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The Windy City Chicago

Aug 17, 2007
Chicago is the largest city in the state of Illinois, the largest in the Midwest, and, with a population of nearly three million people, it is the third-most populous city in the United States.

Chicago refers to the City of Chicago, or, more informally, to the Chicago metropolitan area, colloquially called Chicago land

Chicago is The City that Works. The City of Big Shoulders.
It boasts North Americas tallest building and one of the world's largest office buildings. With the ubiquitous elevated trains creating a continuous clatter, the city looks big. Feels big. Is big.

At first glance, Chicago can be overwhelming. But, like any city, it is the sum of its parts, and its parts are diverse. Also known as The City of Neighbourhoods, Chicago comprises more than 75 official neighbourhoods, more if you count the names real estate salespeople have devised. Each neighbourhood features its own distinct quality and character.

Many restaurants, such as The Original Heaven on Seven, Italian Village, and Berghoff, vie to whet the Loopgoers appetite. Boutique Hotels such as the Hotel Allegro, Hotel Burnham Chicago and Hotel Monaco compete for guests with the more traditional Palmer House and Chicago Hilton Plaza and Towers.

While technically just outside the Loops borders, Grant Park should not be missed. Hugging Lake Michigan, this park is often referred to as Chicagos front yard. The majestic Buckingham Fountain is here, as is a plush rose garden and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's outdoor home, the Petrillo Music Shell. The park is immense, with the capacity to hold up to three million people, as tested annually by the Taste of Chicago festival. Grant Park also plays host to many music and arts festivals during the summer, including Jazz Fest and Blues Fest.

Near North Side Just to the north of the Loop, bordered by the Chicago River on the south, the Lake on the east and North Avenue on the north, is Chicago's Near North Side neighbourhood. This area is in turn made up of several other smaller areas.

The citys Magnificent Mile known as the Mag Mile to locals is one of the Near Norths most famous offerings. Stretching along Michigan Avenue from the Chicago River to Oak Street, this shoppers' paradise is home to highscale chains like Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdales at the 900 North Michigan Avenue Shops, as well as such lavish boutiques like Marilyn Miglin and Room & Board. The citys early monument to modernity, the John Hancock Center, is here, just a few blocks from the citys links to its past, the Water Tower and the Chicago Water Works, two of the few buildings that survived the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Water Tower Place, an upscale indoor shopping mall, houses Marshall Fields, Lord & Taylor and numerous other chain stores. A block away, little girls delight at American Girl Place, the doll maker entertainment complex and retail store. Their parents enjoy RL Restaurant Ralph Laurens, the designers largest retail store and its clubby adjoining restaurant. ,

Crate & Barrel and Saks Fifth Avenue Chicago Place stores can be found a few blocks south on Michigan Avenue.
About the Author
Douglas Scott works for The Rental Car Hire Specialist. and is a free lance writer for The Chicago Rental Site
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