Chicago
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Chicago may be the most underrated city in America. Known as "the second city" for its position in the shadows of New York, Chicago is also overlooked by travelers headed to LA, Miami, Seattle, and San Francisco. The winters on the lake are indeed frigid, but the easy temperament of the "mid-westerner" will warm your soul. There are over 40 museums and 250 theater companies that add a cultural vibrance to the city that few American towns can offer. Some say Chicago is so sophisticated culturally that it belongs on one of the coasts. 

Chicago summers get hot, but the proximity of the beaches to the city offers residents and visitors easy escape. There are over 15 miles of beautiful lake-front beaches right in the middle of the city with over 18 miles of bicycle paths as well.


Activities Dining Shopping Resources Nightlife User Reviews  

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Cruising on the Chicago River
www.chicagoline.com
This 90-minute boat tour of Chicago will turn a first timer into an expert on the stunning architecture of this great city.  Take the cocktail cruise at 6:00 pm and make new friends.

Art Institute of Chicago
111 South Michigan Avenue
Tel. 312.443.3600

www.artic.edu
In addition to the vast Impressionist collection, be sure to check out the famous "American Gothic" and Seurat's Pointillist work.  More than a dozen exhibitions are currently on display, including an exhibit commemorating pencil drawings done by masters from the Renaissance through 19th century France.

Wrigley Field
1060 West Addison Street
Tel. 773.404.2827
www.chicago.cubs.mlb.com
The chances of keeping a home run ball are cut in half at the Friendly Confines because if hit by the other team, Cubs fans must throw the ball back. This plus other traditions, like the manual scoreboard, make this ivy-walled stadium an Americana classic and a must-see for sports, architecture and American history fans alike.

Navy Pier
600 East Grand Avenue

www.navypier.com
Enjoy an IMAX movie, or a Shakespeare performance, or both. Navy Pier has got it all for a lazy afternoon of touristy bliss. Ride the Ferris wheel, go to a stained-glass museum, or just listen to the sounds of the water on the lakefront.

Alinea
1723 N. Halsted Street (Willow St.)
Tel. 312.867.0110
www.alinea-restaurant.com
Alinea should charge you just to tour the place, to soak up the atmosphere and pick up some smart decorating tips. This is kaiseki-dining Western-style from chef Grant Achatz. Choose from eight, 12 or 24 courses that are elegantly presented and joyfully consumed. Pastry chef Alelx Stupak transforms caramel into a powder, which turns right back into caramel once chewed. Be prepared to spend several hours and quite a few bucks. Alinea was named Gourmet magazine's Number One restaurant in 2006.  Matthew Upchuch of Virtuoso says it's one of the best restaurants he's ever dined at.  That's quite a statement! 

Avec
615 W Randolph St
Tel. 312.377.2002
www.avecrestaurant.com
Avec is a real treat. Avec adds a little bit of European flavor to Chicago with an eclectic, artsy crowd and a wine list only featuring European wines. The menu focuses on small and large sharing plates of rustic, Mediterranean "peasant foods," with many dishes cooked in a wood-burning oven and served in cast-iron pots. Avec doesn't take reservations, so it's a good idea to get there early in the evening

Moto
945 West Fulton Market
Tel. 312.491.0068

www.motorestaurant.com/flash/index.html
Featured in GQ and on The Food Network, Moto is a journey as well as a destination. Be sure to travel to the Meatpacking District, which is following the path of New York’s Meatpacking District in becoming haute restaurant central. Chef Homaro Cantu, regarded as one of the world’s finest young culinary minds, will make the journey out here well worth it. Reserve well in advance for culinary experimentation at its finest.

Sola
3868 North Lincoln Avenue
Tel. 773.327.3868

www.sola-restaurant.com
When you take a California surfer girl restaurant owner and place her in Chicago you get lots of Asian seasonings and tropical infusions.  Artichoke fritters with soy lime sauce and white truffle honey and lobster shitake pot stickers are among the unusual but solid offerings.

Brasserie Jo
59 West Hubbard Street
Tel. 312.595.0800

www.brasseriejo.com
Chef Jean Joho creates delicious Alsatian food. Go to their bar between 5:00 and 10:00 PM on Tuesday nights and he will send out freshly baked tartes flambÈs all night. Try the famous shrimp-in-a-bag or the phyllo dough stuffed with shrimp, wild mushrooms and leeks in lobster cream sauce. Reservations accepted.

