Chicago, a cosmopolitan city, also known as 'the windy city' has everything from amazing architecture to the origins of house music. Chicago was roaring in the 20?s and 30?s, offering jazz, soul, the blues, and a scandalous life style? Just like Al Capone and his group of gangsters. Today, you can still walk the streets and see how this past shapes the character of the city. Now, Chicago is especially influential in the genres of hip-hop and house music. There?s a certain city beat that you?ll feel as you walk the streets; a beat that flows from the bars and clubs.

Chicago is located on Lake Michigan and the Chicago River. The Navy Pier rests on the river, with attractions like the Ferris wheel, a ropes course and a carousel. There are also has shops, restaurants, and museums along its promenade. Another place to stroll along would be at the Millennium Park where the Cloud Gate sculpture, locally known as the Bean, stands. The Millennium Park was rebuilt to celebrate the Millennium, but used to be part of Grant Park (next door). Try these areas if you just want to relax. If that?s not enough, there?s also Hyde Park within the city limits.

Also on Lake Michigan, you?ll find the Shedd Aquarium ? try this for a bit of shark, dolphin and other sea creature watching. But if you?re one for science and learning, the John Hancock Observatory, Museum of Science and Industry, and the Museum of Contemporary Art are just some of the museums Chicago offers. You can also order tickets to go see the Chicago White Sox or Chicago Bulls play. Lincoln Park Zoo and Brookfield Zoo are great for watching your favourite animals roam around.

Where to Eat:
In Chicago, there are many different cultures that blend into the character of the city. Mexicans, Italians, Greeks and Polish (to name a few) communities add to the sophistication of Chicago, bringing something unique to the cuisine and arts. There is also good seafood and Chicago is known for its deep dish pizza, Chicago hot dogs (made with Vienese beef) and Italian beef sandwhiches.

Where to Party:
For night life, Bucktown is one option. The neighbourhood used to have a bit of a reputation for it?s gangster past, but today you?ll find a great vibe with lots of restaurants and bars. Another option is Division Street which is full of bars and clubs that run along the red subway line. There?s no lack of nightlife in Chicago - just walk along the safe parts of town and you?re sure to come across a bar or a nice restaurant. There?s also the Chicago Opera House and theatres like the Crank, Gridiron Gang, and Idlewild for some other cultural activities.

Where to stay:
The HI-Chicago Advantage Hostel and Chicago International Hostel reside in safe neighbourhoods of Chicago. The HI-Chicago Advantage is located downtown with no lockout (open 365 days) and welcomes all ages. The Chicago International Hostel is located near Loyola University for a pleasant neighbourhood that offers shopping and restaurants.

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