Spending three days in Chicago is probably not enough to enjoy and get to know this fascinating city in depth, but it is an opportunity to get the glimpse of what it is all about. There is so much to do and so little time.
Chicago is definitely a melting pot, with the general population (including the Chicago metropolitan area) reaching 9.5 million people, which is impressive in itself. It is a truly international city. It embraces different cultures, nationalities, religions, and mores; it welcomes tourists from around the world with open arms and warm hearts. Chicagoans are the friendliest people in the world. No matter how busy they are, they will always find the time to answer your questions patiently and meet your needs with a big smile and ease.
If I were hired as a tour guide for an entire three-day-trip, I would have recommended the following:
Day 1: Spend a whole day in Chicago Downtown (The Chicago Magnificent Mile).
You can take a city tour by hopping on Chicago Trolley/Double Decker Co. to circle downtown with a professional tour guide in-hand, or explore Chicago Architecture on one of the Chicago River Boat Tours. Both of these options will take a few hours of your time and give you a historical, cultural, and architectural glimpse of the city. To conclude this wonderful and overwhelming cultural experience, you must visit John Hancock Tower, after the Willis Tower (former Sears Tower) this is the highest observation point in Chicago with an outdoor Skywalk 1,000 feet above the Magnificent Mile, and a famous Signature Room on the 95th floor, which offers the superb dining experience.
Day 2: Quick stops at the Millennium Park, Buckingham Fountain, Navy Pier, and Art Institute.
Millennium Park is the recent new addition to the city and is a center for art, music, architecture and landscape design; its main and most important attraction is the stainless steel Bean Sculpture designed by Anish Kapoor. Another attraction you should not miss is the Buckingham Fountain at Grant Park, pride and joy of Chicagoans. At nighttime, the fountain’s hourly major water display is accompanied by lights and music. Navy Pier is a great place to spend a whole afternoon. It is a major family attraction: with entertainment, shopping, dining, cruises, and events, featuring more than 50 acres of parks, gardens, shops, restaurants, a winter garden, an open-air theater, IMAX films, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Chicago Children’s Museum, and more. The last, but not the least stop should be the Art Institute of Chicago, which is free to Illinois residents on Thursday evenings, after 5:00 p.m. The museum shelters art collection that spans 50 centuries and several continents, showcases fine works by such artists as Monet, Degas, Van Gogh, and Chagall, to name a few. Its recent new architectural wing addition is showcasing the contemporary art, such as: photography, architecture, and other projects.
Day 3: Shop till you drop!
World-famous design gurus: Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and Gucci, to name a few, dominate the aristocratic North Michigan Avenue’s Magnificent Mile. You cannot miss the upscale retail giants, such as: Bloomingdale’s and the Water Tower Place, which carry those brands, but if you do not have the means to spend a lot, try to shop at H&M (it is chic and affordable). If you have daughters, the American Girl Place (835 N. Michigan Avenue Chicago, IL 60611) is a must-see store; it is an adventure you will never forget.
I hope all the above will help you to get to know Chicago. Enjoy the visit!