Chicago Community Guide

Chicago, Illinois is a big city, with an infinite variety of attractions. Most people who return from a Chicago vacation make plans to return. It’s impossible to see it all in a short period of time. Between the zoos, museums, and interesting buildings and neighborhoods, Chicago, Illinois is a great place for family vacations.

downtown chicago illinois
Chicago Skyline; image via Chicago Travel Guide

Chicago is also famous for the blues, and the neighborhood offers two great places to hear authentic blues — Kingston Mines and Chicago Blue. The city is full of various attractions. At the Art Institute of Chicago, you’ll find Grant Wood’s American Gothic, Picasso’s The Old Guitarist. At the Field Museum, you can explore cultures and environments from around the world. The Sears Tower was the world’s tallest building. You can hang out at the Lincoln Park Zoo, or spend the day at the Navy Pier, on the edge of Lake Michigan.

Chicago Moms Guide to Family Attractions in Chicago and Beyond

What comes to mind when you think of the city of Chicago? It may evoke images of the Sears Tower and the Hancock Center, as well as the Twin Corncobs along the river and the vintage Wrigley Field marquee. The truth is that no matter what you come up with, Chicago’s personality cannot be defined. Not by a structure or a well-liked baseball team. Not even the picturesque lakefront landscape that distinguishes this Midwest town. Instead, the personality of Chicago is defined by its neighborhoods and the unique culture formed by its residents. This is your guide to a city that can only be explored one district at a time.

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In the warmer weather, the entire family will enjoy visiting Oak Street beach. Older kids will enjoy the Leonardo Da Vinci exhibit, while younger kids will love the Fairy Castle. The John G. Shedd Aquarium located at 1200 Lake Shore Drive is an excellent location for a Chicago family vacation.

Chicago Neighborhoods

There must be over 180 distinct Chicago neighborhoods, each with its own unique take on the Chicago way of life. This guide starts to break down what each community has to to provide, from dining to demographic trends, schools to buying groceries. Explore historic landmarks and architectural icons while dining at family-owned restaurants and pubs frequented by regulars.

Chicago City Guide

From the Great Chicago Fire to the Michael Jordan era Chicago Bulls dynasty, Chicago has been not only the second-largest city in the country but is also a major destination in the midwest. Chicago has many attractions associated with it, but here are 7 things you don’t know about Chicago.

  1. In 1885 Chicago became home to the first skyscraper in the world.
  2. In 1848 the Illinois and Michigan Canal opened, this canal made it so both steamboats and sailing ships could travel between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River.
  3. Chicago is home to the starting point of the world’s longest annual freshwater sailboat race, the Chicago Yacht Club Race To Mackinac.
  4. In the early 1900s, Chicago took an ingenious step to improve the city’s sewage system that included reversing the flow of the Chicago River.
  5. Not all of Chicago sits within the borders of Cook County, a small section of the city’s O’Hare International Airport stretches across the border into neighboring DuPage County.
  6. Chicago was the original selection for the 1904 Olympics. The Olympics were moved to St. Louis to coincide with the World’s Fair.
  7. In 1933, Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak was assassinated.

The bustling city of Chicago is comprised of many sections, from the Gold Coast and Old Town to River North, the Magnificent Mile, and Streeterville. The city’s multicultural heritage is reflected in its diverse neighborhoods, which attract thousands of visitors each year. Chicago is home to nearly 3 million people who represent nearly every nation of the world. Each group brings its own customs and traditions to the city, which is a hotbed of social, political, and cultural activity.

Arts & Dining

River North has the largest concentration of art galleries outside Manhattan. The area also boasts unique shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues, and it’s just a short walk to Navy Pier, the Loop, and Michigan Avenue. A former warehouse district, River North is now home to several businesses, including Quaker Oats and the recently converted Merchandise Mart; 20 fast-food restaurants; and more than 40 upscale eateries, including Planet Hollywood, Spago, Michael Jordan’s and the Hard Rock Cafe.


Chicago’s park system offers programs in five distinct areas: cultural enrichment, health and physical activities, social enhancement, personal development, and life skills, and outdoor and environmental education. These programs serve a variety of groups, from toddlers to seniors. No matter what your age or interests, you’ll find something to keep you busy!


There are more than 650 schools in the Chicago Public School District. Private and parochial schools include the Montessori School Near-North, Quigley Seminary North, the Latin School of Chicago, Francis Parker School, and St. Ignatius College Prep. Colleges and universities in the Near-North side include Rush University, the University of Illinois at Chicago and DePaul University.


