Chicago is a city on the southwest shore of Lake Michigan in the state of Illinois in the United States of America. With a population of 2,746,388, it is the third largest city in the United States. 8.7 million people live in the agglomeration and 9.7 million people in the metropolitan area of Chicago (2007).

Chicago has been an important commercial city in the United States since the mid-19th century. This function is favored by its status as a railroad junction and its location at the mouth of the Illinois Waterways. The city lies on major railroads connecting the east and west coasts and is connected to the Atlantic Ocean and New York City via the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway and Erie Canal. The Illinois Waterway connects to the Gulf of Mexico via the Mississippi.

Chicago is home to the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the largest commodity futures exchange in the United States, and the Chicago Board of Trade, the largest commodities, futures and options exchange in the United States. It is also home to the largest regional stock exchange in the United States, the Chicago Stock Exchange.



The main districts include:
The Loop the geographic center of the city and the financial and economic center - almost deserted at the weekend, high-rise buildings worth seeing, shopping along State Street
South Loop and Chinatown South of Grant Park and I-55, attractions include the Museum Campus, Soldier Field and Cellular Field, and Chinatown's restaurants and shops
Near North Side Home to the central shopping street Michigan Avenue, to the west of Michigan Avenue numerous restaurants and (blues) bars, to the east the up-and-coming neighborhood of River North
Old Town and Lincoln Park are mainly residential areas with imposing townhouses and the large Lincoln Park. Restaurants and bars, especially on Wells Street here also the famous comedy club Second City
Lakeview features the gay nightlife district of Boystown (on Halstead and Broadway), Wrigleyville with the Wrigleyfield ballpark and numerous bars and clubs (slightly less upscale than on Rush Street and Old Town)
North Shore Evanston is a northern Chicago suburb and home of Northwestern University
Near West Side here are the restaurants of Greek Town, Little Italy, Pilsen and Ukraine Village.
Wicker Park and Bucktown are up-and-coming neighborhoods with interesting shops and more alternative/indie bars and clubs
Oak Park suburb in western Chicago, famous for Frank Lloyd Wright architecture
The main South Side centers are the University of Chicago (including Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie House and several museums) as well as Hyde Park and, above all, Bronzeville, which is influenced by Afro-American culture.


Getting here

By plane
Chicago has two major commercial airports, Chicago O'Hare and Midway. Coming from Europe, one generally lands at Chicago O'Hare Airport, while Midway is mainly used for domestic connections.

Chicago O'Hare (IATA: ORD) is located approximately 15 miles northwest of downtown. With around 80 million passengers a year, the airport is the sixth busiest airport in the world and the third busiest in the USA after Atlanta and Los Angeles. Chicago O'Hare is the main hub for the two major airlines United Airlines and American Airlines and their regional subsidiaries United Express and American Eagle. In addition, the low-cost Spirit Airlines is represented with some connections, and Delta Air Lines also offers some lines.

The most frequented direct connections from Central Europe are Frankfurt (Lufthansa, United), Munich (Lufthansa, United) and Amsterdam (KLM, United), but you can also fly with Austrian Airlines from/to Vienna or with Swiss from/to Zurich.

Within the USA, O'Hare is connected to almost every other airport in the country by United Airlines/Express and American Airlines/Eagle, as well as numerous small regional airports in addition to the large cities. The highest frequency of flights is with New York–LaGuardia (American, Delta, Spirit, United), Los Angeles (Alaska, American, Spirit, United), San Francisco (Alaska, American, United), Dallas/Fort Worth (American , Spirit, United) and Denver (American, Frontier, Spirit, United).

The airport consists of four terminals, with Terminals 1, 2 and 3 forming a single complex and Terminal 5 being about a kilometer away. Both are connected by an above-ground railway (opened again in 2021 after years of renovation) and bus shuttles. It should be noted that all international connections arrive at Terminal 5, but not all depart from there (Austrian and Swiss also depart from there, but Lufthansa departs from Terminal 1).

Citizens of most EU countries can generally enter as a visa waiver. Useful tips can be found under United States of America#Entry requirements

From the airport, one can either take the subway (CTA Blue Line) to go into the city, which takes approximately 1-1½ hours. The "blue line" runs 24 hours a day, every 5 to 30 minutes, depending on the time of day. The train station is located under Terminal 2, there are also relatively easy-to-use ticket machines (US dollars or credit card, for the latter you sometimes need to enter your own postal code - ZIP Code - instead of your PIN) and a manned counter. The CTA is relatively prone to delays, you should not calculate the journey to the airport too tightly.

There is also a station for the suburban train Metra towards Chicago and north near the airport area, but it runs in extremely thin and irregular intervals and is therefore not a recommendation.

Or you can use the numerous taxis. These leave in front of each terminal at special bus shelters that are manned day and night. Chicago taxis also offer so-called shared rides, which take several people waiting downtown for a fixed price per person, but all passengers have to go to almost the same destination. Driving service providers such as Uber and Lyft are also likely to drive to O'Hare, but only stop in certain zones. The journey takes about 30 minutes outside of rush hour, but the traffic situation around O'Hare is difficult to assess, so the journey time can also be significantly longer.

