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United States

Welcome to Chicago

City description  

If you had to sum up Chicago in just one word, it would be “Architecture”. As the third largest city in the United States, it’s also the birthplace of the skyscraper! Partly destroyed by the Great Fire in 1871, Chicago was inspired to entrust the reconstruction of its centre to its Institute for Architecture and Urbanism. By equipping the new buildings with steel frames and glass façades, this fairly avant-gardist school built up such a reputation for itself that people often now talk about the Chicago School to describe what has become an international movement.

Thanks to its Willis Tower, previously known as the Sears Tower, Chicago held the record for the tallest tower in the world for nearly 25 years. A striking architectural but also cultural, musical and sporting benchmark, it playfully maintains an atmosphere that combines upper class sophistication with the underground scene, a balance of unabashed bourgeoisie and creative non-conformity. Since the 2000s, thanks to a post-crisis process of gentrification, Chicago has managed to become the 4th richest city on the planet and demonstrates its renaissance through its countless renovated districts.

So the remarkable Millennium Park, once a railway yard, is just one of the many urban regeneration projects with different modules dedicated to architecture and modern art. After the decline of industrialisation and the abandonment of wastelands in the urban centre, some spots or even whole districts, among the 228 classed as community sectors across the city, have been given a new purpose: gardens, cultural centres and even entertainment complexes, like the Navy Pier, the former goods pier now boasting a big wheel, theatres, cinemas, shops and restaurants.
Housed in the west of Grant Park, the city’s largest park, the Millennium Park rubs shoulders with major cultural institutions such as the Art Institute of Chicago, the John G. Shedd Aquarium and the Field Museum of Natural History, as well as some of its most popular attractions: the famous Taste of Chicago, the largest food festival in the world, in July, the Grant Park Music Festival (hosting outdoor classical music concerts since 1931) and the Chicago Jazz Festival. Speaking of which, there’s a thriving jazz scene here, with the Chicago Blues, which has become popular on the other side of the pond, and the Chicago Blues Festival, in June, one of the city’s flagship events.
To demonstrate its commitment to the arts, Chicago boasts around 70 museums and cultural centres, including the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), housing 6,000 exhibits, the Chicago History Museum, which tells the story of the city’s past (including its French history), and the Chicago Cultural Center, with its spectacular glass domes.
With sport running through its veins, the city is particularly fond of basketball, with its Chicago Bulls who play in the NBA, and baseball, home to the legendary Wrigley Field stadium. There’s also the Chicago Marathon, which is supposed to be one of the fastest in the world. Something that you might not know about the capital of Illinois, a business hub on the banks of Lake Michigan, is that it is home to 33 beaches, including the beautiful Oak Street and North Avenue with their paradoxically “natural” feel. Designed around wide avenues bordered by green spaces and 570 municipal parks, Chicago is particularly committed to combating climate change. Its landscaped pedestrian walkway due to be completed at the end of 2016, the Chicago Riverwalk, is an extension of this commitment. Richard M. Daley, who was mayor of the city for 22 years, always said that he would make the city the most environmentally-friendly place in the United States. Sweet revenge for somewhere that’s always been known as “the second city”.

Chicago

Enjoy our selection of finest attractions

  • All
  • Highlight
  • Art & design
  • Shopping

Where to Eat

  • Café
  • Restaurants

RL

Perfect for a business lunch or a post-shopping feast, RL restaurant is the glamorous restaurant by celebrated fashion design, Ralph Lauren, located next to his flagship store in Chicago’s Magnificent Mile. Settle into the dark leather lounges and enjoy a hearty menu of classic American favourites.

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Eataly Chicago

Transported from the shores of Italy, Eataly Chicago is a foodie haven dedicated to Italian gastronomy. Savour the finest Italian cured meats, cheeses, wine, pastries and other fine foods at this expansive food emporium.

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The Violet Hour

Expect world-class cocktails and sophisticated, stylish interiors at this legendary Chicago cocktail bar. Give a hint to the expert mixologists which type of flavours and liquors you like, then leave it up to them to do the rest.

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Momotaro

With a glamorous setting in Chicago’s West Loop neighbourhood, Momotaro restaurant has been turning heads since opening with its sophisticated modern interiors and its creative Japanese menu. Don’t miss the excellent fresh sushi and the robata grilled meats.

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The Signature Lounge

Sip a cocktail or a glass of wine while soaking in the magnificent Chicago aerial views at The Signature Lounge, which is nestled on the 95th floor of the John Hancock Center, one of the city’s soaring skyscrapers.

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Girl & The Goat

Stephanie Izard, winner of America’s Top Chef TV competition, is the talented chef behind this popular foodie dining spot in Chicago. Girl & The Goat’s sharing-plate menu showcases premium seasonal vegetables, meat and seafood prepared in a state-of-the-art wood burning oven.

