Downtown Chicago incorporates the famous Chicago Loop. The area is a vibrant neighbourhood with cultural centres, shops, restaurants, parks and lively nightlife. Visitors to the city can cruise the waterways, journey to the top of Willis Tower or visit one of the clubs or theatres of Downtown Chicago.
Adventurous spirits should begin their exploration at Skydeck Chicago on the 103rd floor of Willis Tower. There’s a glass balcony known as “The Ledge” where visitors can gain breathtaking views of the city beneath them. Those preferring to keep their feet firmly on the ground can venture to Art Institute Chicago. With three floors of sculptures, artwork and relics to peruse it’s the ideal place to spend a day. Unmissable attractions of Downtown Chicago include the Adler Planetarium, Grant Park, Chicago Cultural Centre and The Field Museum. For extensive views of the city skyline, head for Millennium Park. The vast riverside park features Frank Gehry’s Pritzker Pavilion and Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate also known as “The Bean”. Shoppers will relish the variety of department stores in Downtown Chicago, and there are plenty of chic cafes in which to enjoy a well-earned break. After dark, the neighbourhood comes to life. Stylish restaurants sit side by side with fast food outlets as theatre signs illuminate, tempting visitors to see the latest show-stopping performances.
Navigating Downtown Chicago is easy on foot as block numbers are consistent throughout the city. A good way to reach the area is via the popular Metra electric line. Disembark at Millennium Station for the parks and lakeside. Local buses run along most central thoroughfares, and there are several subway stations. Keen cyclists will enjoy a chance to travel the city on two wheels. The city has a popular bike hire scheme and several picturesque trails circle Lake Michigan. Alternatively, opt for a laid-back transport option and explore the city via water taxi. Taxi and Uber services are available.
Chicago became a city in 1837, and the world’s first skyscraper graced the skyline in 1885. In addition to the city’s impressive feats of engineering, downtown Chicago has a unique musical heritage. The term “Jazz” was coined here in 1914, and the musical movement spawned many of the greats. Today, the city has an abundance of jazz clubs, over 5,000 restaurants, 250 theatres, more than 55 museums and 3,237 hectares of parks and recreational space.