Alternatively, all major rental car companies are represented at the airport, and some hotels also offer transfers. The freeways around O'Hare are toll roads, you have to have a few quarters ready for them. There is no way to change money when you drive straight onto the highway from the airport.

Chicago Midway (IATA: MDW) is just 10 miles southwest of downtown. It used to be Chicago's main airport until it was ousted to second place by O'Hare in the 1960s. With 22 million passengers per year (more than Berlin or Hamburg), it's not exactly small either. The vast majority of flights here are handled by the low-cost airline Southwest Airlines. For example, high-demand connections to Atlanta, Denver, Las Vegas and Minneapolis/St. Paul offers. There are few international connections within North America and the Caribbean, such as with Cancún or Toronto.

The Elevated Railroad's CTA Orange Line connects Midway to downtown, the journey to downtown takes about 25 minutes. However, the "orange line" does not run 24 hours a day.

By train
Union Station, 225 South Canal Street. Tickets are available at the ticket office, from the kiosk, or by calling Amtrak (Phone: 1-800-872-7245). The ticket office is open Monday to Sunday from 06:30 to 20:30. Amtrak tickets should always be purchased at least 30 minutes before departure. (Because of the new security measures, it is your responsibility to ensure that tickets are signed and that you have your ID with you.) Open: Mon-Sun 05:30-22:30.

By bus
With you can travel the American Midwest very cheaply. Greyhound buses can also travel throughout the United States (as well as Canada and Mexico). Greyhound is one of the most authentic experiences you can have in America.

In the street
Chicago is surrounded by a dense network of freeways, some of which are toll roads.

From the East Highways 80/ 90 (from Cleveland, OH) and 94 (from Detroit, MI)
From the South Highways 65 (from State), 57 (from Memphis, TN), and 55 (from Springfield, IL and St. Louis, IL)
From the West Highways 80 and 88 (from Iowa)
From the North Highways 90/ 94 (from Minneapolis, MN), 39 (from Wisconsin) and 43 (from Green Bay, WI)

By boat
Chicago has numerous ports that can be reached by visitors by sailboat and motorboat, and the harbor masters will provide information about available moorings. The main ports are (north to south): Montrose, Belmont, Diversey (power boats only), Outer and Inner Jackson, DuSable, Burnham Park/Northerly Island. The operator Westrec Marinas accepts reservations for visitor berths.


Transport around the city

public transport
Chicago has a usable and dense public transport network by US standards, some of which also runs at night and is operated by the Chicago Transit Authority (cta). If you don't have a car, the L (for Elevated Train - Hoch-Bahn and U-Bahn alike), the numerous buses, but also taxis or transport service providers (Uber, Lyft) are the means of transport of choice.

The infrastructure of the cta is partly very outdated, but has been increasingly renewed in recent years. Nevertheless, major delays and gaps in the timetable are to be expected on the subway. The trains and buses are relatively well maintained and clean, the stations need some renovation. In recent years there have been increasing problems with homeless people and drug addicts staying in the stations and trains - but these usually do not pose a danger, especially since an ordinary Chicagoan is usually within reach and close by when you are waiting should - keep a few meters distance and not make eye contact, however, is also recommended. Large parts of the network are monitored by cameras, and many stations have entrances manned by employees. The security forces, some of whom are on patrol, tend to be disinterested, with the exception of major incidents, but are willing to help when needed.

The joint ticketing system for the subway ("L"), buses and Metra has been Ventra for a few years. These are paper magnetic stripe cards or reusable plastic chip cards that are available from vending machines and counters and can be topped up either with credit for single journeys or with daily or weekly tickets. Every train station has the appropriate readers on the access barriers, and they are attached to the driver on buses. A single trip on the cta network costs $2.50 flat rate (only trips from O'Hare Airport cost $5) - Metra prices are based on distance. For tourists, the 1-, 3- or 7-day passes pay off very quickly. It is also advertised that you can pay directly with a contactless credit card at the readers instead of with Ventra - however, this usually does not work with European cards, but the ticket machines accept them.

If you stay in the center of Chicago and mainly devote yourself to the sights around downtown, you do not need a car, on the contrary, it is not advisable due to the heavy traffic. Parking in downtown Chicago is also up to $50 per day. However, these private car parks are well signposted and often manned. However, if you want to explore the surrounding area, it is advisable to rent a car.

The regional trains of the Metra connect the important suburbs with the city and the central train station Union Station or other terminal stations, but these run at very irregular and incomplete intervals - exact advance information is advisable. The connections are sometimes overcrowded during rush hour, and the rest of the day the trains are sometimes almost empty. The Ventra ticket system also applies to the Metra.

Pace shuttle buses run from many suburban train stations (accessible by Metra or L) to surrounding neighborhoods. Ventra tickets are also accepted here.

South Shore Line regional trains run to Indiana (via Gary to South Bend) primarily during commute times. It should be noted here that the easternmost station is already in the next time zone, Eastern Time.