Chicago offers some of the best shopping in the nation. The Marriott, located in the heart of Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, is a shopper’s paradise with four shopping centers, world-renowned boutiques, and locally acclaimed designers. And Water Tower Place offers a shopping mall anchored by Marshall Field and Lord & Taylor; a Ritz-Carlton Hotel; and offices and condominiums.


A complex system of expressways and public transportation ease traffic throughout Chicago. Taxis, buses, a subway, and elevated trains serve the city and surrounding suburbs.

Top Things to Do in Chicago

If you are going to Chicago for a holiday this season, don’t forget to spare time for these ten things to do in Chicago.

Brookfield Zoo

Especially if your family is with you or you are an animal lover visit this zoo situated on the Golf Road and you will just love spending some time with animals out there. This zoo has over 2000 animals and it covers an area of 216 acres. While you visit this zoo, make sure that you attend the Dolphin presentation. There are sections in the zoo where visitors can come closer to animals for better interaction with them. Along with the zoo at Brookfield, you can enjoy some shopping and dining too.

Amazing Chicago Funhouse Maze

Located on Navy Pier the Amazing Chicago funhouse maze is an ultimate thing to do when in Chicago. This funhouse maze is Chicago’s first full-sensory maze that gives a 15-minute walk experience where the visitors walk through attraction mazes and navigate through mirror mazes and tunnel stets. The overwhelming special effects, sights, and sounds leave the visitors mesmerized. Amazing Chicago is an exclusive way of showing Chicago to tour groups, students, and other visitors.

pullmanBuckingham Fountain

It is one of the most popular sites in the list of things to do in Chicago. Buckingham Fountain is the world’s largest fountain. The special features of this fountain are the four horses on its side symbolize Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan. The fountain is operative from April 1 to November 1, it runs daily from 10 am to 11 pm and as it gets dark the water display is accompanied by light and music. Amazing lights and soothing music complement the movement in the water. It’s a sight next to heaven that fixes the audience for long times.

Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum

Let’s make the trip to Chicago a memorable and an educative one. Keep ample spare time to visit the Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum at Lake Shore Drive. The visitors’ imagination gets fueled when they see the world’s first StarRider Theater showcasing the historical artifacts. You get to see the world’s finest rare book collection and astronomical instrument collection at this museum. It’s just fantastic visiting the Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum.

Millennium Park

The next interesting thing to do in Chicago is going to Millennium Park in the center of downtown Chicago. The best thing about the park is that it is open daily and admission to the park is absolutely free. This Millennium Park project is a momentous millennium project. It aims at transforming the unpleasant railway tracks and parking lots to create new parkland. Visiting this place will for sure add to the pleasure of being in Chicago.

Sears Tower Skydeck

The amazing 103 storeyed tower is another great spot to be visited in Chicago. The day when the sky is clear, the visibility from the top floor of Sears Tower is about 40-50 miles. You can have a look at the beautiful city of Chicago and its architecture; you can also view Indians, Wisconsin, and Michigan. The Skydeck features interactive, museum-quality demonstrations that draw attention to Chicago’s history and its historical characters. Unique cut-out windows are there for kids to come eye-to-eye with the most fascinating scenes from Chicago’s history. There are telescopes placed on the Skydeck for the visitors to have a close look at the Chicago city. Restaurants are there to meet the eating needs of visitors.

Art Institute of Chicago

If you are an art lover, don’t miss visiting the Art Institute of Chicago as it holds one of the world’s best art collections. This Art Institute possesses the world’s finest and comprehensive collection of Modern and Contemporary Art. This includes more than 1,500 paintings and sculptures that are displayed in this institute. To make your visit a memorable one the Art Institute also has a museum shop where you can buy replicas of the things in the gallery as a remembrance of your visit.

sample local delicacies on a taste of the neighborhoods tourShedd Aquarium

Take a fun trip to the world’s largest indoor aquarium and have a great experience of being with more than 8,000 aquatic animals that belong to more than 700 species. You can watch drivers hand the sharks, southern stingrays, sea turtles, and many more dangerous aquatic animals. The aquarium is brimming with life and full of colors never experienced before. The visit to Shedd aquarium is a unique thing to do in Chicago. It’s lovely to see dolphins interact with the animal care staff. Kids really enjoy there visit this fabulous world of aquatic animals.

Taste of Chicago

If you are lucky enough you can enjoy the Annual Food Festival in Chicago. This is also the Midwest’s Largest Food Festival and is organized somewhere in Jun-July. All through the festival, numerous local restaurateurs offer mouth-watering food preparations with exotic salads, delicious dishes that are special in Chicago. Along with amazing food, musical performances are also organized to keep the crowd entertained. This food festival has free admission, so again this should be a highlighted thing to do in Chicago.

