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Your guide to Chicago
All About Chicago
Settled along the banks of Lake Michigan, the Windy City of Chicago offers world-class dining, exciting architecture, a top performing arts scene, and plenty of excellent museums. With more than 200 neighborhoods calling this city home, there’s a unique aura found in each.
You’ll find historic mansions and upscale shopping in Gold Coast, Gothic-style university buildings in Hyde Park, cool cocktail bars and quirky shops in hip Logan Square, and incredible comedy clubs in Old Town. Enjoy time outside lounging on the city beaches, catch a baseball game at Wrigley Field, shop along the Magnificent Mile, or sample the celebrated dining scene in this dynamic city, the third-largest metropolis in the United States.
The best time to stay in a vacation rental in Chicago
Chicago’s summers are warm and sunny, which means the rooftops and patios are buzzing, and the days are filled with music and food festivals. This is also when the city's lakeside beaches are at their best, so it’s a popular time for booking Chicago vacation rentals. Fall is chilly but pleasant. Winters are downright cold, and you can expect plenty of snow between the months of December and April, but there’s also plenty of opportunity for ice skating in rinks and snowshoeing and sledding down hills in city parks. There are also wonderful Christmas lights at Navy Pier and throughout the city. Expect relatively cool temperatures and a decent amount of rainfall in spring, and pack your waterproof layers.
Top things to do in Chicago
The Art Institute of Chicago
The Art Institute is one of the best museums in the United States with more than 300,000 permanent artworks and many traveling exhibits. Take shelter from the city’s infamous wind and check out world-famous paintings from French Impressionists and modern American masterpieces. Cafes and restaurants are on-site for coffee breaks and leisurely lunches, and the museum also hosts regular lectures and events.
The tallest building in the world for almost 25 years, the Willis Tower is a 110-story skyscraper that’s now the second-tallest building in the U.S. For a view that can reach Wisconsin and Michigan on a clear day, visit The Willis Tower observation deck. It’s located on the 103rd floor of the building, and you can even step inside glass observation boxes that extend four feet over the street below.
Located across from the Art Institute, this city park is one of the most recognizable areas in Chicago thanks to the iconic Cloud Gate sculpture, lovingly known as “The Bean.” Rotating sculpture exhibitions and the naturalistic Lurie Garden make for lovely visits in spring and fall. During the summer months, the park comes alive with outdoor concerts, film screenings, dance performances, and even public yoga classes.
Frequently Asked Questions
How is the weather in Chicago?
Chicago experiences a wide range of weather, from hot summers that can reach 95°F (35°C) to chilly winters that can drop to 20°F (-6°C). The city exhibits four distinct seasons, with beautiful spring blossoms, sunny summers, colorful autumns, and snow-dusted winters, perfect for ice skating in Millennium Park.
What are some of the best things to do in Chicago?
In Chicago, you can explore iconic sights like Navy Pier, Cloud Gate in Millennium Park, and Willis Tower's SkyDeck for breathtaking city views. Cultural enthusiasts can immerse themselves in the Art Institute of Chicago or catch an engaging show at the Second City comedy club.
What is the best time of year to visit Chicago?
Summer, from June to August, is often recommended to visit Chicago. During this season, the city hosts various events, including the Chicago Blues Festival and Taste of Chicago, attracting food and music enthusiasts alike. However, the city is vibrant year-round, with winter activities such as ice skating and holiday markets.
What are the best places to stay in Chicago?
Popular areas to stay in Chicago include the vibrant neighborhoods of River North and Gold Coast for their proximity to dining and shopping. Lincoln Park and Lakeview are also often recommended for their leafy streets, local cafes, and proximity to the lake.
What are the best places to visit in Chicago?
Popular places to visit in Chicago include the culturally rich neighborhoods like Chinatown, Little Italy, and Pilsen. Navy Pier, the Magnificent Mile shopping district, as well as green spaces like Grant Park and Lincoln Park, are also frequently suggested.
What are some hiking trails in Chicago?
While Chicago is an urban city, it still has some scenic hiking trails. The Chicago Lakefront Trail, a 18-mile (29 km) path along Lake Michigan, and the North Branch Trail System in the Forest Preserves of Cook County are popular among outdoor enthusiasts.
What are some family activities to do in Chicago?
Families often enjoy exploring the Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum of Natural History, and the interactive exhibits at the Chicago Children's Museum. A boat tour along the Chicago River, highlighting the city's architectural marvels, is another frequently suggested activity for families.
What are some of the best day trip ideas in Chicago?
For day trips from Chicago, consider a visit to the Indiana Dunes National Park for some beach fun and hiking, or explore the charming town of Geneva for a relaxed pace with boutique shopping. Rockford, with its Anderson Japanese Gardens and Burpee Museum of Natural History, is also a viable option.
What types of vacation rentals are available in Chicago?
Uncover the perfect home-away-from-home with our diverse selection of vacation rentals in Chicago. From over 1,170 condo rentals, over 5,740 apartment rentals to over 1,800 house rentals, we've got you covered. For even more variety, explore our Airbnb Categories to find the ideal space for your getaway.
Are there vacation home rentals with a dedicated workspace in Chicago?
Yes! Work meets play with ease at over 10 vacation home rentals in Chicago featuring dedicated workspaces. Stay connected and productive in your home away from home.