Chicago Guide: Everything you could want to know; where to stay, eat, play & do.

Situated on the Southwest shores of Lake Michigan, the city of Chicago, Illinois, has certainly earned its nickname as the 'Windy City'.

Over the last 175 years, Chicago has evolved from a simple village with a population of just a few hundred to a bustling city, second only to New York. It was officially made a town in 1837, as its population rose to over 4000.

Chicago is certainly no stranger to the world of business and industry, but still manages to maintain its reputation for culture and variety. The home of jazz, the city prides itself on entertainment, hosting many festivals, exhibitions and artistic programmes each year. The city is also known for its architecture, and, in fact, boasts the world's first steel-framed skyscraper.

With a population of 2,896,000, Chicago has a diverse ethnic mix. Average temperatures in the city range from -6°c in January to 22.5 °c in July. The cost of living is very reasonable, with prices at around $20 for a three-course meal with drink, $1.00 for a litre of mineral water, and $3.00 for a bottled beer.

Accommodation is easy to find in Chicago:

Many hotels are located downtown, and are ideally placed for both business travellers and for those who simply wish to see the sights and take in the culture. The wide range of hotels caters for all levels, from the budget traveller to the business executive.

Getting around in the city is also not a problem, with bus and train services available at all hours. The rail creates a circle, known as the 'loop', around the downtown shopping and business area. The cost of travelling by public transport is cheap - just $5.00 for a 24 hour pass; very useful since there is even a nigh owl service between midnight and 5.00 am.

There are many attractions to keep visitors occupied: The Art Institute of Chicago houses examples of worldwide human artistry, including one of just four water lily paintings by Monet and Grant Wood's 'American Gothic'. The Institute is guarded by the city's famous bronze lions. The Field Museum, is, amongst other things, home to 'Sue', the most complete T-Rex skeleton every found. At the Shedd Aquarium you can find a variety of sea-life, from whales to tropical fish.

You'll never go hungry in Chicago…

Although you might be spoilt for choice. Its many restaurants cater for a variety of palates, from pizza-lovers to those looking for fine cuisine, or even those who prefer to settle for a hotdog. Prices at restaurants vary, although they are generally very reasonable. There are also many bars for those that are looking for some nightlife, many of them staying open until 5.00 am.

Shopping in Chicago is a must, and Marshall Fields is just the place to do it. Boasting over 450 departments and eleven levels, it is a shopper's paradise. The 'Magnificent Mile' is another haven for lovers of shopping, where a range of famous stores such as Bloomingdale's and Saks can be found. ::: Houston Airports ::: All about Houston Airports ::: :::  
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