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From Lake Michigan, a view of skyscrapers in downtown Chicago, Illinois

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City Tour - Chicago, Illinois

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Bicycling along the Lake Michigan shoreline in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois

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City Tour - Chicago, Illinois

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Water show choreographed to music at the Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park in Chicago, Illinois

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City Tour - Chicago, Illinois

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    Illinois

When it comes to entertainment, cuisine, shopping, museums and sports, no city takes a back seat to Chicago.

Ever since Catherine O'Leary’s lantern-kicking cow reputedly started the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, the Windy City has been rising from those ashes, establishing itself as an architectural and cultural marvel. For example, the Art Institute of Chicago has been named among the top museums in the world by TripAdvisor. With sights such as these, the only challenge you’ll face is deciding how to fit everything you want to do into your visit.

360 CHICAGO

Start by getting a bird’s-eye-view of this magnificent metropolis. You can survey the scene from either Skydeck Chicago or 360 CHICAGO, formerly the John Hancock Observatory. Skydeck, which is atop the Willis Tower, invites intrepid visitors to step onto The Ledge, four glass boxes jutting out from the observatory. Situated at 1,353 feet (412 metres), the boxes provide a jaw-dropping view 103 storeys above the city.

Thrill-seekers can also step into Tilt, a brand-new attraction at 360 CHICAGO. Tilt is an observation deck that does just that, slowly tilting out from the building to let guests peer 1,000 feet (305 metres) straight down to Lake Michigan and the Magnificent Mile.

Next, head to Grant Park. Not only does it have the city’s prettiest lakefront views, it’s home to the Clarence Buckingham Memorial Fountain and several must-see attractions, including The Field Museum, Adler Planetarium and Shedd Aquarium.

The Field Museum

At The Field Museum, stop in and visit “Sue,” the largest and most complete Tyrannosaurus rex fossil. Its teeth alone are the stuff of nightmares. Other exhibits include an ancient Egyptian tomb with 23 mummies and Underground Adventure, an experience that shrinks visitors to the size of a bug.

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Adler Planetarium

Nearby Adler Planetarium is far more than a show about the night sky. Visitors can see the restored Gemini 12 spacecraft and learn the fascinating story behind America's race to the moon.

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Shedd Aquarium

Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium has more than 32,500 creatures, including tanks of sharks circling overhead and stingrays swimming by. There are 80 different habitats in the Waters of the World galleries. Younger kids will love the aquarium’s popular Polar Play Zone.

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Art Institute of Chicago

As one of the world’s top art galleries, the Art Institute of Chicago is in a class all its own. Here you can marvel at Georges Seurat’s vast dotted canvas A Sunday on La Grande Jatte and stare back at the stern-faced classic American Gothic. The museum also has one of the largest Impressionist collections outside France and its Modern Wing is renowned for its European paintings and sculpture.

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The Museum of Science and Industry

The Museum of Science and Industry, the largest in the Western hemisphere, is an interactive wonderland of exhibits. It lets visitors learn about the science of storms, tour a real World War II German submarine and run on a human-sized hamster wheel.

A Money-Saving Tip

Chicago is one of 11 U.S. destinations that offer the CityPASS programme. Each Chicago CityPASS ticket booklet saves travellers up to 53 percent on VIP entry to five top attractions: Shedd Aquarium, Skydeck Chicago, The Field Museum, a choice between Museum Of Science and Industry and 360 CHICAGO, and a choice between Adler Planetarium and Art Institute of Chicago.

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