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Chicago, Illinois Vacation Destinations

A great vacation doesn't have to be far, far away amid rolling hills or gushing streams. With rising prices and tighter budgets, most people do not have the time or the money to spend on vacations. That's why; it's a great idea to spend the vacation closer to home in a Midwest vacation destination like Chicago, Illinois. The windy city has quite a lot to offer to anyone and everyone. To the singles who love to explore the museums during the day and the pubs after sunset, Chicago has a bustling nightlife. To families that look forward to fun times together, there are a whole lot of entertainment options in and around the city. Whatever be your interest - history, arts, sports or shopping, Chicago has it all and more...read more about Chicago Vacation Destinations »

Michigan Avenue and Grant Park are one of the areas where Chicago's beauty is most striking. Daniel Burnham's city plan of 1909 that preserved a huge amount of green space right on the shoreline of Lake Michigan was a brilliant decision, and visitors and local residents alike benefit from the huge green zone between the Loop and the lake. Grant Park's beginnings actually date all the way back to 1835, when foresighted citizens, fearing commercial lakefront development, lobbied to protect the open space. Burnham's vision of the park as a formal landscape with museums and civic buildings became reality: today Grant Park holds 3 of the city's most distinguished museums: The Field Museum of Natural History, the Shedd Aquarium and the Adler Planterium.

The Buckingham Fountain is the centerpiece of Grant Park, the city's grand "front yard," and it is set within a handsomely landscaped garden, one of the city's finest examples of a Beaux-Arts-style landscape design. It is an exact replica of the fountain in Versailles, just twice as large, and with those measurements it is one of the largest free-standing fountains in the world.

At the north end of Grant Park is Millenium Park, at an investment of $495 million Chicago's most ambitious public undertaking. Unsightly railroad tracks and parking lots were turned into a multi-media outdoor entertainment area during the last few years. Among Millennium Park's prominent features are the Frank Gehry-designed Jay Pritzker Pavilion, the most sophisticated outdoor concert venue of its kind in the United States; a winding mirror clad bridge over Stetson Street, designed by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry; and "Cloud Gate" ("The Bean"), a hugely popular sculpture inspired by liquid mercury, designed by British artist Anish Kapoor. On this beautiful sunny morning, the reflections of the city's skyscrapers had an almost surreal feel to them...read more about Chicago »

Pullman Historic District

The Pullman Historic District is the manifestation of a very interesting social experiment: It was built between 1880 and 1884 as a planned model industrial town by George M. Pullman for the Pullman Palace Car Company. George Pullman (1831 to 1897) arrived on the scene with a design for the Pullman sleeping carriage which he originally developed to carry the dead body of Abraham Lincoln to his funeral. As a result the Pullman Sleeping Car Company was established and a whole town was built around the business and named after its originator.

We went to the Visitor Center and saw an 18-minute movie that described George Pullman and his ambitious plans for his development of a model community, a total environment, that he intended to be superior to that available to the working class elsewhere. By so doing, he hoped to avoid strikes, attract the most skilled workers and attain greater productivity as a result of the better health and spirit of his employees.

To achieve his vision, George Pullman hired Solon S. Beaman, landscape architect Nathan F. Barrett and civil engineer, Benzette Williams. The town was constructed by Pullman employees, using local red clay from Lake Calument and component parts that were produced in the Pullman factory. This project is one of the first examples of industrial technology and mass production in large-scale housing. The town was a complete planned community and included schools, a library and hotel all run by the company.

Pullman's large Arcade building (now demolished and the present location of the Visitor Center) featured a restaurant, a bank, a library, a post office, a theater, and numerous shops. It was a forerunner of the modern shopping center. The town was completely self-contained. Pullman residents enjoyed the manmade Lake Vista and plenty of parks and promenades, features typically missing from Chicago's working-class neighbourhoods.

The town of Pullman was a model of financial efficiency. Pullman demanded that the company return an 8-percent profit and the town return a 6-percent profit. A huge engine pumped sewage from the town to a nearby Pullman-owned farm, where it was used as fertilizer for produce that would be sold back in the town....read more about Pullman Historic District

The Windy City is full of more than just, well, air. Chicago is the heart and soul of Americas Midwest, the countrys third largest city behind New York and Los Angeles, and claims some of the most recognizable architectural monuments of American tradition and culture, such as historic Wrigley Field and the Sears Tower. Chicagos skyline is one of the most recognizable in the United States and the soulful sounds of this city are some of the most recognizably influential all over the world.

Chicago is situated on the southwestern shore of Lake Michigan, making it both a strategic economic port city and a lifeline into Americas heartland. A wave of European immigration in the 19th and 20th centuries made the city a true iconic melting pot for the country as a whole. Additionally, Chicago has roughly equal populations of Caucasians and African Americans and the second largest population of Chicanos behind Los Angeles. This multicultural identity adds unparalleled flavor to Chicago cuisine, art community and, of course, political history. Remember, Chicago is the site of the infamous 1968 Democratic National Convention where riots ensued in the streets and extreme police force was employed....read more about Chicago.