Taxis are a popular and cheap alternative to the bus for several people. Taxis can be hailed all the time downtown.

However, there are numerous complaints about Chicago taxis and the political battle between the city and taxi drivers has a long history. As a tourist, you shouldn't expect overly friendly drivers and also not particularly new and clean taxis, the constant phone driver is also typical for Chicago. Buckling up is generally recommended and required by law.

A typical tip for taxi rides is between 15-20%. Where the procedure is to first get all the change and then return the tip to the driver.

By bicycle
In addition to the usual bicycle rental options, Chicago has a rental system with fixed locations that can be used by everyone (similar to the Call-a-Bike system in Germany). Here you need a credit card with which you can make the booking at the machines, you pay 7 USD for 24 hours or 75 USD for a year and then you can use a bike as often as you like within this time for a maximum of 30 minutes and at any time return the station. Surcharges apply for longer use in one go. Rentals lasting several hours (i.e. for bicycle tours outside the station area) are therefore unattractively expensive. The next bike can be borrowed from 2 minutes after a successful return. Attention: With use, a security deposit of ? blocked on the credit card! The station density is medium and the area served is mainly in the lake shore areas. A road map with cycle paths and all stations is available at each station, so that you can also plan longer tours through the city, including changing bikes.

A maximum of two bicycles can be rented with one credit card. Groups should therefore have several credit cards with them.

Attention: when returning the bike to the station, make sure that the bike clicks into place correctly (first yellow, then green light and confirmation tone), otherwise the bike is considered not returned and it can get really expensive. Sometimes it helps to lift the bike up at the back.



The stars of Chicago are the skyscrapers, the museums, the parks and the lake, the blues and the mafia. If you don't have much time, you should definitely take a city tour (preferably on the Chicago River) to discover the architectural highlights of the loop. For lunch, try the Chicago-style hot dog (putting ketchup on it is a mortal sin). In the afternoon, take a stroll through Millenium Park, followed by a visit to the Magnificent Mile (Michigan Avenue north of the Chicago River). The best way to admire the sunset and the breathtaking skyline is with a cocktail in the Signature Lounge on the 96th floor of the Hancocks Center. Afterwards you should try one of the typical Chicago delicacies (deep dish pizza, stuffed pizza or a good steak) in the Near North Side. If you still feel like it, you should visit the bars and clubs on Rush Street.

After a major fire in 1871, a large part of the city was rebuilt in the 1930s. The following list contains suggestions, all of which are within easy walking distance (in the Loop and in the Near North Side):

The world fame of Chicago architects began with the Chicago School. One of the Chicago School's earliest buildings is the Auditorium Building (50 E Congress Parkway), built in 1889 by Adler and Sullivan. The first official skyscraper with a steel frame was built by Jenny in 1885 (demolished in 1931). Other Chicago School skyscrapers worth seeing are
Marquette Building, 140 S Dearborn St.
Fisher Building, 343 S Dearborn Street.
Old Colony Building, 407 S Dearborn St.
Manhattan Building, 431 S Dearborn St.

In the course of the Columbian Exposition, numerous sandstone buildings were later built that are worth seeing
Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S Michigan Ave.
Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E Washington Avenue.
Washington Theater, 175 N State Street.
Dearborn Station, 47 W Polk Street.

In the further development to modernity, other high-rise buildings that are worth seeing emerged, which do not correspond to a clear style, are particularly worth seeing here
Tribune Tower, 435 N Michigan Ave.
Wrigley Building, 400 N Michigan Ave.
Chicago Board of Trade, 141 W Jackson Blvd.
Merchandise Mart, N Wells Street. When completed in 1930, the tallest building in the world.

The founders of modernity are of course the Mies van der Rohe classics
Lake Shore Drive Apartments, 860-880 N Lake Shore Drive.
Federal Center. Several buildings between 200 S Dearborn Street and W Adams Street.
330 N Wabash (formerly IBM Plaza), 330 N Wabash Avenue.
Farnsworth House, 14520 River Road, in Plano Illinois outside of Chicago.

The construction boom of the 1960s and 1970s led to the well-known glass and steel giants that must be visited:
John Hancock's Center, 875 N Michigan Avenue. Built in 1969, 344 meters high. The observation deck offers a good view over the buildings of Michigan Avenue and the North Loop. We recommend a free visit to the Signature Lounge - the cocktail bar with the best view over Chicago.
Aon Center, 200 E Randolph Street. Built in 1973, 346 meters high.
Sears Tower (officially Willis Tower since 2009), 233 S Wacker Drive. Built in 1973, 442 meters high - Observation deck with good views over the Loop and Millennium Park.

Other architectural landmarks include the organic structures of Bertrand Goldberg's Marina City (on the north bank of the Chicago River between Dearborn and State), the entirely privately funded Millennium Park (to the north of Grant Park), and the Frank Gehry-designed Jay Pritzker Pavilion (also in the Grant Park).

