Tony Hallwood

Chicago – the undiscovered gem in the USA

Thinking of a city break with a difference yet wanting to sample that great American hospitality you could choose bustling Boston, wonderful Washington, or sensational San Francisco – but how many would decide that classic Chicago would fit the bill. Well let me tell you there is no better city to visit to soak up that American vibe whether it be blues you are looking for, of if you just want to sample the world famous deep pan Pizzas.

Well they may call it the ‘Windy City’ but when I visited the city the last remnants of Summer sun were still shimmering over Lake Michigan making Chicago that perfect city for an autumn short break in the good old US of A.

Lake Michigan, Chicago

Looking up amongst the skyscrapers that tower endlessly from the busy streets and down to the Chicago river below, it is hard to believe that you are not in that other great city of New York. Whether it be the iconic John Hancock Building or the world famous Willis Tower (formerly the Sears – when it was the tallest building in the world in 1973) you cannot fail to be impressed by the dramatic city skyline. If you have a true head for heights then you must try the Skydeck at the Willis which allows you to stand on a transparent enclosed glass balcony overhanging the city streets at the 103rd floor !

Chicago skyline and the ‘Bean’

Back on street level you should head straight for Cloud Gate (also known as The Bean) in Millennium Park – watch yourself in the mirrored structure that arcs across the waterfront reflecting the city skyline and then walk across to the armadillo like Pavilion that acts as the eclectic outdoor concert venue for the city.

The armadillo like Pavilion

If walking is not your style you should hire a blue DIVVY bike by the hour and spend time cycling along the fabulous Lakeshore Drive for great views overlooking Lake Michigan and stopping en route at Soldier Field where the world famous Chicago Bears play their US version of football. Whilst if Baseball is your game then the World Champion ‘Cubs’ are just down the road at the 100 year old Wrigley Park. Who said America has no history !

For theatre buffs you simply must visit the grand and ornate ‘Chicago Theatre’ landmark located in the heart of ‘the Loop’ district for amazing acoustics and great musicals.

The Chicago Theatre

Our jam packed weekend also squeezed in visits to the famous ‘House of Blues’ for a unique insight to the local music scene, tasted the best ribs downtown at the world famous Carlson Steakhouse and still had time for shopping along the ‘Magnificent Mile’ overlooked by the famous Trump hotel in the heart of this magnificent city.

As we cruised the Chicago river on our last few hours in Barak Obama’s home city we could not help remembering Frank Sinatra’s famous words – ‘Start spreading the news’ and tell everyone that Chicago is the must visit US city in 2018.

Fly direct to Chicago from Manchester with American Airlines from April to October £

Fly daily year round via Heathrow Terminal 5 with British Airways from Leeds Bradford, Newcastle or Manchester or direct from London Heathrow £

To find out whats on, restaurants, hotels and events in Chicago £

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