Nestled on Lake Michigan, Chicago has 20 miles of protected lakefront, with beaches and parks that make it a very civilized city to visit. If you’re planning a trip there in July, a must stop place to head for is Grant Park where, for ten days, ‘Taste of Chicago’ is basically a massive picnic with free music by major artists that draws a million and a half visitors. The park is also home to a number of summer blues, jazz and rock festivals. And don't forget to call in at the nearby Art Institute which houses one of the best Impressionist collections outside Paris.
Then there’s that famous skyline, with the trapezoidal John Hancock building to the north and the 110-storey tower, formerly known as Sears to the south. It’s now called Willis Tower and is officially the tallest building not only in the US, but also in the western hemisphere. Take an express elevator to the Skydeck (pictured), which is 1,451 feet above ground level. If you’re feeling brave and don’t suffer from vertigo, the transparent ‘decks’ which have recently been added, give you an amazing view of Lake Michigan, Lincoln Park and the Alder Planetarium. But beware: the floors, walls and ceilings of these ‘decks’ are all see-through so the experience really can get you high!
BA and Virgin Airlines fly to Chicago from London or check www.cheapflights.co.uk for flights from some regional airports.