Chicago has the wind in its sails! The city, nicknamed "Windy City", embodies an industrious and trendy America. The Loop teaches an architecture lesson with skyscrapers competing for originality. At the foot of the buildings, parks lead to the shores of Lake Michigan. And here, the night takes on the tones of the blues. Head for a city in the wind ...
1st day: the Loop and its skyscrapers
Capital of the Midwest, Chicago's nerve center is loop, 2nd business district in the United States after Manhattan. Its buildings make it world capital of modern architecture. Architects such as Daniel Burnham, Frank Llyod Wright and Louis Sullivan have established a typically American town planning here.
Let's go for a walk with your nose in the air! Chicago emblem, the Willis tower is the tallest building in the Americas. We will walk on the Ledge, its projecting panoramic platform. Entirely in plexiglass, it makes you dizzy.
Other buildings have some nice surprises in store: the Carson, Pirie, Scott & Co, with its decoration of intertwined foliage, the Marquette Building, with chicagoan style windows, the Chase Tower and its incredible curved facade ...
Some buildings go well with statues that magnify their plazas: the Richard J. Daley Center, whose facade matches a statue of Picasso, the Federal Center and Plaza, whose straight lines contrast with the curves of the Calder's red flamingo.
Art Deco invites itself with the Carbide & Carbon Building, decorated with gold leaf, and the hall Board of Trade, the Chicago Stock Exchange, the center of the American economy.
If the Loop is traveled on foot, the "L" (for Elevated), the skytrain, gives another look at its facades, revealing a thousand and one details.
Unforgettable perspective, commensurate with American excess, the banks of the Chicago River line skyscrapers and suspension bridges. The Trump Tower, one of the city's architectural hallmarks, is Chicago's 2nd tallest skyscraper, and one of the tallest in the United States.
Day 2: Grant Park and its museums
At the foot of its forest of buildings, Chicago is also a green city. Lawns of Grant park, Chicago's green lung, make the transition between the Loop and the lake.
Open-air contemporary art museum, Millenium Park, the northern part of Grant Park, is dotted with sculptures. Its star is none other than the Cloud Gate, a giant sculpture in polished stainless steel, in which the skyline is reflected.
Another monument, the Jay Pritzker Pavilion (photo), Frank Gehry's open-air auditorium. A mesh of steel tubes covers the lawn and streaks the skyline. The contrast between the gray steel, the red rows of seats and the green lawn is fascinating!
Also in the park, don't miss Lurie Garden, garden of perennials, and the Crown Fountain, a strange interactive work of art (in summer): two glass brick towers project the faces of inhabitants. From Millenium Park, a bird's eye view of theAqua Tower and its balconies undulating like the waves of the lake, the Smurfit-Stone Building and its sloping roof, and the Two Prudential Plaza, capped with a pyramidal top.
Impossible to leave Grant Park without visiting theArt Institute, one of the most important museums in the United States. Its collections are incredibly rich: European painting (special mention to Impressionism), Islamic art, contemporary art, architecture, design ... Finally taste the tranquility of the Modern Wing, a model of sustainable architecture by Renzo Piano.
For families, the south of Grant Park ends in style with 3 museums: the Field Museum, gigantic museum of Natural History and Ethnology, the Shedd Aquarium and its océonarium which reconstitutes an entire ecosystem, and theAdler planetarium, which focuses on astronomy and the universe.
Day 3: Recreation North of the Chicago River
Throughout a succession of smart shops, Magnificient Mile appears as a paradise for consumer society. The “Champs-Élysées” of Chicago opens onto the banks of the Chicago River with the Wrigley Building, crowned by a replica of the Giralda of Seville, and the Grandstand Tower, pastiche of flamboyant Gothic. It is encrusted with stones ... recovered by the correspondents of the Chicago Tribune from the great monuments of the world!
To heat up your credit card in an American-style shopping center, you have to jump into the Water tower place, whose glass elevators serve 7 floors of upscale boutiques. Enclosing the Magnificient Mile, the dark silhouette of John Hancock Observatory evokes the shape of a derrick. Its observatory offers a panorama of the buildings of the Loop and Lake Michigan.
Want to taste the pleasures of amusement parks? Direction the Navy Pier, a large leisure complex with terraced restaurants, beer garden, ferris wheel, mini golf, IMAX cinema ... The Pier is also a boarding point for cruises on the lake.
After all these activities, we will go to bask on Oak Street Beach, Chicago's most popular beach. White sand, terraces, palm trees and beach volleyball at the foot of the buildings form a truly baroque image!
And to finish in style, treat yourself to a blues night in one of the clubs in town after devouring a Chicago specialty deep dish pizza!
To prepare for your trip, consult our Chicago and United States online guides.
How to get there ?
From Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle, Air France serves Chicago by direct flight, codeshare with Delta Air Lines (approximately 1 flight per day). United also serves Chicago daily, non-stop.
From Paris - Charles-de-Gaulle, American Airlines offers 1 direct flight per day to Chicago.
Where to go shopping?
- Water Tower Place: a flashy mall with all the major brands. Don't miss the Lego store window, which presents the city's tallest buildings in small bricks! Right next door, the American Girl Place, a doll's candy pink paradise, with re-enactments by period. Almost surreal!
Or sleep ?
Find your hotel in Chicago.
Where to eat ?
Don't leave Chicago without devouring a deep dish pizza, THE local specialty: a pizza baked in a mold, generously garnished with tomato sauce, sausages, onions, peppers, and a ton of melted cheese ...
- Original Gino's East : 162 E Superior St. A stone's throw from Magnificient Mile, one of the temples of deep dish pizza. In a lively atmosphere, brick walls, balustrades and wooden benches are covered with graffiti!
- Smith & Wollensky : 318 North State Street. One of the best steakhouses in Chicago, at the foot of Marina City (these 2 towers nicknamed the "corn cobs"), on the banks of the Chicago River. Tasty burgers, seafood and a great wine list.
Where to listen to blues and jazz?
The clubs of Chicago, capital of the blues, promise unforgettable bulls. We will go to Kingston mines (one of the most famous blues clubs in town), au Lilly's (small local groups playing in an old-fashioned atmosphere), House of Blues (incredible decor inspired by Louisiana and the western) ...
Hot Tix sells unsold tickets for concerts up to 50% of the price on the day of the performance.
Also read our report Chicago, the beautiful American.