The Chicago Architecture Association offers excellent tours on foot, by EL, and on the water. Chicago Architecture Foundation tours

The Chicago area is home to numerous examples of Frank Lloyd Wright's prairie style. For example, the Robie House on the University of Chicago campus and the architect's former home in Oak Park.


Art and museums

Besides architecture, Chicago is famous for its museums. The Art Institute is located on Michigan Avenue (south of Millennium Park) and features famous works of art from the last century. The Field Museum is a natural history museum famous for its America and Dinosaur collections, which include a nearly complete skeleton of a T-Rex. The Field Museum forms the Museum Campus with the Shedd Aquarium and the Adler Planetarium. Also worth seeing is the Museum of Science and Industry, the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Chicago History Museum. Chicago has an excellent symphony orchestra. During the summer, concerts are held in Ravinia Park in north Chicago, in Millennium Park and Grant Park, and on Michigan Avenue. In addition, Chicago offers a wide range of entertainment with the Civic Opera and numerous guest musical productions. Chicago also offers a vibrant blues scene, which finds its home in numerous small clubs and the House of Blues.

Neighborhoods worth seeing
Like all major American cities, Chicago is a melting pot and many ethnic minorities have shaped its neighborhoods. Chinatown (Red Line stop Cermak) to the south of the city center is particularly worth seeing. Most of the other immigrant neighborhoods are best known for their restaurants and offer few sights. German and Scandinavian immigrants shaped Lincoln Square (Brown Line Stop Damien), and the curious Chicago brewery can still be found here today. Locally colored cuisine can also be found in Little Italy, Greektown and Pilsen.

Lincoln Park stretches north of the Loop along Lake Michigan. A bike ride north on the Lakefront Trail is recommended. Also in Lincoln Park is the free City of Chicago Zoo (2200 N Cannon Drive). East of the Loop is Grant Park (with Millennium Park) and Buckingham Fountain, which are also well worth seeing.

More Attractions
Other attractions include the tourist Navy Pier, from which numerous boat tours on the lake depart, as well as the numerous sports stadiums: Wrigleyfield (Red Line stop Addison), Cellular Field (Red Line stop Sox) and Soldier Field (south of the museum campus) .


What to do

Sporting events
American Football: Chicago Bears play their season in summer and fall. Tickets are very difficult to get. The games will be played at Soldier Field in downtown across from Lake Michigan.
Soccer: Chicago Fire has played a good role in MLS (Major League Soccer) for a number of years. The games are primarily attended by immigrants from football-loving Latin American nations and Poland. Tickets are easy to get.
Baseball: The Spring Sport in the USA. Chicago has two teams, the White Sox and the Cubs. Though the Sox are more successful, far more Chicagoans support the Cubs, which have roots in the left-wing, coveted college borough of Wrigleyville. Tickets to a game at Wrigley Field can be purchased for normal game day league games directly from the official ticket office at the stadium or from vendors around the stadium (approximately $50 and up).
Basketball: The great days of the Chicago Bulls around Michael Jordan are over, so the interest of the Chicagoans in their basketball club has declined significantly.

Sightseeing tours
Cruise Chicago offers 90-minute boat tours, during which a tour guide explains the skyscrapers the boat passes. Around $50 depending on the day and time. Advance booking advisable.



Many shops are located on Michigan Avenue. Some specialize in tourists, others - especially near the Art Institute - offer artistic products. The large shopping centers are used by tourists and locals alike. Michigan Avenue is home to malls at Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Water Tower Place and Shops at 900 North. Outside the city center there are many large shopping centers, including one of the largest malls in the USA - Woodfield in the Schaumburg district near O'Hare Airport, or the designer outlets in Gurnee Mills. Electronic products and casual wear are generally cheaper than in Germany.

As throughout the United States, prices shown are exclusive of tax and Chicago has a sales tax of between 6.25% and 10.25% depending on the type of merchandise.



All in all, the cuisine in the Midwest metropolis Chicago is more hearty than e.g. B. in California or in the areas of the east coast affected by the health wave. Large portions of meat and beer are not frowned upon and large portions are common. If you don't have a specific destination, the best way to explore the densely packed restaurant district (between Michigan Avenue to the east, LaSalle Street to the west, Division Street to the north and the Chicago River to the south) is to walk.

Still, Chicago has a long list of world-renowned fine dining restaurants. Some notable restaurants are Alinea, Charlie Trotter's (both ranked in the top 50 restaurants in the world). In addition, e.g. B. The Frontera Grill (gourmet Mexican) and Everest (New French cuisine) on the top floor of the Chicago Stock Exchange. Of course, Chicago is also a melting pot of different immigrant cuisines, e.g. B. "Greektown" in the South Halsted area, "Little Italy" on Taylor Street, "Chinatown" on the Near North Side and "Indo-Pak" on Devon Avenue. "On the border", for example, offers South American dishes. In Lincolntown there is an excellent Spanish tapas restaurant "Cafe Baba Reba". Coffeehouses have a long European tradition in Chicago and played an important role in the cultural life of the immigrants. Today, the local coffee houses of "Metropolis Coffee", "Kopi Cafe" and "Intelligentsia" are well-known throughout the city.

