to the pizza places downtown, such as Gino’s East, Unos and Dues, and Giordano’s. Locals, though, prefer going further afield – the South Side is home to Beggar’s Pizza, Home Run Inn Pizza, and Connie’s Pizza. You could also have an Italian beef sandwich at Al’s Beef downtown or Mr. Beef On Orleans, in the River North neighborhood.

7. Chicago Picasso – Chicago is home to an impressive array of public art, including works by Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, Alexander Calder, and Anish Kapoor. The 50-foot tall Chicago Picasso in Daley Plaza is the first piece of public art in the downtown area and was a gift to the city by the eccentric artist. Up to now, there is still an ongoing debate about what the sculpture represents. Possible inspirations include a French model, a baboon, the Egyptian deity Anubis, and an Afghan hound. Whatever it is, though, the Chicago Picasso is a distinctive Chicago landmark, one that has appeared in films such as The Fugitive, The Blues Brothers, and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

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Where to Eat and Drink at Chicago O’Hare International Airport

The Chicago O’Hare International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world, in terms of the number of daily takeoffs and landings.

For people who haven’t been to the airport before, finding a place to have a quick meal or a few drinks can be a challenge. Fortunately, there is a good variety of establishments to choose from the various locations within the airport.

Here are some places you can go to eat at Chicago O’Hare International Airport:

1. Tortas Frontera

The long lines at Tortas Frontera is a clear indication that the food here is superb. Fortunately, even with the long lines, the service is pretty quick and so you won’t have to wait too long. From breakfast to lunch to dinner, you can rest assured that this restaurant will deliver. Their Chipotle Chicken Tortas is quite something. Also, their sandwiches are packed in such a way that you can easily bring them to the plane and eat them during the flight.

2. Farmer’s Fridge

This is a definitely for the health-conscious. It’s basically a vending machine where salad is served. The different delicacies are served in mason jars. Some of the salad options available include Pesto Pasta Salad and Peach Caprese Salad. You will also find coconut Chia Pudding and chicken. Since the food is served in jars, you can carry your leftovers and eat them during the flight.

3. Skybridge Restaurant & Bar

This is basically a sit-down bar and a take-out grill connected. You will absolutely love the gyros here. Skybridge is quite generous with their meat portions. They also serve burgers, sandwiches, Chicago-style hot dogs and omelets. It’s not necessarily a fancy place but the food and drinks are great. Being an airport spot, the prices are surprisingly low. For example, their Italian beef sandwich with fries costs just $9.

4. Publican Tavern

The food here is far better than the fast food associated with airport restaurants. At the same time, the service is great. From the avocado salad to the Turkey sandwich, everything tastes great. The establishment has a very relaxing atmosphere. Most people who have been there will probably recommend the salads which you should try. Something else you will enjoy at Publican Tavern is their cocktails.

5. Burrito Beach

If you’re looking for a laid-back meal, this is the restaurant for you. Their burrito, salads and burrito bowls come in many variations. Also, the portions are generous enough for you to eat and carry a leftover piece to eat during your flight. They also have a variety of grilled vegetables including yellow squash and zucchini. The dishes are undeniably fresh and served by very friendly staff.

6. Wicker Park Sushi

It may be a bit pricey here but with the great service and quality offerings, it’s worth it. They have a nice bar/lounge environment where you can enjoy delicious sushi. Also, the establishment is close to a good number of United Airline gates. Their selection of sushi rolls is quite good and the ingredients are all fresh. Definitely, a place you should try.

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7 Things To Do in Chicago, Illinois

The city of Chicago is one of the most unique cities in the United States. This prosperous urban district has earned some interesting monikers like the City of Big Shoulders, the Windy City, and the Second City. Home to numerous museums, cultural attraction sites, and many thriving industrial and commercial centers that keep the city humming with energy, Chicago is a favorite among first-time travelers to the US.

Chicago often overwhelms tourists because of its sheer number of tourist spots and attractions. If you are planning to visit this vibrant city, here are seven of the best things that you can do to make your stay more enjoyable and memorable!

1.  Shedd Aquarium

Considered one of the crown jewels of Chicago, this massive aquarium serves as a habitat to over 32,000 marine species. The aquarium has been a leading marine biology institute in the U.S. and is incomparable to any other tank in the country. See native species enjoying their home habitat in a specially designed tank . Watch sea otters play around. But that’s not all. The group of divers will surely delight you as they descend into the tanks to feed the marine animals. Never miss the opportunity to see some of your favorite aquatic animals swimming in their containers.

2.  Hop On, Hop Off Bus Tour

Ride Chicago’s Hop On, Hop Off bus tours! These tour services are the most efficient and easy way to get to the best spots in the city. The bus guides also offer exceptional entertainment and information about the history and architecture of the town.

3.  SkyDeck Chicago

If you seek a thrilling experience high up in the air, we highly recommend SkyDeck Chicago. This attraction is located at the top of the Willis Tower. If you’re brave enough to view the busy city streets below, just step into the ledge and enjoy the sensation of being suspended above the tower. The glass ledge will surely give you the feeling of walking on air. The panoramic window will also give you an opportunity to view the city and its surroundings.

4.  360 Chicago

Is SkyDeck not enough to satisfy the thrill-seeker in you? Then come visit the 360 Chicago. Found at the 96th floor of John Hancock building, this tourist attraction offers a great view of the urban metropolis even though it is not as high as the SkyDeck. At this height, you will be treated to an in-depth look of some of the most advanced architectural skyscrapers of the city.

5.  The Field Museum

The Field Museum is considered one of the most significant museums not just in the United States but in the whole world as well. It houses some of the finest artifact collections that can be found in the country. This art center will definitely transport you back in time with its perfectly laid out historical pieces.

6.  Adler Planetarium

The Adler Planetarium is a must visit site especially if you are an avid fan of space science. It offers plenty of information about the universe and houses some of the world’s most advanced theaters. This planetarium has a galaxy wall that provides the ultimate view of the Milky Way. It is a place that encourages one to consider breaking the bonds between earth and heaven.

7.  Art Institute of Chicago

A few hours will not be enough if you are planning to visit the Art Institute of Chicago. Make sure that you set aside one whole day for this tourist spot if you want to make the most out of its offerings. This art institution is home to more than 5,000 years of humankind history and the world as a whole.

With so many things to do and discover in Chicago, you probably don’t want to miss the opportunity to visit the city. However, we know how hard it is to look for a decent but reasonably priced parking space at the airport when you’re traveling. But, not anymore! We offer the most affordable airport parking in Chicago.

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