Chicago has long been associated with jazz and gangsters from when the notorious Al Capone and his gang took hold of the city in the 1920s. These days Chicago prides itself as a hotspot for business and is listed as one of the world's top ten global financial centres. This metropolis of skyscrapers combines art deco architecture and modernity producing a stunning skyline, plus fun, good food and a multi-cultural society.
Staying in Chicago
In the heart of downtown is the HI-Chicago hostel which is near all the major tourist attractions – Lake Michigan, Millennium Park, Sears Tower, the Art Institute, Field Museum and Shedd Aquarium. It is a comfortable hostel with 500 beds, takes group bookings, family rooms are available and the place is suitable for wheelchairs. There is also a big self-service kitchen, internet, air conditioning, communal areas with games and TV, an elevator, laundry service and luggage room. Bed linen and breakfast is included in the price.
Directions: 24 East Congress Parkway, Chicago. Tel: 1 312 360 0300. Email: Chicago@hiusa.org
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Things to see and do in Chicago
In 1885 the first steel-framed high-rise building, the Home Insurance Building, rose in Chicago ushering in the skyscraper era. Today, Chicago's skyline is among the worlds tallest and most dense. The nation's two tallest buildings are both located in Chicago; Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower), and Trump International Hotel & Tower.
The city is home to two Major League Baseball (MLB) teams: the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago White Sox. The Chicago Bears are one of the last two remaining charter members of the National Football League and have won nine NFL Championships, including Super Bowl XX. The Chicago Bulls of the National Basketball Association (NBA) are one of the most recognized basketball teams in the world. Take advantage of being in one of the world’s leading sports cities and catch a game!
Eating out in Chicago
The city has many ethnic restaurant districts. Including the Mexican villages, such as Pilsen on 18th Street and La Villita on 26th Street; the Puerto Rican enclave Paseo Boricua in the Humboldt Park neighbourhood; Greektown on South Halsted; Little Italy on Taylor Street, just west of Halsted; Chinatown on the near South Side; Polish fare reigns at Belmont-Central; Little Seoul on and around Lawrence Avenue; there is also a cluster of Vietnamese restaurants on Argyle Street and South Asian (Indian/Pakistani) on Devon Avenue.
Getting around in Chicago
Chicago is one of the largest hubs of passenger rail service in the nation. Many long distance services originate from Union Station and arrive in New York, Seattle, Portland, New Orleans, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Antonio, and Washington. There are also short-haul services throughout Illinois and toward nearby Milwaukee, Indianapolis, St. Louis, and Detroit.
Chicago offers a wide array of bicycle transportation facilities, including several miles of on-street bike lanes, 10,000 bike racks, 170 miles of bike route signage and a state-of-the-art central bicycle commuter station in Millennium Park.
Chicago is served by Midway International Airport on the South Side and O'Hare International Airport, the world's second busiest airport.
Top tip for Chicago
Don’t leave Chicago without tasting the nationally renowned deep-dish pizza. This style is said to have originated at Pizzeria Uno in Chicago’s River North Region.