Charlie Trotter's
816 W. Armitage Ave.
Tel. 773-248-6228
www.charlietrotters.com/index-old.asp
The restaurant is recognized by a variety of prestigious national and international institutions. In 1995 Charlie Trotter's was inducted into the esteemed Relais & Chateaux and in 1998 was accepted as a member by Traditions & Qualité . It has also received Five Stars from the Mobil Travel Guide (one of only two Five Star restaurants in Chicago).

Gino’s East of Chicago
633 North Wells Street
Tel. 312.943.1124

www.ginoseast.com
Even though this restaurant seats 500, guests will have to wait in line without reservations. This world-famous, Chicago-style, deep dish pizza makes others taste like pure imitators. Enjoy the dark booths and graffiti covered walls, or have a pizza shipped frozen to your doorstep.

Mado
1647 North Milwaukee Avenue
Tel. 773. 342.2340
www.madorestaurantchicago.com
A serious restaurant where most all the ingredients come from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan or Wisconsin.  The chefs and owners are Allie and Rob Levitt and their motto is "Midwestern farmers, Mediterranean flavors".  Judging by their increasingly devoted following they must be doing something right. They don't have a liquor license but there is no corkage fee.

Crate & Barrel
646 North Michigan Avenue
Tel. 312.787.5900

www.crateandbarrel.com
Visit the original Crate & Barrel and come away with that gift you wish you thought of before.

Moonstruck
320 North Michigan Avenue
Tel. 312.696.1201
www.moonstruckchocolate.com
They specialize in handcrafted artisan chocolate truffles. There is the basic liqueur-filled and caramel delights, but they also have the Mayan Collection and the English garden. The former features such treats such as rare Triniterio cacao beans with dried fruits and the “Rumba,” Brazil nuts with dark espresso ganache laced with dark island rum.

Fogal of Switzerland
900 North Michigan Avenue
312-944-7866
www.fogal.com
Fogal is a leading name in high-class hosiery hailing from Switzerland. Men can get high-end socks and knee-highs as well.  Their holiday line includes tops, bodies, pants and swimwear made from fine Sea Island cotton or silk cotton blends.

 NEW ! Tickets to shows, sporting events and more!

Now classictravel.com offers its members the convenience of booking their theater, sports, tours and other events with us -- directly online. Book tickets here!

 

Gym at Hilton-Chicago O’Hare Airport
Tel. 773.686.8000

The Hilton's fitness center is connected by three terminals via underground walkways.  This makes for a perfect workout opportunity for travelers with a layover in the world's largest airport.

The Magnificent Mile Official Site
www.magnificentmile.com
Get in the know on events, places and ambience of the premier fashion and shopping strip in Chi-town.

Meet in Chicago
www.meetinchicago.com
Noteworthy about this site is its pages catering to international travelers and its profile of two convention centers: McCormick Place and Navy Pier.

Excalibur
632 North Dearborn Street
Tel. 312.266.1944

www.excaliburchicago.com
If you’re ready to let loose, head on over to Chicago’s hottest dance club. Good music and good people equal great fun you don’t want to pass up on your next visit. The Steppenwolf Theatre features some of the most popular plays and shows of this day and age. Be sure to book ahead because seats go quick at this beautiful venue.

Ghostbar
440 West Randolph Street
Tel. 312.575.9900
www.n9ne.com
Well-known Michael Kornick’s menu, plus a streamlined, futuristic look make this downstairs annex to the restaurant Nine a sure-fire 10. Celebrity sightings are common at Ghostbar as DJs spin Thursday through Saturday.

Le Passage
1 Oak Place
Tel. 312-255-0022
www.lepassage.tv
The Gold Coasts chicest club and bar takes the old “speakeasy” concept to a new level. In an alleyway and down the stairs, patrons discover 10,000 square feet of dancing, relaxing and munching on international fusion cuisine late into the night (Chef John Hogan). The Dorian columns and dark wooden interior are unique for a club of this size and buzz. A dress code is strictly enforced.