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Chicago

TRAVEL GUIDE

Chicago

TRAVEL GUIDE

The Fodor's Five

The five things you need to know before traveling to Chicago

# 1

Leave the Loop to truly experience the many international cultures in Chicago.

Downtown is the business district, theater district, and where tourists hang out. This is not a cozy, intimate neighborhood. This “city of tall shoulders,” as the poet Carl Sandburg called it, continues to attract residents from around the world. Chinatown, Greektown, Bronzeville, Little India, and Pilsen feature shopping, restaurants, and museums reflecting the neighborhood’s heritage.

Related: The Chicago Neighborhoods That Every Traveler Should Experience

# 2

Eat more than Chicago-style hot dogs and deep-dish pizza.

While you should not get back on that plane without trying either a hot dog (topped with relish and stuffed in a poppy-seed bun) or deep-dish pizza, there are other food cultures to sample. This includes dim sum in Chinatown; tebirkes and cardamom buns (Danish pastry) in Wicker Park or Andersonville; Indian and Pakistani food on Devon Avenue; and Michelin-starred and James Beard Award-winning restaurants, particularly in the Loop, West Loop, and Lincoln Park.

# 3

Don't rent a car in Chicago.

It costs, on average, $50-$75 per night to park at a Chicago hotel. By using a rental car to get around, you’ll either pay a ton of money to park in a garage or lot, or waste precious time finding parking. Live like a local and hop on a bus or elevated rail car (within the Chicago Transit Authority), and leave the driving to someone else. Chicago also has plenty of Uber and Lyft drivers at the ready.

# 4

Marvel at the lakeshore.

Lake Michigan rims Chicago on its eastern edge, from Rogers Park in the North to the South Shore. Think it's too cold to sink your toes into the sand of Chicago's many beaches? Then bundle up for a brisk walk or rent a Divvy bicycle to meander along the lakefront. Or just enjoy the view: From some of the city’s high-rise hotels—and of course Willis Tower and 875 North Michigan Avenue (formerly known as the John Hancock Building)—you’ll get amazing vistas of the lakefront.

# 5

Look up at Chicago's world-famous architecture.

From Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Sullivan to—in more modern times—Jeanne Gang and Zaha Hadid, Chicago’s buildings are a veritable lesson in American architecture. Book an architecture tour in a boat along the Chicago River or—in chilly weather—take a walking tour or bus ride with the Chicago Architecture Center.

Related: How to See Chicago’s Best Architecture

Recommended Fodor’s Video

Neighborhoods

Chicago's suburbs aren't just for commuters. The towns that lie to the north, west, and south of the city are rich in history, culture, and
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Hyde Park is something of a trek from downtown Chicago, but it's worth the extra effort. Rich in academic and cultural life, it is also
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Stretching north in a rough row that runs parallel and close to the lake, the primarily residential neighborhoods in Lakeview and the Far North Side
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In 1864 the vast park here—which extends from North Avenue to Foster Avenue—became the city's first public playground. Its zoo is legendary. The area adjacent
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River North, the Magnificent Mile, the Gold Coast: this area holds some of the city's greatest attractions. Navy Pier and the Chicago Children's Museum are
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Hotels

Quickly find Chicago Hotels and compare prices.

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Language

English

Nearby Airports

ORD, MDW, CHI

Electrical Outlets

120 V/60Hz; Type A plugs have two flat prongs. Type B plugs have the same two flat prongs with a third round prong; together the three form a triangular shape.

Currency

US Dollar

Local Weather

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Historic Weather: Powered by Dark Sky
Weather info provided is using averaged daily data within the given month of the previous year.

Language

English

Electrical Outlets

120 V/60Hz; Type A plugs have two flat prongs. Type B plugs have the same two flat prongs with a third round prong; together the three form a triangular shape.

Currency

US Dollar

Nearby Airports

ORD, MDW, CHI

Local Weather

{{monthAverage.f_high}}° {{monthAverage.c_high}}° {{monthAverage.f_low}}° {{monthAverage.c_low}}°
{{monthAverage.month}}
Historic Weather: Powered by Dark Sky
Weather info provided is using averaged daily data within the given month of the previous year.

June, September, and October are mild and sunny. November through March the temperature ranges from crisp to bitter, April and May can fluctuate...Read More

Discover the best neighborhoods in Chicago with curated recommendations from our editors.

Explore All

Local Weather

{{monthAverage.f_high}}° {{monthAverage.c_high}}° {{monthAverage.f_low}}° {{monthAverage.c_low}}°
{{monthAverage.month}}
Historic Weather: Powered by Dark Sky
Weather info provided is using averaged daily data within the given month of the previous year.

June, September, and October are mild and sunny. November through March the temperature ranges from crisp to bitter, April and May can fluctuate...Read More

Discover the best neighborhoods in Chicago with curated recommendations from our editors.

Explore All

Local Weather

{{monthAverage.f_high}}° {{monthAverage.c_high}}° {{monthAverage.f_low}}° {{monthAverage.c_low}}°
{{monthAverage.month}}
Historic Weather: Powered by Dark Sky
Weather info provided is using averaged daily data within the given month of the previous year.

June, September, and October are mild and sunny. November through March the temperature ranges from crisp to bitter, April and May can fluctuate...Read More

Discover the best neighborhoods in Chicago with curated recommendations from our editors.

Explore All

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Fodor's Chicago
Whether you want to eat deep-dish pizza, explore the The Field Museum of Natural History,...

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