It is one of the most legendary, but also the most vibrant, cities in the United States. Capital of Illinois and the vast Midwest, Chicago ranks third among the nation's metropolises, after New York and Los Angeles. Crossed by the Chicago and Calumet rivers, it enjoys an exceptional location on the shores of Lake Michigan, whose shores offer many outdoor activities. Rich in green spaces, Chicago is famous for its exceptional architecture, signed by the biggest contemporary names, but also for its gastronomy and its music scene. Chicago has not finished surprising you ...
The capital of the blues obviously has a sense of rhythm. Upon disembarking in Chicago, the visitor is immediately drawn to the tempo of this modern, dynamic and creative city. Qualities that do not date from yesterday ...
In fact, Chicago has continued to transform since its creation in 1770. It even reinvented itself after the Great Fire which destroyed it in 1871 by calling on the most modernist planners and architects, especially on occasion. of the Universal Exhibition of 1893.
This profusion of collective inventiveness is recognized under the name ofChicago School, a movement which systematized in a rational way the use of steel reinforcements and glass facades for its constructions of buildings of all kinds: homes, offices, department stores, factories, stations… This innovation allowed the realization of some - some of first skyscrapers to the world, high symbols of American architecture.
A great name remains attached to this part of Chicago's history, that of Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959), founder of the very innovative Prairie School movement. You can visit his Chicago-based home-studio in Oak Park, where there are several amazing single-family homes.
To walk around Chicago is to witness a architectural styles festival which have appeared over the decades: neo-Gothic (University of Chicago, Tribune Tower, Chicago Temple Building, etc.), neo-Renaissance (Our Lady of Sorrows Basilica, St. Hedwig's in Chicago, etc.), Art Deco (Chicago Board of Trade Building, Merchandise Mart, Carbide & Carbon Building…)… Buildings inspired by exotic architectures add an unusual touch to this ensemble, such as those that can be seen in Chinatown or the Ukranian Village, for example.
To take stock of the phenomenon, a good solution is to afford a cruise Chicago Riverwalk which, along the Chicago River, crosses the city from north to southwest. Several companies offer them to you.
Do not miss a walk in the loop, an important business district in which part of the towers overlook Lake Michigan, thus forming one of the most renowned skylines in the world.
It is in this sector that the Millennium Park, inaugurated in 2004. It consists of gardens, works of art and various remarkable buildings. Notable in particular are the Jay Pritzker Pavilion and the BP footbridge designed by Frank Gehry, the Crown Fountain, an interactive fountain by Jaume Plensa, the Cloud Gate by Anish Kapoor, an astonishing monumental steel sculpture nicknamed "The Bean" (the bean) because of its shape ...
A dynamic culinary scene
Notice to gourmets! Chicago is one of the gastronomic capitals of North America with thousands of restaurants and food trucks, where you can taste cuisines from all over the world. In this resolutely multicultural city, there is literally something for everyone.
In the western districts, for example, you will find small and large Puerto Rican, Greek or Mexican culinary embassies. Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Korean, French, South American or even southern United States cuisines obviously have a place in Chicago, as do vegetarian recipes, among others in specialized establishments.
Among the local specialties, you should definitely try the Chicago-style pizza (or Deep-dish pizza), thick and rich in cheese, or the Italian Beef Sandwich formed from a piece of baguette bread topped with thin slices of Roast beef.
Also famous are the Chicago-style hot dog or the Maxwell Street Polish, the former featuring a beef sausage in a bun topped with poppy seeds, the latter a kiełbasa sausage in a bun.
In addition to maintaining its street food traditions, Chicago is distinguished by the presence on its territory of about twentystarred addresses in which the culinary art is raised very high, like the city's skyscrapers!
And that's not all: every year there are festivals devoted to gastronomy like Taste of Chicago, which takes place outdoors in July - it's the largest of its kind worldwide. In April and May, you also have James Beard Eats Week, during which more than 130 restaurants offer menus or dishes inspired by the recipes of James Beard, a renowned chef in the United States.