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Alinea, Next & The Aviary

Celebrated as one of the best restaurants in the world, the 3 Michelin-starred Alinea restaurant by chef Grant Achatz delivers an all-sensory culinary odyssey. Make sure to also visit his smash-hit Chicago eatery Next, and his excellent cocktail bar, The Aviary, which is known for its cutting-edge concoctions.

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Intelligentsia Coffee

While Intelligentsia Coffee may boast outposts in Los Angeles and New York, it all started here in Chicago. With six local outposts, Intelligentsia Coffee’s sleekly contemporary Old Town cafe offers communal tables and a minimalist vibe, while its trendy Millennium Park location boasts post-industrial spaces. Whichever cafe you visit, superior coffee is guaranteed.<br>

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Alliance Patisserie

Alliance Patisserie is a celebrated Chicago hotspot known for its its mouthwatering range of French pastries and exclusive coffee blend created by local experts, Bow Truss Coffee Roasters. Discover their selection of jewel-like desserts and flaky croissants which are guaranteed to tempt those with a sweet tooth. 

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Bow Truss Coffee Roasters

One of the leaders of the Chicago coffee scene, Bow Truss Coffee Roasters offers ten popular cafés located throughout the city. Sip an espresso made with beans roasted at the nearby roastery in a fun, laid-back setting; visit the lofty industrial spaces of their Lakeview outpost or hang out with the locals at their cafe in Logan Square.  

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Practical information

  • where to stay
  • when to go
  • Travel transportation
  • event calendar

Chicago • United States

Sofitel Chicago Magnificent Mile

Sofitel Chicago Magnificent Mile provides 4-star downtown Chicago hotel accommod...

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When to go

Chicago is great to visit all year around, however the best time to visit the Windy City is from April to October, when the temperatures are warmer with a minimum of 10° Celsius. From December to February, expect minus centigrade temperatures, with an average of -10°C in January. The months with the heaviest rainfall tends to be from May to August.

Chicago annual calendar

  • Jan

    Chicago Winter Dance, mid-January

  • Fev

    Chicago Restaurant Week, early February

  • Mar

    Chicago Flower and Garden Show, mid-March

  • Apr

    Chicago International Music and Movies Festival, mid-April

  • May

    Chicago Symphony Orchestra Spring Festival, all May

  • Jun

    Chicago Blues Festival, mid-June

  • Jul

    Taste of Chicago, mid-July

  • Aug

    Chicago Air and Water Show, mid-August

  • Sep

    Chicago Jazz Festival, early September

  • Oct

    Chicago Architecture Biennial, early October to early January

  • Nov

    SOFA Art + Design Fair, early November

  • Dec

    Christkindlmarket all December

Travel transportation

Transportation

Transportation is very easy to organise in Chicago and includes many options: local cabs, private driver, rental car, subway trains, buses and even the Lake Express ferry.
The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) operates the public transportation system in Chicago, serving the City of Chicago and 40 neighboring communities, mainly by bus (140 routes and 12,000 bus stops throughout the region) and rail (8 routes and 146 stations). The Red and Blue train lines operate 24 hours a day.
Tickets can be purchased from automated vending machines or at 1,000 retail locations around Chicago (a single ticket price is $2 for the bus and $2.25 for the train), or with coins directly at the farebox when boarding.
Keep in mind that when driving in Chicago, you must drive on the right side of the road.

Taxis

There are approximately 7.000 licensed taxis that operate in Chicago at different times of the day and night. You can hail them in the street, find them at a taxi rank or book them through one of Chicago's taxi firms. The base fare is $3.25 and each additional mile is $1.80. Some additional charges may apply. Tip of 15% is not included.

getting to & from the airport

There are two major airports in Chicago:
- O'Hare International airport located 30 km from downtown Chicago. The journey takes approximately 30 minutes according to the traffic and will cost around $50 + charge and tips.
- Midway International airport located 18 km from downtown Chicago. The journey takes approximately 25 minutes according to the traffic and will cost $40 + charge and tips.
Metered taxis are available and private transfers can be arranged at the airport.
A cheaper option is to take the train from O'Hare International airport into the city center. It takes 45 minutes and an adult fare costs around $5. Count only $2,25 and 25 minutes from Midway International airport to Chicago downtown.
Buses and shuttle services are also available from both airports to Chicago downtown.

Getting around

Other destinations

* Prices start from. Offer subject to the hotel's conditions and availability. See the sales conditions for the rate. Depending on the country, these prices may not include taxes, may include VAT only or may include all taxes (VAT and city tax). When prices do not include all taxes, the relevant taxes (VAT and/or city tax) will be stated in the following stages of the reservation process. The price is only guaranteed at the time of reservation.

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