Chicago, known as the Windy City for the gusts that often come off Lake Michigan, is packed with interesting sights and fun things to do. April and May, summer months as well as September and October are considered the best times to visit Chicago as Chicago winters are bitter cold. In Chicago tourists can enjoy music festivals, museums and zoos all set against the majestic back drop of the city’s skyline.
One of Chicago’s most popular tourist attractions is the 3,300-foot Navy Pier located on Lake Michigan. This pier is home to shops, restaurants, gardens, family attractions, rides, parks and exhibitions. Among the attractions on the pier is the Chicago Shakespeare Theater known for its acclaimed productions of plays by William Shakespeare as well as Crystal Gardens, a one-acre botanical garden housed inside a glass atrium.
If sports pique your interest, there are a variety of venues to include in your itinerary. You can take in a baseball game at Wrigley Park, home of the Chicago Cubs or U.S. Cellular Field, home of the Chicago White Sox. Football fans might want to plan a trip to Soldier Field, named in honor of all U.S. Soldiers who have died in combat. This stadium is home to the Chicago Bears, an NFL team.
For lovers of aquatic animals, Chicago is home to Shedd Aquarium the largest indoor aquarium in the world. Features include aquatic exhibitions, dive shows and a stingray touch tank. One can also interact with animals at the Lincoln Park Zoo. More than 1,000 animals including big cats, monkeys, reptiles, penguins and polar bears call the zoo home. The best thing about the zoo is that admission is free. The Brookfield Zoo, unique because it uses moats and ditches instead of cages to enclose the animals, is also located in Chicago.
Depending on your own special interests, you might want to correlate your visit to Chicago with one of its annual events and festivals that take place throughout the year. In April visitors to the Windy City can take in either the Chicago Improv Festival or the C2E2 Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo. Mayfest, appropriately scheduled near the end of May, is Chicago’s summer kick-off festival. Live bands, food and a variety of vendors are the focal points of Mayfest.
In June Chicago hosts the Puerto Rico Festival and Parade. This nod to all things Latin American features not only a parade but also the lively music and unique food of that culture. Also in June is the Chicago Blues Festival, three days of free blues music is offered on five different stages in the city’s Grant Park. Folk music is the focus in July when the Square Roots Festival is presented at Lincoln Park. More than 50 folk music groups and artists generally participate in this event. The folk music festival is followed up with the Chicago Jazz Festival which is scheduled in September.