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A Chicago Vacation Will Blow Away the Cobwebs
by CL Hendricks

Chicago is a city that most people call the Windy City, so if you want a total change that will blow away the cobwebs of stress, consider a vacation to Chicago. Located on the southwestern edge of Lake Michigan Chicago often bears the brunt of lake-effect winds. The spectacular views that are found along North Avenue Beach have been a favorite among romantics.

Founded in the early 1800 Chicago experienced a rapid development. Seeded to the American Government with the signing of the Greenville Treaty in 1795 the area that would become Chicago was relinquished by the Native Tribes. On August 12, 1823 the town of Chicago incorporated. Growth was exponential in the area with the population swelling from 350 in 1823 to over 4000 in less than seven years.

Most notable in this cities history is the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Legend says a cow kicked over a lantern igniting a fire that would sweep through the primarily wooden buildings, homes and business leaving 100,000 homeless. This disaster led to many building innovations including the use of steel and masonry.

Chicago is home to the tallest building in the western hemisphere. Formerly known as the Sears Tower, the newly christened Wilis Tower purchased by the Willis Group Holdings of London will remain a focal point for visitors for decades to come.

No visit to Chicago is complete without a slice or two of the world renowned deep dish Chicago-style pizza. Regardless of whether you visit a Mom and pop restaurant or a street vending entrepreneur your taste buds will be in for a treat.

Ethnically diverse, Chicago has many neighbors that offer visitors a chance to immerse themselves in different cultures. Chinatown located on Wentworth Avenue allows visitors to see an open air fish market, street venders, butchers and restaurants of all types.

Oktoberfest is celebrated in fine German style in Lincoln Square. Held in October the descendants of the first German settlers continue the traditional fall festival. Polish, Swedish and other ethnic neighbors continue their traditions through local delis and groceries. If you have the chance to visit any of them you will find them to be hospitable and rich in their traditions and history.

Museums tours are offered daily with special packages available through the Chicago Department of Tourism. The Art Institute of Chicago has an extensive collection of masterpieces, a few by artists which are found no where else in the world.

The Museum of Science and Industry has an OMINMAX theater, a 1900 sidewalk display and many interactive exhibits for the younger visitors. The Field Museum which explores the evolution of man with dinosaur skeletons and an underground exhibit of how soil sustains and supports life is a must see.

The Chicago Zoological Society features 216 acres of exhibits. A children's zoo, a butterfly garden and a family play zoo are just a few of the many activities that await your family.

The Lincoln Park Zoo offers free admission daily. This is one of the most popular zoos, visited by both tourists and locals, alike.

The Brookville Zoo, located in the Chicago suburb of Brookville is the largest zoo facility in the Chicago area. Included are natural habitats for the 2,500 animals that call this zoo home. Walk through savannahs, rainforests, deserts and seascapes as you visit with the various species that inhabit these areas.

The John G. Shedd Aquarium offers one of the only exhibits of a living coral reef. With nearly 600 species of marine life including whales and dolphins a stop at this aquarium is sure to delight everyone.

About the Author

C.L. Hendricks has been a Jill-of-all-trades and become an expert in some. She has also traveled extensively and now writes about travel destinations around the world for Family Vacation Spots and Best Vacation Getaways