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Congress Plaza Hotel
Congress Plaza Hotel

520 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago 60605

3.0 out of 5.0
3.4 out of 5 (11,366 reviews)

Built in 1893, this downtown Chicago hotel offers a convenient location across from Grant Park and close to Lake Michigan.

£99
Hyatt Regency Chicago
Hyatt Regency Chicago

151 East Wacker Dr, Chicago 60601

4.0 out of 5.0
4.3 out of 5 (7,485 reviews)

This Magnificent Mile hotel is located among Chicago's world-class shopping, restaurants and attractions. The Navy Pier …

£133
Four Points by Sheraton Chicago O'Hare Airport
Four Points by Sheraton Chicago O'Hare Airport

10249 Irving Park Road, Schiller Park 60176

3.0 out of 5.0
3.6 out of 5 (2,614 reviews)

This smoke-free hotel is 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers) from O'Hare International Airport, the Donald E. Stephens Convention …

£93
Sheraton Grand Chicago
Sheraton Grand Chicago

301 E North Water St, Chicago 60611

4.0 out of 5.0
4.2 out of 5 (4,058 reviews)

This 34-story Chicago hotel is three blocks from Michigan Avenue shopping, the Navy Pier, and Lake Michigan; the Loop …

£143
Hilton Chicago- Michigan Ave Cultural Mile
Hilton Chicago- Michigan Ave Cultural Mile

720 S Michigan Ave, Chicago 60605

4.0 out of 5.0
4.2 out of 5 (4,787 reviews)

Overlooking Grant Park in downtown Chicago, this landmark Hilton hotel is within walking distance of Buddy Guy's Legends …

£162
Central Loop Hotel
Central Loop Hotel

111 West Adams Street, Chicago 60603

4.0 out of 5.0
4.2 out of 5 (3,121 reviews)

Situated in the heart of "the Loop," the contemporary Central Loop Hotel is steps from all of Chicago’s major business and …

£92
MileNorth Hotel
MileNorth Hotel

166 E Superior Street, Chicago 60611

4.0 out of 5.0
4.4 out of 5 (4,607 reviews)

Situated in Chicago, this boutique hotel is steps from Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Chicago Water Tower. John Hancock …

£102
Club Quarters Hotel, Central Loop
Club Quarters Hotel, Central Loop

111 West Adams Street, Chicago 60603

4.0 out of 5.0
4.3 out of 5 (6,188 reviews)

Club Quarters is a club-like hotel in the center of the Loop, Chicago’s central business district. A short walk to Symphony …

£92
The Palmer House Hilton
The Palmer House Hilton

17 E Monroe St, Chicago 60603

4.0 out of 5.0
4.3 out of 5 (8,245 reviews)

This 1925 Beaux Arts-style Chicago hotel is steps from Millennium Park, 2 blocks from Macy's and the Art Institute, and 1 …

£109
The Westin Chicago Northwest
The Westin Chicago Northwest

400 Park Blvd, Itasca 60143

4.0 out of 5.0
4.3 out of 5 (1,431 reviews)

Westin Chicago Northwest is 5 miles from Woodfield Mall shopping and the Schaumburg business district, 12 miles from O'Hare …

£83

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Pocket Guide: Chicago

With its famous skyline of tall buildings, and its breathtaking natural surroundings, the Midwestern metropolis of Chicago is a truly dramatic location. Home to the highest skyscraper in the Western hemisphere, the Sears Tower, yet close to Lake Michigan, a body of water bigger than some European countries, the Windy City is a place where urbanisation meets nature.

"The Windy City"

The channelling of strong gusts between Chicago's skyscrapers may make it seem like it's windier here than anywhere else in the US, but there's another reason why Chicago is nicknamed the Windy City. Chicagoans are crazy about sport, from the Chicago Bears (football) to the Blackhawks (hockey) and the Bulls (basketball). Nearby Cincinnati is equally competitive and the term Windy City was probably first used by Cincinnati newspapers covering the rivalry between the two cities.

Reaching for the sky

Chicago is known for its architecture, not at all surprising when you consider that 10 of the 50 tallest buildings in the world are located here. The Illinois capital has been at the forefront of progressive architecture and tall buildings since the late 19th century when large parts of the city were rebuilt after the Great Fire of 1871. While two of the most prominent buildings, the Sears Tower and the Aon Centre, date back to the 1970s, the boom continues. Donald Trump's luxury apartment complex was completed recently and the 2000-foot Chicago Spire is scheduled to be completed in 2012.

It's not sheer height alone that makes the city's architectural face so interesting; some of America's greatest architects have left their mark on Chicago, including Solon S. Beman, Walter Burley Griffin, and perhaps the greatest of all, Frank Lloyd Wright. A Chicago Card gives you admission to the city's best-known skyscrapers and the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Society, and includes architectural walking tours.

Chicago and the arts

One of the best-known American paintings, Edward Hopper's Nighthawks, is exhibited in the Art Institute of Chicago. Next to Hopper, the museum houses an impressive collection of impressionist, post-impressionist, and American paintings. Also worth a visit is the Museum of Contemporary Art, which focuses on visual art from 1945 to the present day with emphasis on surrealism, minimalism, conceptual photography, and works by Chicago-based artists.

Chicago is serious about culture and you'll find museums dedicated to everything from Swedish-American life to Science and Industry. A definite must-see for young and old is the Field Museum - home to "Sue", the world's largest and most famous Tyrannosaurus Rex. To get a comprehensive overview of what the city has to offer, opt for a half-day sightseeing tour, which includes museum admission as well as a trip up Hancock Tower to see the city from above. However much time you spend exploring during the day, make sure you keep some time aside for a night out in Chicago. It's not called the home of the blues for nothing, and venues like the Chicago Blues Bar on North Halsted pay tribute to that seven nights a week.