Chicago is a major metropolis located on the shore of Lake Michigan in Illinois. It’s the third-largest city and metropolitan area in the United States, after New York and Los Angeles.
Progress and modernization rule in Chicago. The old Chicago with its smoke-spewing factories and quarreling politicians—not to mention machine gun-wielding gangsters—is mostly gone, having given way to a new Chicago. From the sternly classical to the space age, from the Gothic to the coolly modern, Chicago is a place with an embarrassment of architectural riches. Modern architecture was born here. Frank Lloyd Wright fans will swoon to see his earliest buildings here, where he began his professional career.
Chicago’s museums and cultural institutions are among the best in the world. Three of them are located within a short walk of each other in the Near South, on what is known as the museum campus, in a beautiful spot along the lake: the Adler Planetarium, with cool hands-on space exhibits and astronomy shows; the Field Museum; and the Shedd Aquarium, with the best collection of marine life east of California. A short distance away, on the South Chicago Shore, is the most fun of them all, the Museum of Science and Industry—or, as generations of Chicago-area grade school students know it, the best field trip ever.
In the Loop, the Art Institute of Chicago has a handful of iconic household names among an unrivaled collection of Impressionism, modern and classical art, and tons of historical artifacts. And in Lincoln Park, a short trip from the Loop, the cheerful (and free) Lincoln Park Zoo welcomes visitors every day of the week.