Those interested in typical Chicago fare won't be drawn to the ubiquitous Chicago-style hot dogs, nor to the typical deep dish or stuffed pizza and a good steak - there's nowhere in the US that serves better steaks (at least that's what Chicagoans claim ) - come round. Real Chicago dishes await you e.g. e.g. here:

Pizza Uno, 29 E Ohio Street. The inventors of the deep dish pizza.
Giordano's, 730 N Rush Street. The inventors of the stuffed pizza.
Lou Malnatis. In various places (see website) - inventor of Lou Malnati's salad dressing, which has arguably been making waves since the 1960s. The namesake was managing director at Pizza Uno before his own pizza chain.
Portillo's, 100 W Ontario Street. Hot dogs and ribs on the Near North Side.
Chicago Chop House, 60 W Ontario Street. The home of the 64 oz (1.8 kg) steak with the 32 oz (0.9 kg) lobster tail.

And a real curiosity with a lot of history:
Billy Goat's Tavern, 430 N. Michigan Ave at Lower Level (near Tribune Towers and Wrigley Building on lower level of Michigan Avenue). One of the most unusual places to eat a cheeseburger.

The Metromix Chicago search engine provides a good overview of the city's numerous restaurants. And the Zagat restaurant guide.

In contrast to German restaurants, you should ask the waiter for a seat, you can definitely discuss where you want to sit. Waiting times of 30-45 minutes at peak times are quite common in many restaurants. You get the bill at the end of the meal without asking, but that doesn't mean that you have to leave immediately. You can leave the money on the table. All restaurants accept credit cards.

15-20% tip is a must (where the rule is: 15% bad service, 18% okay - rule of thumb: double the tax, 20% good service). In bars, it is customary to tip $1 per drink.



Chicago has a very vibrant music scene. There are many blues bars in the city center with live music, you can also find the House of Blues there. And at least one excellent jazz bar, "The Green Mill", north of the city center. Al Capone heard jazz there. Alternative/indie clubs are primarily found in Bucktown, Metro in Lincoln Park and Vic in Lakeview. The techno scene can be found in many clubs on Chestnut and Rush Streets.

There are also many bars, including the "Matchbox", which is very narrow and cozy and also crowded in the evening. You can meet interesting people there. Rush Street, Bucktown, Oldtown, Wrigleyville and Wicker Park are typical bar hopping destinations in Chicago. Also, the areas around the universities, especially around Northwestern University, are home to many good pubs.

Chicago has many theaters, an opera and usually several guest musical productions. A local edition of Time Out Magazine is published in Chicago, which gives a good overview of all the events taking place.



Mid-range prices in the city range from $80 to $140.

youth hostel
Hostelling International Chicago, (HI-Chicago) Downtown, 24 East Congress Parkway. Tel: +1 (312) 360-0300. Best location in the center - downtown Chicago. Quick and easy to reach from the airport, bus terminal and train station, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. No curfew. No age restrictions, under 18s must be accompanied by an adult. Price: Prices start at $27.
Chicago International Hostel, Edgewater Neighborhood (on the edge of Rogers Park), 6318 N. Winthrop Avenue. One block from Loyola University Chicago. No curfew, 24 hour check-in, minimum age: 16, dormitories, groups are welcome and require a reservation, long-term guests welcome, fully equipped kitchen, bed linen included, safe rental, lockable lockers, common room with TV/ internet access, Visa/ MasterCard and travelers checks .
Chicago Getaway Hostel, 616 West Arlington Place. El : Fullerton. kitchen, laundry service. extensively modernized in 2010; albeit quite large (8 beds) dorms with built in showers. Price: $29 per night.

Days Inn, 644 West Diversey Parkway. Frequented by touring bands in town to play at one of the many big clubs on the north side. Price: $98-$130 per night.
Clarion Barcelo Chicago Hotel, 5615 N Cumberland Ave. Phone: +1 773 693-5800. Near Chicago O'Hare Airport (ORD).
Comfort Inn & Suites Downtown Chicago Hotel, 15 E. Ohio St. Tel: +1 312 894-0900.
Econo Lodge North Chicago Hotel, 2315 N Greenbay Rd. Tel: +1 847 689-4500.
Rodeway Inn Mid-City Plaza Chicago Hotel, 1 Midcity Plaza, (Madison at Halsted). Phone: +1 312 829-5000.
Chinatown Hotel, 214 West 22nd Place. Phone: +1 312 225-8888. Free wired internet and computers. Located at Cermak/ Chinatown on the red line. Price: Rooms from $67.
Chicago Lodge, 920 W. Foster Av. Phone: +1 773 334-5600.

