Set on the shores of the vast Lake Michigan, the 'Windy City' of
Chicago is the capital of the state of Illinois. The area was first
settled by Europeans in the early 19th century, though by 1830 it
still had a population of just fifty. However, it was able to
develop as a center for trade with the more established East Coast
cities; when the railroad reached it in 1848, Chicago soon became
the largest railroad hub in the world. By 1900, the city was home to
more than two million people, and it is now the third most
populous city in the USA.
Today, Chicago boasts a magnificent skyline along with many
highly-rated museums, restaurants and cafés. Naturally for such a
large city, there are a range of diverse activities to be enjoyed
here. The 110-storey Willis Tower was the world's tallest building
on its completion in 1974, and has a great observation deck for
views over, on a clear day, four states - Illinois, Michigan,
Wisconsin and Indiana.
The nearby Hancock Center also offers fantastic views of
Chicago, with some excellent refreshment facilities at the top.
Millennium Park, with its interesting sculptures, is also worth a
visit. Boat trips (with guided commentary) are available, with
themed trips including an "Architecture of Chicago" tour. The
'Magnificent Mile' of North Michigan Avenue offers excellent
shopping opportunities, and nobody should leave Chicago without
taking a ride on the "Loop" - Chicago's famous and iconic overhead