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The Chicago skyline marks the gateway to culture and to an incredible adventure for visitors of all ages. Approach Chicago from any direction, and marvel at the incomparable view. Explore nearly thirty miles of Lake Michigan shoreline in this water enthusiast’s paradise. Savor the aromas and flavors of the wide variety of dining choices. Visit museums, art galleries, and parks. Enjoy a ballet, a symphony, an opera, a leisurely day of shopping the Magnificent Mile, and a stroll along the waterfront.

The skyline dominates the view along Lakeshore Boulevard and Michigan Avenue. In the foreground, is one of the finest aquariums in the world, the John G. Shedd Aquarium. To the right of the skyline, reaching out into Lake Michigan, is the impressive 3000 foot-long Navy Pier. The large globe-like structure on the hill is the Adler Planetarium.

Millennium Park, an ambitious and sometimes controversial addition to Chicago's downtown lakefront has opened. The centerpiece of the 24-and-a-half-acre park is the Pritzker Pavilion, a 120-foot-high outdoor music stage framed with a signature Gehry sculpture. The pavilion will be the new home of the Grant Park Music Festival, a 70-year-old summer series of classical concerts. A pedestrian bridge, also designed by Mr. Gehry and spanning Columbus Drive, provides access to the pavilion and links Millennium Park to the rest of Chicago's lakefront park system.

A fountain, by Spanish sculptor Jaume Plensa, features the faces of 1,000 Chicagoans projected onto two 50-foot glass towers, while artist Anish Kapoor's 110-ton, steel sculpture reflects both the faces of those who approach it and the city's famous skyline. The Kapoor sculpture and the Plensa fountain are sure to be the topics of animated conversation for years to come.

Other park features include a free November-to-March ice rink, a three-block-long promenade for outdoor festivals, a replica of the 1917 neo-Classical peristyle that once stood on the site, a perennial garden with more than 240 plant varieties, and the 300-seat Park Grill restaurant.

Chicago‘s architectural achievements include the Sears Tower and the Tribune Tower, whose base includes stones from famous buildings throughout the world. The Art Institute of Chicago houses a world-class collection, from Impressionist masters to more contemporary works in photography and ethnic art. From there, many of the city's major cultural and tourist attractions are within walking distance, including the Field Museum, the Shedd Aquarium, and the Hancock Tower.

Chicago is home to world-champion Chicago Bulls and the well-loved Chicago Cubs. Chicago sports fans are known around the globe for their undying devotion in the bitter winter to the Bears, and through the warm summers to the Cubs, as they cheer from the bleachers at Wrigley and Comiskey (now US Cellular) parks.

Chicago offers an endless variety of places to explore and things to do. There are museums of every kind; avant-garde art galleries; dance, theater, and music venues, and ethnic and cultural delights in food, music, and shopping.

What would Chicago be without the blues? The original House of Blues is located on Dearborn Street and hosts the current masters of this music.

The heart of downtown, formed by the "Loop" of elevated train tracks, has additional energy these days, invigorated by the renovation of the grand old theaters, the opening of Millennium Park, and the enhanced nightlife options that are breathing new life into this fabulous city. What a perfect time to visit Chicago, Illinois!

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