A lively nightlife
Chicago is one of the cradles of all music that we like: blues, jazz, rhythm'n'blues, soul or even house and hip-hop. Located north of the Mississippi Highway taken by escaped slaves from the south, the city has been and remains a major African-American cultural center.
Attending a live concert remains one of the musts of a trip to Chicago. This bustling nightlife metropolis counts more than 220 concert halls and clubs.
Among the best addresses, the Green Mill Cocktail Lounge is a jazz centenary where all the greatest performed - note that we still see the favorite table of the gangster Al Capone and his men during Prohibition, who did not play the trumpet but the trigger!
Kingston Mines, near Lincoln Park, is a benchmark club for blues and this since 1968.
Clubbers around the world don't always know it, but it was in Chicago that the house music. Opened in 1982, the Smart Bar remains a very popular address for electronic music lovers.
Music is also king at several important events during the year in Chicago, where many festivals.
Grant Park therefore hosts outdoor concerts at the Chicago Blues Festival (June), the electro Spring Awakening Music Festival (June), the Lollapalooza current music festival (August) and the Chicago Jazz Festival (September).
Contrary to what its title indicates, the Grant Park Music Festival takes place in Millennium Park where its classical music concerts are given from June to August. Another manifestation of rock culture, the Pitchfork Music Festival is held at Union Park in July, while Reggae Fest Chicago hosts Addams Medill Park in August. For its part, the World Music Festival Chicago holds concerts throughout the city in September.
Finally, do not forget that the abundance of skyscrapers allows Chicago to offer night owls many roof top bars. The night-time views are fabulous, especially from the buildings on the skyline, from which you can admire both the city and Lake Michigan.
On and around Lake Michigan
Lake Michigan is one of Chicago's major attractions. To enjoy it, a walk on the Chicago Lakefront Trail is particularly recommended. It is a 28-kilometer paved path that can be taken on foot, by bike or on rollerblades, between the waters of the lake and the skyscrapers of the skyline, as well as parks, quiet harbors, natural sanctuaries or beaches.
Another way to enjoy the beautiful spectacle of the city and the lake is to gain height thanks to the Centennial Wheel, Ferris wheel that rises to 60 meters.
To enjoy exceptional panoramas, you can also climb to the 94th floor of the John Hancock Center tower where the glass cabins of 360 Chicago, at an altitude of 300 meters.
The 103rd floor of the Willis tower, a famous 442-meter skyscraper, features the Skydeck observation deck and the suspended glass balconies of The Ledge.
- sand beaches that line the lake are plentiful in and around Chicago. Among those that are very popular are Montrose Beach, the largest, where you have bars, restaurants, volleyball courts ... 63rd Street Beach is part of Jackson Park, the oldest green space in the city, created in 1871 It is a place of relaxation also cherished by Chicagoans.
They also like to go for a walk or relax with their family on the Northerly Island peninsula. This most relaxing area is home to 12th Street Beach, which is located near a nature reserve frequented by hundreds of migratory birds.
On the waters of the lake you can practice various water sports like paddle boarding, kayaking, sailing, jet skiing, or renting a motor boat.
One last tip for a memorable evening: treat yourself to a cruise aboard one of these ships where you can dine while admiring the illuminated city ... A magical show where you can see all the beauty of the Chicago skyline , which appears to arise from the waters of Lake Michigan.
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THEChicago O'Hare International Airport is a 20-minute drive from the city center and is served by public transport.
From Paris-CDG : three direct daily flights are operated by Air France, American Airlines and United Airlines. Other flights are possible with a connection. They are operated by Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia, Finnair, Icelandair, WOW Air and KLM, via Dublin, London Heathrow, Madrid, Amsterdam or Keflavik.
From Lyon, Marseille, Nice, Toulouse and Bordeaux, you have connecting flights via Madrid, London Heathrow, Amsterdam or Paris CDG.