From the Great Fire to Prohibition, Chicago has had an eventful history. It was considered the capital of organised crime, and experienced the reign of Al Capone. Waves of immigration, architectural renovations and these historical facts give a unique identity to the capital of the Midwest.
It was in Chicago that a new type of architecture was discovered. The first "skyscrapers" emerged there in 1885 and today, you can still find buildings that are among the tallest in the world. Like the Willis Tower, 442 metres high. All these buildings can be found in the Loop district, in the city centre.
Chicago’s originality is also found in its art. Strolling through the city, you’ll see plenty of works on display outdoors which are part of a public art programme developed by the city. While walking around Millennium Park, you can admire the most famous of its works: Kapoor’s Cloud Gate.
To visit Chicago is to discover a unique natural setting. The city sits on the edge of Lake Michigan, one of the five Great Lakes of North America and has numerous beaches bordering this little sea. Nearer the centre, outside Millennium Park, go for a cruise on the Chicago River. Or stroll along the Chicago Riverwalk.
Chicago offers a great diversity of scenery and an exceptional diversity of cultures. But it also has an exceptional diversity of culture owed to the various waves of immigration that brought a cultural mix to the city. First, there’s a strong Irish culture, present since the 19th century. To experience this, you should certainly come to Chicago for its St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. The atmosphere is unique and amazing. Through the various districts, from Little Italy to Little Seoul, you’ll discover an impressive mosaic of cultural influences.
Lake Michigan gave it the name Windy City and, paradoxically, the Great Fire of 1871 enabled it to create a spectacular architectural heritage. At the starting point of Route 66, the third city of the United States, with its 3 million inhabitants, is a pioneering impressive city.
For information on all your tourism needs, such as visas, healthcare and useful numbers, make sure to read our Practical Information guide before you go on holiday.Discover our practical information
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