Chicago, IL

Chicago, the largest city in Illinois, and third largest in the US after New York and L.A., lounges on the shores of Lake Michigan in the heart of the Midwest.

The self-proclaimed ‘Porkopolis’ has a heritage of meatpacking - as did neighboring Cincinatti. Intense rivalry between the two cities is one of the factors behind Chicago's nickname the ‘Windy City’, meaning that it was full of bluster.

In recent years, Chicago has undergone a makeover. Older parts of town have been regentrified. Bridgeport for example, has shrugged off its former image as a South Side working class stronghold and is nowadays better known for its vibrant arts scene and creative gastronomy. These days, the elegant residential streets of Wicker Park give way to a bustling blend of boutiques, bookshops, eclectic bars and cafes and some of the city’s best restaurants.

Chicago is a fun city with an irrepressible zest for life. It boasts one of the world’s tallest buildings with the fastest elevators (Willis Tower), a fifteen-story Ferris wheel and no fewer than 7500 restaurants. In a bid to improve the city’s quality of living, the Mayor of Chicago launched a ‘Streets for Cycling’ project that will see 650 miles of cycling lanes installed across the city by 2020.

Another of the city’s irresistible draws is its downtown area, known as “The Loop.” The nickname refers to the area encircled by the elevated (‘L’) train tracks. There is something to suit every taste among Chicago’s 77 distinct community areas and diverse neighborhoods, and you’ll find integrating into the Windy City a breeze.