Harold Washington Library

If you are a scholar or in deep love with books, then keep the Harold Washington Library in your list of things to do in Chicago. This beautiful library is located at State Street and Congress Parkway You will be glad to know that Harold Washington Library has made its name in the Guinness Book of World records for being the World’s Largest Public Library. The library possesses world-class books on- Literature, fiction, non-fiction, children’s books and many more. This Library also has educational CDs, DVDs and music CDS to offer. The Library also has a 385-seat auditorium, an exhibit hall, a video theater, and meeting rooms. It would be wonderful to visit this library.

Downtown Chicago IL
Downtown Chicago

Downtown Hotels in Chicago

As one of the nation’s legendary cities, Chicago, Illinois overflows with history, culture, food, hotels, and fun. Chicago, Illinois is known as the “Windy City” and the “Pulse of America.” The Hotel Monaco, a Chicago four-star luxury hotel and a place and where thousands of people visit every day. The Hotel Monaco offers truly imaginative accommodations among downtown Chicago Hotels. Whether you’re in town for business or pleasure, the central location of the Chicago hotel puts visitors in the heart of the city’s finest tourism. Definitely you won’t want to miss anything while you’re here; there are many comforts to enjoy within luxurious Chicago Illinois hotel.

Book affordable hotels in the Windy City at Chicago Hotels.

Exciting, creative, and synonymous with music and the arts, Chicago is one of the most popular cities in the United States. There’s something for everyone in the Windy City, although most activities are best enjoyed in the spring, summer, and, particularly, autumn. At the Palmer House Hilton hotel in Chicago, Illinois, guests enjoy the close proximity to the Art Institute of Chicago, Grant Park, Millennium Park, and Navy Pier.

Hilton Chicago is the closest luxury hotel to the city’s convention center. Most of Chicago’s hotels offer high-speed Internet access in every room and have every business convenience you would expect.

CHICAGO is in many ways the nation’s last great city. Sarah Bernhardt called it “the pulse of America” and, though long eclipsed by Los Angeles as the nation’s second-most populous city after New York, Chicago really does have it all, with less of the hassle and infrastructural problems of its coastal rivals.

Founded in the early 1800s, Chicago grew up with the country, serving as the main connection between the established east coast cities and the wide-open Wild West frontier. This position on the sharp edge between civilization and wilderness made the city into a crucible of innovation. Many aspects of modern life, from skyscrapers to suburbia, had their start, and perhaps their finest expression, here on the shores of Lake Michigan.

Despite burning to the ground in the legendary fire of 1871, Chicago boomed thereafter, doubling in population every decade and reaching two million around 1900, swollen by Irish and eastern European immigrants (Chicago still has the largest Polish population in the world outside Warsaw). In the early years of the twentieth century, it cemented a reputation as a place of apparently limitless opportunity, with jobs aplenty for those willing to work. : from 1900 to 1920 African Americans poured in, with more than 75,000 arriving during the war years of 1916-18 alone. Long hours, poor pay and squalid working conditions were the catalysts that made Chicago the cradle of American trade unions. By around 1900 most workers were organized under the American Federation of Labor, and the 1894 Pullman strike saw workers unite for almost the first time in the US. As hostilities intensified, the city’s workers became the driving force behind the left-wing “Wobblies.” Chicago has also long been an important center for black organizations both the Reverend Jesse Jackson’s Operation PUSH (People United to Save Humanity) and the more militant Nation of Islam, founded by Elijah Mohammed in the 1940s, have their national headquarters on the city’s South Side.

During the Roaring Twenties, Chicago’s self-image as a no-holds-barred free market was pushed to the limit by a new breed of entrepreneurs. Criminal syndicates, ruthlessly and brazenly run by the likes of gangsters like Al Capone and Bugsy Moran, took advantage of Prohibition to sell bootleg alcohol. Shootouts in the street between sharp-suited, Tommy-gun-wielding mobsters were not as common as legend would have it, but the backroom dealing and iron-handed control they pioneered was later perfected by politicians such as former mayor Richard Daley father of the present mayor who ran Chicago single-handedly from the 1950s until his death in 1976. His brutal handling of antiwar demonstrators at the 1968 Democratic convention remains notorious. These days, the tourist authorities play down the mobster era; few traces of the hoodlum years exist, and those that do owe more to Hollywood than contemporary Chicago.

Today, Chicago’s towering skyline the city has one of the world’s best collections of modern architecture, from Frank Lloyd Wright houses to the 110-story Sears Tower that dominates the pancake-flat prairies for hundreds of miles around. Chicago’s status as the cultural and financial heart of middle America is beyond question. The Loop downtown holds the head offices of many major US companies and some of the nation’s most important commodity markets, which together handle the buying and selling of one-third of the world’s agricultural and industrial products.