Renaissance Blackstone Chicago Hotel, 636 South Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60605. Tel: +1.312.447-0955. Luxury downtown Chicago hotel located on Michigan Avenue, across from Grant Park and a short walk to Millennium Park, Buckingham Fountain, and the Art Institute of Chicago. Offering luxurious rooms & suites as well as meeting & event facilities. Home to Mercat a la Plaxa, a Jose Garces restaurant.
Holiday Inn Hotel and Suites Downtown Chicago, 506 West Harrison Street, Chicago, IL 60607. Tel: +1.312.957-9100, Fax: +1.312.957-0474. Steps away from the Sears Tower, Greek Town, the Financial District, and Amtrak's Union Station. Easy access to the United Center, Grant Park, Navy Pier, the Museum Campus, McCormick Place, and the University of Illinois, Chicago. Located on the Blue Line of Chicago's famous "EL" trains, you can reach any of Chicago's famous attractions in minutes.
Hawthorn Chicago/Schaumburg Hotel, 1251 E. American Lane Schaumburg, IL 60173. Tel: +1 847.706-9007. Renovated lobby.
Hawthorn Chicago / Vernon Hills Hotel, 975 North Lakeview Parkway Vernon Hills, IL 60061. Tel: +1 847 367-8031. Enjoy all the amenities of home and experience consistency, quality and comfort when you stay with Hawthorn Suites. Hotel features suites, full or efficiency kitchens, exercise facilities, video cassette players and on-site guest laundry and valet service.
Hawthorn Chicago / Wadsworth Hotel, 4555 W Yorkhouse Rd. Wadsworth, IL 60083. Tel: +1 847 360-0550, +1 847 360-1199 (old). Complimentary hot breakfast buffet. For business travelers: oversized work area, dual phone lines and data port, voice mail and daily complimentary newspaper.
Hotel Allegro, 171 West Randolph Street at Wells (just across from the Clark and Lake stop on the Blue line). Phone: +1 866 672-6143. Open 365 days/year. This lovely hotel calls itself a boutique hotel, probably in reference to its friendly, full four-star service, designer decorated rooms and prices that are the same, or just a little bit more than you would pay for a blander three-star place just north of the river. Price: $119-$229 per night (the $229 room has a double jacuzzi, as do the suites).
Hotel Burnham, 1 West Washington Street. Phone: +1 312 782-1111. Another Kimpton Boutique hotel, like its sister hotel the Allegro.
Hotel Monaco, 225 North Wabash. Phone: +1 312 950-8500. Like Monaco Hotels across the US the Monaco Chicago provides a bit better than four star comfort at a bit less than four star prices, though they are a little higher than at Kimpton sister hotels like the Allegro or the Burnham. What you get for the extra money is a number of specialty services geared for business travelers, so if you are traveling for pleasure go for the Allegro.
Crowne Plaza Allerton Chicago Hotel, 701 North Michigan Ave. Phone: +1 312 440-1500.
Wyndham Chicago Hotel, 633 North St. Clair St. Tel.: +1 312 573-0300. Friendly staff, decent rooms. Tip: register for the Wyndham ByRequest "frequent traveler" program: when you arrive, your favorite music will be playing in your room and a plate of fruit and iced tea (or whatever you choose) will be waiting for you.
Fairfield Inn & Suites Chicago Downtown, 216 East Ontario Street. Tel.: +1 312 787-3777, Fax: +1 312 787-8714.
Holiday Inn, 350 North Orleans. Tel.: +1 312 836-5000.
Holiday Inn, 300 East Ohio St. Tel.: +1 312 787-6100.
Holiday Inn, 8201 West Higgins Rd. Tel.: +1 773 693-2323.
Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites, 6500 South Cicero Ave. Tel.: +1 708 458-0202.
Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites, 506 West Harrison. Tel.: +1 312 957-9100.
Hotel Indigo, 1244 North Dearborn Parkway. Tel.: +1 312 787-4980.
Residence Inn Chicago Downtown, 201 East Walton Place. Tel.: +1 312 943-9800, Fax: +1 312 943-8579.
SpringHill Suites Chicago O'Hare, 8101 West Higgins Road. Tel.: +1 773 867-0000, Fax: +1 773 867-0001.
Courtyard Chicago Downtown, 30 East Hubbard. Tel.: +1 312 329-2500, Fax: +1 312 329-0293.
Courtyard Chicago Downtown/Magnificent Mile, 165 East Ontario Street. Tel.: +1 312 573-0800, Fax: +1 312 573-0573.
Courtyard Chicago Midway Airport, 6610 South Cicero Avenue. Tel.: +1 708 563-0200, Fax: +1 708 728-2841.
Best Western Grant Park Hotel, 1100 S Michigan Avenue. Tel.: +1 312 922-2900, Tel. gebührenfrei: +1 800 472-6875, Fax: +1 312 922-8812.
Best Western Hawthorne Terrace Hotel, 3434 N Broadway Avenue. Tel.: +1 773 244-3434, Tel. gebührenfrei: +1 888 675-2378, Fax: +1 773 244-3435.
Best Western Inn of Chicago, 162 E Ohio Street. Tel.: +1 312 787-3100, Fax: +1 312 573-3136.
Best Western River North Hotel, 125 W Ohio Street. Tel.: +1 312 467-0800, Fax: +1 312 467-1665.

Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile, 540 North Michigan Avenue. Tel.: +1 312 836-0100, Tel. gebührenfrei: +1 800 228-9290, Fax: +1 312 836-6139.
Chicago Marriott O'Hare, 8535 West Higgins Road. Tel.: +1 773 693-4444, Tel. gebührenfrei: +1 866 614-8407, Fax: +1 773 693-3164.
Chicago Marriott at Medical District/UIC, 625 South Ashland Avenue at Harrison Street. Tel.: +1 312 491-1234, Tel. gebührenfrei: +1 800 356-3641, Fax: +1 312 529-6095.
The Peninsula, 108 East Superior Street (at North Michigan Avenue). Tel.: (866) 288-8889. Known as one of the city's most luxurious hotels, The Peninsula has been recognized by AAA with a Five-Diamond award. Located right off of the Magnificent Mile.
The Drake, 140 East Walton Place (at North Michigan Avenue). Tel.: (312) 787-2200, Fax: (312) 787-1431. It doesn't get any more top-of-the-line than this in Chicago.
InterContinental, 505 North Michigan Ave. Tel.: +1 312 944-4100.
Marriott Chicago Midway, 6520 South Cicero Avenue. Tel.: +1 708 594-5500, Tel. gebührenfrei: +1 800 228-9290, Fax: +1 708 594-5510.
Renaissance Chicago Hotel, 1 West Wacker Drive. Tel.: +1 312 372-7200, Fax: +1 312 372-0093.
Renaissance Chicago O'Hare Hotel, 8500 West Bryn Mawr Avenue. Tel.: +1 773 380-9600, Fax: +1 773 380-9601.
Crowne Plaza Hotel, 10 South Wabash Ave. Tel.: +1 312 372-7696.
Crowne Plaza Hotel, 701 North Michigan Ave. Tel.: +1 312 440-1500.
Crowne Plaza Hotel, 733 West Madison. Tel.: +1 312 829-5000.



One should avoid Chicago's southern suburbs, or at least research the location before going there. About one to two people are murdered in Chicago every day. However, these are often residents of the poor districts in the south.

The rest of Chicago is very safe if you follow European etiquette. The greatest risk is road traffic, especially with its numerous taxi drivers. You should therefore only cross roads at intersections.

In general, if a situation or place doesn't seem safe, it's better to turn back. Although carrying firearms is illegal in Chicago (a relic of the Mafia days), caution should be exercised when resisting robberies. As always, women should be a little more careful - but that's no different to Europe.

The emergency number is 911 for the police, fire brigade and ambulance. For complaints to the city, e.g. B. via taxi driver, dial 311.


Practical hints

Most Chicagoans are outgoing and friendly, and are happy to help with orientation and finding restaurants or specific shops. Bus drivers (also provide information about the bus connections) and vendors are a popular source for all sorts of questions.

As everywhere in America, one should observe the forms of politeness and start the conversation with "How are you?" start, or in stores at least with "Fine. Thanks." answer the same question. Many Americans are outgoing and enjoy hearing from the rest of the world, although they rarely leave the US. Many Chicagoans have German ancestry and are happy to try out their German skills once they find out where you are from. It is imperative that you guess correctly.

However, some things are difficult for Germans to understand, such as the great personal responsibility of the individual and patriotism. As a tourist, you won't notice much of this, but you should keep your ears open.

However, don't expect a culture shock. At first glance, the USA is culturally very similar to Europe. If you stay friendly and assertive, you should be fine in Chicago. If you find yourself in an unfamiliar situation, it helps to ask and build on the friendliness of the other person.

Spanish can help with communication. The Chicago accent is not too different from school English.



early history
The region of today's city was inhabited by Algonquian tribes, such as the Mascoutes and the Miami. They had been driven westward by the Iroquois Wars of the 16th and 17th centuries, especially the Beaver Wars. However, around 1700 they returned. The Miami at this time included six groups, the Atchatchakangouen (the actual Miami), Kilatika, Mengakonkia, Pepikokia, Piankashaw and Wea, of which only the Miami, the Piankashaw and the Wea remained a hundred years later. Around 1720 they lived mostly in Indiana. The term shikaakwa (wild onion) comes from the Miami language.

They traded with their neighbors, the Potawatomi to the east, the Fox to the north, and the Illinois to the southwest, the latter having split from the Miami shortly before the first Europeans arrived. They ruled Illinois and thus the area that later became Chicago. Of the numerous villages recorded by the first French in 1673, only Cahokia, Kaskaskia, Peoria, Michigamea, Moingwena and Tamaroa survived the epidemics that swept over them. At the same time they left the Chicago area southwest. They had counted 12,000 people in 1673, but by 1736 there were only 2,500. In 1725 "Chicago", a Michigamea-Illinois chief, visited Paris - the name of the city does not go back to him, because this place name already existed in 1673. In 1800 the Illinois numbered only 100, and in 1833 the last family left the state. Jean Baptiste Ducoigne, a Kaskaskia Illinois chief and friend of President Thomas Jefferson, supported the United States in the rebellion against Britain and the War of 1812.

