Chicagoland is very flat. If you find yourself missing the heights of being back home in the Mile High City, buy a ticket to reach the summit of Willis Tower (or Sears Tower, as Chicagoans still call it). Step out into the glass balconies of the observation deck for panoramic views of the city, the lake, and beyond. It’s not the kind of view you’re used to from summits back home, to be sure, but just as breathtaking.
Sightseeing can be done with feet planted firmly on the ground, of course. Walking tours abound, whether you choose to tour the Loop (what Chicagoans call their downtown) or one of the city’s dozens of neighborhoods. Or take to the water for a riverboat architecture tour or a boat ride along the city’s Lake Michigan waterfront for a unique view of the skyline. The lakefront has plenty to explore while downtown, including Museum Campus, Grant Park, and Millennium Park. Can’t get enough of aquatics? Visit the Shedd Aquarium. Want more sky and less skyline? Explore the Adler Planetarium. Seeking opportunities for snap-worthy selfies? Walk through the public art at Millennium Park.
Hungry for more? Treat yourself to some classic Chicago flavors, starting with a hot dog “dragged through the garden”—piled high with onion, relish, tomato, and more, but never ketchup. Italian beef is a classic cuisine, but not the only example of ethnic flavors brought to the city’s dozens of neighborhoods by its vibrant immigrant communities. From authentic Chinese to succulent soul food and everything in between, there’s something for every eater on the menu.