Magnificent Mile

The Magnifcent Mile, situated along Michigan Avenue, is known as one of the best shopping districts in America.

From shopping centres to designer stores including Gucci, every budget is catered for along the stretch.

At the bottom of the street is the Neo-Gothic building the Water Tower, which is one of the only buildings in Chicago that survived the Fire of 1871. 

The Hancock Tower and Sears Tower

Get the best views of the city from the tops of these two skyscrapers in the centre of Chicago.

The imposing Sears Tower dominates the horizon. The tallest building in the world when it was built in 1973, it stretches up 440 metres and 110 floors.

Still the tallest building in the US, it’s slightly eerie being so high above the ground at the Skydeck Observatory.

Take advantage of free entry to the Hancock Tower by visiting the Signature Room Lounge and Bar on the 95th floor of the John Hancock Center, where views across Lake Michigan and the twinkling city skyline at night await you — along with a well-made signature Sidecar cocktail.

Millennium Park

In 1998, Chicago mayor Richard Daley decided to turn an area in the centre of the city, which at the time was covered with parking lots and disused railroad tracks, into a public space for Chicago residents.

An ambitious project, it drew the interest of world-renowned architects, including Frank Gehry. Famous for designing the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, Gehry was commissioned to design a pavilion for the park.

Architects weren’t the only ones clamouring to be involved in the Millennium Park project. More than half the funding for the park came from private contributors. Lucky really, considering it ended up costing $500 million instead of the initial estimation of $150 million.

Next to the pavilion, tourists take countless photos of themselves and the reflected skyline in the stainless steel of the Cloud Gate — nicknamed the Giant Bean by locals because of its similarity to the iconic Tiffany & Co bean.

The child pleaser, though, is the Crown Fountain, designed by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa.

Images of 1000 local Chicago residents are in turn projected onto two 50-foot glass block towers, and in summer there’s an occasional squirt of water from their mouths, which gives a new twist to running under the sprinkler in your backyard.