Chicago, the third largest city in the United States, with a population of more than 2.8 million, is the centerpiece of a metropolitan area of more than 9 million people. Framing 29 miles of Lake Michigan, the Windy City is a top tourist destination with a wealth of culture, food, architecture, sports, shopping and outdoor recreation to experience. A thriving business economy and mix of cosmopolitan and suburban living are all within a 60-minute drive of downtown. The Chicagoland area stretches west from Lake Michigan toward the Fox River, north to the Wisconsin border and south to the Indiana border and Interstate 80 corridor.
There is much to see and do in Chicago. Tours by boat along the Chicago River and Lake Michigan, and double-decker bus and trolley stops at major attractions allow a quick overview of the city's architectural highlights and ethnic neighborhoods. The city's planetarium and art, history, natural sciences and architectural museums are some of the top rated in the nation. Performance art in the form of concerts, orchestra, lyric opera, Broadway shows, comedy, musicals, plays and multi-media presentations are plentiful. The city's professional sports teams, the Chicago Bulls, Cubs, White Soxs, Bears, Blackhawks, Fire and Wolves are top draws to United Center, Wrigley Field, U.S. Cellular Field, Soldier Field and Allstate Arena.
Options for dining and nightlife in Chicago are limitless. There are restaurants for every taste and budget, many offering the city's specialties: steak and deep-dish pizza. There are comedy clubs, dinner theaters, and nightclubs and bars, which offer jazz, blues and other tunes. Chicago is a shopper's paradise. From art galleries to antique shops to outlet shopping, the city offers the midwest's best shopping experience. Many flagships stores and one-of-a-kind specialty shops can be found in the city.
Lake Michigan, the second largest of the Great Lakes, anchors downtown Chicago. Trails, parks, golf courses and beaches line the waterfront. Harbors house sailboats and yachts and marinas provide fishing charters. The Chicagoland suburbs provide additional attractions in more residential settings. Highlights include dining and outdoor recreation in the northern lake country; outlet shopping and historic homes to the west; and gaming, nature, and heritage to the south.
Chicago is located 290 miles northeast of St. Louis, Missouri, and 91 miles south of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It is accessible by Interstate Highways 55, 57, 88, 90 and 94. There are many lodging options both in downtown Chicago, near Midway and O'Hare airports and in the suburbs.