Flights to Chicago
Chicago is a large city in the American Midwest, sitting on the shores of Lake Michigan in the state of Illinois. It’s the home of the skyscraper and of blues music and is a popular city for shopping tourists!
Being a large city in a strategic position, many airlines have flights to Chicago’s O’Hare airport. From Johannesburg you can choose a flight with United Airlines, Air France, American Airlines, British Airways, Delta, Iberia, British Midland, TAM Linhas Aereas and US Airways. All of these flights from South Africa involve one stop via Washington D.C., Paris, London, Atlanta, Madrid or Sao Paulo depending on which airlines you fly with.
Flights from Cape Town to Chicago generally involve two stops, going first via Johannesburg. The exception is American Airlines who have just one stop at London before reaching Chicago.
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The Tourist Attractions of Chicago:
Being the original home of the skyscraper it’s no surprise that Chicago has many skyscrapers lining its skyline! And what better way to get a great view of the city from up the top of one of these huge buildings?!
The tallest in habited building in the world was situated in Chicago between 1793 and 1997 and although the Sears Tower has now been overtaken in height by other skyscrapers it’s still impressive. You can visit the Skydeck at a height of 412 metres (1,353 feet) via one of the fastest elevators in the world – they travel at speeds of up to 488 metres (1,600 feet) per minute!
From the Skydeck you can see about 50 miles (80km) into the distance on a clear day and you can also enjoy a museum-quality exhibit on the history of Chicago.
An alternative to the Sears Tower is the John Hancock Tower and Observatory. This building is 100 storeys high and has an outdoor observation deck, called the Skywalk. At this height it gets very windy here and you get to see why this is nicknamed the Windy City!
Chicago has a number of impressive museums. The Field Museum is a natural history and natural sciences museum featuring exhibitions on the Ancient Americas and the best preserved and most complete T-Rex dinosaur skeleton ever found, named Sue!
The Art Institute of Chicago is a museum of art with collections which span a huge period of 5,000 years. There is a vast variety of art here, though the museum is particularly famous for its Impressionist and American art exhibitions. There are four audio tours available so that you can choose which one suits you best, and this way you get to find out much more about the artwork you’re viewing.
The Shedd Aquarium is a popular Chicago attraction and features around 2,100 different species of fish, mammals, birds, reptiles and insects. The huge 90,000 gallon circular Caribbean Reef is particularly impressive.
Chicago is becoming a very popular destination with shoppers from around the world, and the main street they all head to is North Michigan Avenue, more famously known as the Magnificent Mile. Here you’ll find hundreds of shops including exclusive stores and boutiques like Tiffany & Co, Ralph Lauren and Hugo Boss, and over 200 different restaurants to choose from too!
The top attraction in Chicago is Navy Pier. This is a 50 acre entertainment complex which includes shops, restaurants, theatre, IMAX, amusements, exhibitions and museums.
When Should You Visit?:
You certainly wouldn’t come to Chicago for the weather, but the weather should play an important part in your decision as to when to visit.
There are four distinct seasons here. The summer experiences some very pleasant temperatures with July averaging as the hottest month with a daytime high of 29C (85F). Between May and September, temperatures are usually warm, though these are also the wettest months, so be prepared for rain.
Winters can get cold and though the actual temperature may not be that low, Chicago suffers from the ‘lake effect’ and hence feels far colder than it is.