Set on the shores of Lake Michigan, Chicago is a big and bustling city with plenty to do and see. The Magnificent Mile is a must during any holiday in Chicago and is lined by skyscrapers, shops, trendy apartments and jazz bars. It's also home to the fascinating National History Museum, Millennium Park and the old Water Tower. For the best beaches head to the north where you'll find Rogers Park or if you're after buzzing nightlife Lakeview is a must. The best views of the city can be had by taking the lift to the Sears Tower Skydeck.
Airlines including British Airways, American Airlines and Virgin Atlantic offer direct flights to Chicago from both London Heathrow and Manchester arriving at O'Hare International Airport. The journey time is around nine hours. You can also fly indirectly from a wider selection of airports in UK including Edinburgh, Birmingham and Cardiff with airlines such as Delta, Lufthansa and Aer Lingus. Although indirect flights take longer they are cheaper than taking a direct flight to Chicago.
O'Hare International Airport is located 29 kilometres northwest of the city centre and there are plenty of ways for getting to your Chicago hotel from the airport. The cheapest option is by bus which will take you to the city in around an hour. The Subway runs to and from the city centre from the airport and operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you're arriving at Terminal 5, you'll need to get the free shuttle service to the station. If you plan on using the Subway, the cheapest option is to pick up a CTA travel card from the self-service kiosks at the airport. Taxis are also readily available at the airport but are a lot more expensive compared to using public transport.
Although there is plenty of accommodation in the city, finding cheap hotels in Chicago, especially in the downtown area, can be difficult. If you are on a budget look away from the city centre and aim for the suburbs that have good public transport links to the centre such as Lincoln Park and Roger Park. Shop around online for the best deals and be sure to book in advance to avoid missing out on cheaper accommodation.
Chicago is a big city so the best way to get around during your holiday in Chicago is by public transport which is both cheap and efficient. If you plan on using buses and trains frequently, consider purchasing a Visitor Pass which offers unlimited travel for a set fee. Cycling is another cost effective way of seeing the city and there are plenty of cycle lanes. Although it's not advisable to drive in the very congested downtown area, if you want to see all of Chicago and the surrounding areas, car hire in Chicago is a great way of exploring and roads are well maintained and well signposted. Be sure to book in advance for the best deals.
Updated 15th May 2013
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