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Review of Chicago, Illinois USA

I recently spent a few days in the city of Chicago.  I found it to be a terrific city to visit with or without the kids.  There is so much to experience that I was sorry that I did not stay longer.


This terrific city is located on the shores of Lake Michigan, so you have the beautiful view of the water from many locations.  It is home to top sports teams,  the sympathy orchestra, live theater, celebrated architecture, wonderful restaurants, outstanding museums, the Magnificent Mile and the Navy Pier.


You can view the city from 1,000 feet above at the John Hancock Observatory or the Sears Tower Skydeck.    The John Hancock observation deck gives one of the best views you can have of Chicago's downtown area.  The Sears Tower Sky deck, in 2008, is Chicago’s most visited and highest observatory with 110 stories.  For a skydeck scavenger hunt for the kids click here:  Scavenger Hunt  

The double decker street tour bus is a great excursion.  It takes about two hours and will give you a real feel for the layout of the city.  There are approximately 13 stops along the tour at major tourist attractions and you can get off visit the site and then get back on the next bus that comes along. We really enjoyed this tour and would highly recommend it.  Be sure to get an early start so that you can make the most of your ticket.

In addition, Chicago has FREE double decker buses that circle the city.  They are color coded based on their route.  Make sure you find out in advance the bus that you need to get you to your destination.

The Magnificent Mile is a grand boulevard with exclusive shops, museums, restaurants and ritzy hotelsAll the big names in shopping are present here, from Disney and Niketown to Bloomingdales and Saks Fifth Avenue. The south end is bordered by the Michigan Avenue bridge and at its northern end by Oak Street Bridge.  The Magnificent Mile is a unique street that you shouldn't miss on your visit to Chicago.


The Museum Campus, located near Soldier field, is home to The Field Museum, Adler Planetarium and Shedd Aquarium.  On the city’s north side you will find the Lincoln Park Zoo, which is one of the oldest zoos in the country.  Just west of Chicago is the home of the Brookfield Zoo which features over 2,000 animals.

The Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise is Chicago's most popular river tour.   It offers a unique perspective of some of Chicago’s architecturally significant sites.  Many of the buildings along the river were designed with the river in mind, and have a different perspective than when viewing them from the street side. 

You can marvel at Chicago’s soaring towers while enjoying this 90-minute, narrated river cruise.  The boats have both open-air and indoor climate controlled seating. This tour spotlights more than 50 architecturally significant sites where you will discover a new perspective on the city. 

Launch time frequencies change seasonally, but tours generally start every 30 - 60 minutes between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., and 10:00 a.m - 5:30 p.m. on weekends between June and September. 

I totally enjoyed this tour but do feel that it may not be appropriate for small children.  They will love the boat but may become bored sitting quietly to listen to the narrator.  You will be able to get terrific skyline pictures from this tour.