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The population of this area of Illinois is roughly 2,700,000.
Springfield, the state capital, is about 180 miles southwest of Chicago, while Whiting is 15 miles to the southeast.
This destination is in a category all on its own. No trip here would be complete if you miss the University of Chicago and the Art Institute of Chicago. Six Flags Great America and Willis Tower are also famous throughout the world.
Leave the grown-up world behind and throw yourself into a realm of imagination at the Chicago Children's Museum and the Lake County Fairgrounds. Want more? The Kane County Fairgrounds and Wagner Farm will ensure that the good times keep rolling.
See the ocean's most colourful aquatic creatures in the carefully crafted marine environments of John G. Shedd Aquarium.
If you enjoy hanging out with local and exotic wildlife, you'll be in heaven at the Brookfield Zoo or the Lincoln Park Zoo. When you add in a zookeeper visit at the Farm-in-the-Zoo, you're sure to have a blast.
Get set for some high-speed action at the Richard Petty Driving Experience, the area's go-to racetrack for motorsports fanatics.
Delight in a great day out with your buddies at the Lynfred Winery, the Fox Valley Winery or the Valentino Vineyards. Take a stroll through the vine rows, sample the produce and maybe even buy a bottle for the road.
Even though you should gamble responsibly, everyone still has a blast at the Hollywood Casino and the Rivers Casino. If you still have an itch that needs scratching, continue on to the Harrah's Casino or the Grand Victoria Casino.
Local and exotic vines and creepers, sheltering trees and long, meandering footpaths await you at the Chicago Botanic Garden and Garfield Park Conservatory. Budding horticulturalists should also check out Lincoln Park Conservatory and the Emily Oaks Nature Centre.
When it's time for a break, pack some lunch and make your way over to one of the area's scenic urban parks, such as Millennium Park or Lincoln Park. Grant Park and Morton Arboretum are two more excellent places to while away a lazy day with a good book.
If you are wanting some more information about the Chicago area, ask the staff some questions at Oak Park Visitors Centre.
Skim a few stones, try to spot some birds and treat yourself to a picnic at McCullom Lake.
Are you craving some salty ocean air? There's enough coast here to keep you occupied for a day or two. Pack some delicious snacks and make your way down to North Avenue Beach or Illinois Beach State Park. You could also splash around at Montrose Beach and Ohio Street Beach.
Need to get away from the stresses of modern life? Make your way over to Montrose Harbour and Waukegan Harbour. Deer Grove Forest Preserve and Northerly Island Park are also recommended by nature-loving travellers.
The area's exhibition spaces are a gold mine of educational facts and stories. Enjoy the cool and quiet interior as you check out the displays at the Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum and the Driehaus Museum. Another two to consider are Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows and McDonald's Museum.
The whole family will admire the numerous artifacts and models on display at the region's science museums. Start your day of discovery at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry or the International Museum of Surgical Science. Cernan Earth and Space Centre and the Museum of Science & Industry are two more great options worth checking out if you have extra time.
Some visitors think of natural museums as the domain of children, but the curious collections at the Field Museum of Natural History and the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum prove that there's a good deal to keep the adults busy as well. The Oriental Institute Museum and the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian are also well worth checking out.
Chicago is a hive of artistic energy, with galleries galore. Start your explorations of this creative enclave with a visit to the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Smart Museum of Art. If you can fit them in, the National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum and the Fine Arts Building are also well worth your time.
Take yourself back through time and discover stories of the past at the Chicago History Museum or the Glessner House Museum. Do you like the sound of those? Continue your journey at the Dupage County Historical Museum and the Joliet Area Historical Museum.
Step back through the ages with a trip to the University of Illinois Chicago or the Aurora University, just two of the preserved historic sites here. More stories from the days of yore are waiting for you at the Chicago Cultural Centre and the Merchandise Mart.
Michigan Avenue Bridge is an impressive structure that has been a vital crossing point for residents from both sides of the water.
Experience the region's spiritual side and take in the peaceful atmosphere at Holy Name Cathedral and Unity Temple. You may also like to have a walk around the Anshe Emet Synagogue or Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church.
After checking out all of the major attractions in Chicago, make time to see a couple of its lesser-known sights. The Newberry Library and the Cloud Gate are two good options. If you have the time, also visit the Grohe America and the Visual Arts Centre.
If you're wondering where to stay, have a look at our Chicago hotel options. There are no less than 165 places to choose from in this highly popular destination.
Kick-start your quest for a dreamy Chicago hotel by browsing the amenities and rates at the Waldorf Astoria Chicago, located at 11 E. Walton Street, and The Peninsula Chicago, at 108 East Superior Street. More budget-friendly places worth checking out are the Old Chicago Inn, at 3222 N Sheffield Ave, and the Urban Holiday Lofts, at 2014 W Wabansia.
Located in The Loop, this hotel is steps away from Columbia College Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Photography and Auditorium Building and Theatre. Fine Arts Building and Buckingham Fountain are also within 10 minutes.
This family-friendly Chicago hotel is located in the entertainment district, within a 5-minute walk of Downtown Chicago and Chicago Water Tower. John Hancock Center and Tribune Tower are also within 10 minutes.
Located in The Loop, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Downtown Chicago and Chicago Theatre. Wrigley Building and Tribune Tower are also within 10 minutes.
Located in The Loop, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Downtown Chicago, Willis Tower and Skydeck Ledge. Art Institute of Chicago and Ford Center for the Performing Arts Oriental Theatre are also within 10 minutes.
Located in The Loop, this eco-friendly hotel is steps away from Downtown Chicago, Chicago Riverwalk and Michigan Avenue Bridge. Chicago Theatre and Millennium Park are also within 15 minutes.
Located in The Loop, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Columbia College Chicago and Grant Park. Field Museum of Natural History and John G. Shedd Aquarium are also within 15 minutes.
Situated near the airport, this hotel is 0.4 mi (0.6 km) from Allstate Arena, and within 3 mi (5 km) of Rivers Casino and Donald E. Stephens Convention Center. Rosemont Theatre and MB Financial Park at Rosemont are also within 3 mi (5 km).
Located in The Loop, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Downtown Chicago, Grant Park and Buckingham Fountain. Art Institute of Chicago and Millennium Park are also within 15 minutes.