Chicago is the largest city of the Midwest and it is located on the shores of Lake Michigan – that’s why it is also called The Windy City – and it was founded in 1830. In October 1871, a fire destroyed one-third of Chicago, but the city rebuilt was astonishing speedy and almost ten years later gave the world its first skyscraper, the 10-story Home Insurance Building. The buildings and the architecture of Chicago reflect the history of American architecture, due to its plethora of unique architectural styles. On the overall Chicago is a very huge city, plenty of neighborhoods to visit.
As I was there just for a short weekend my time was stretched, so I decided to stay in the central area, precisely the loop and Streetville. I stayed in a cute non-profit hostel five minutes away from the Art Institute of Chicago called Hi Hostel Chicago. It is really nice and in a short walk you are in the city center!
The highlights of the city include for sure the Art Institute of Chicago, located in Grant Park. Even though you might find it a little overpriced ($19 for students), I suggest you go because is one of the oldest and largest art museums in the United States. Its Impressionist collection is unbelievable, but you will find a great number of famous pieces of art. Inside Grant Park, you will be able to see also the Buckingham Fountain and the notorious Millenium Park with The Bean such as the Cloud Gate.
Cloud Gate is a public sculpture by Anish Kapoor, made up of 168 stainless steel plates welded together. Kapoor’s design was inspired by liquid mercury and the sculpture’s surface reflects and distorts the city’s skyline and was the result of a design competition.
If you continue walking on Michigan Avenue you will see the famous Garrett Popcorn where you will find any kind of popcorn! Keep walking and you will end up in the upscale Magnificent Mile and State Street, with thousands of restaurants and shops. Near the Magnificent Mile, you absolutely have to try the famous deep-dish pizza of Giordano’s. I didn’t really liked it, but it’s a must-have, so don’t be afraid to try!
Now, if you want to work off this big great pizza walk towards the shore and the Navy Pier where you will find beautiful parks, gardens, shops, restaurants, family attractions and exhibitions. You can also have the opportunity to do a boat tour on the Lake! You can also have a walk along the river, it is really suggestive as you can observe the architecture of the city from a different point of view.
To end the day in the most amazing way go see the city from above. You know a love sunsets and the 360° Chicago offers a perfect observation point that overlooks Chicago and Lake Michigan. Wait for the sunset and then wait for the night, where all the light of the city will be turned on.