From Trading Post to City (1673–1837)
In 1673, French explorers Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet explored the area of present-day Chicago, which was called shikaakwa, French Checagou, by the indigenous people who lived there. In the 1770s, Jean Baptiste Point du Sable, son of a Quebec merchant and a black slave woman, established a trading post at the exchange point of the local Miami, Meskwaki, Othâkîwa, and Potawatomi tribes. "The first white man to settle here was a black man," they are quoted as saying.

Thanks to its convenient location on the water transport routes of Lake Michigan, one of the Great Lakes, and the Chicago River, the trading post became increasingly important by the early 19th century. When Illinois joined the United States in 1818 and was therefore to be better developed in terms of transport technology, Chicago quickly gained the reputation as the "Gateway to the West" after the construction of the East-West railway line. It was now the most important trading center for raw materials and agricultural products far and wide.

Wood came by ship from the north and was sold locally or transported by rail, and farmers brought food to the markets, from where it could then be loaded onto ships or trains and shipped. Tools and other materials that were initially not produced locally or in insufficient quantities came from the east. This is how the trading post became a village. Chicago was officially founded on August 12, 1833 and just four years later, on March 4, 1837, with its 4,200 inhabitants, it became a city.

Rapid expansion (1837–1885)
More and more people moved to the city and the already strong trade was further stimulated, which attracted even more immigrants. From just 100 residents in 1830, Chicago's population grew to 100,000 by 1860. Land prices rose rapidly. When the construction of the "Illinois and Michigan Canal" between the Chicago River and the Illinois River, which flows into the Mississippi, was completed in 1848, which had begun in 1836, there was another extremely attractive transport route. Six states south along the Mississippi and three north and regions along the Missouri River, which flows into the Mississippi, were now also opened up by a wide waterway.

Also in 1848, the first railroad to serve Chicago opened: the Galena and Chicago Union Railroad. With the completion of the Chicago Sanitary Canals in 1900, the direction of flow of the Chicago River was reversed. The sewage discharged into it no longer polluted Lake Michigan, which was used for drinking water supply, but the Illinois and Michigan Canal, the Illinois River and the Mississippi.

In 1850, Chicago already had 30,000 inhabitants and there was no end in sight to the influx – the general conditions at the transport hub in the United States were too favourable. In 1855 the camp Beer Riot broke out. During this uprising, German settlers fought for their right to serve beer on Sundays.

Beginning in 1856, to improve sewerage after various epidemics, the ground level was gradually raised throughout central Chicago. The lift took about 20 years, with rises ranging from less than a meter to 2.5 meters.

Between October 8 and October 10, 1871, the Great Chicago Fire raged, destroying most of the city. After the fire, 125 bodies were recovered. Estimates ultimately came to 300 dead and 18,000 destroyed houses. About 100,000 people became homeless. Improved fire protection regulations were taken into account during the rapid reconstruction. Architects like Louis Sullivan and later Frank Lloyd Wright came to the city, which now served as a testing ground for urban innovation. In 1880 the “born again” city already had 500,000 inhabitants.

Between 1880 and 1890 the population doubled and Chicago now had over a million inhabitants. Although the property prices in the city center have repeatedly experienced extreme increases since the city was appointed, this time a new price dimension was entered. In 1880 a square meter cost 130 US dollars, but by 1890 the price had increased sevenfold to almost 900 US dollars per square meter. In order to be profitable, landowners began to use their floor space to the maximum - that means it had to be built higher. This was made possible thanks to new inventions such as electric elevators, more fire-resistant building materials, but above all the use of steel frames in building construction.

The Home Insurance Building, built in 1885 and demolished in 1931, was the first building to incorporate new technological advances and, with its original ten floors and 42 meters in height, is considered the world's first modern high-rise building. The Auditorium Building, erected in 1889 by Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan, also featured – in addition to its almost perfect acoustics – air conditioning as a novelty. The Reliance Building was constructed between 1890 and 1894 and is considered the forerunner of the glass curtain wall construction that would later define the "International Style". It is considered a masterpiece of the First Chicago School.

Great industrial power (1885–1918)
On May 1, 1886, Chicago unions organized a strike to reduce working hours from 12 to 8 hours a day. When the police cracked down on May 3rd and strikers were killed, what became known as the Haymarket Riot broke out; since then, he has been commemorated annually on May 1st, Labor Day. The end of the 19th century was not a quiet phase in other respects either. Corruption experienced its first heyday. Many of the city's politicians were for sale. About a quarter of councilors owned saloons and were considered bodlers. Hempstead Washburne, mayor from 1891 to 1893, campaigned for re-election, saying it was "wiser to vote for a man who has stolen enough than for a new one". Voter fraud was also the order of the day. In any case, Washburne failed to win re-election.

From May 1 to October 30, 1893, the World's Columbian Exposition was held in Chicago. She had a great influence on the development of art and architecture of the time. The event shaped Chicago's self-perception and strengthened the population's optimistic view of industrial progress, especially as Chicago won the race against unloved New York City.

In 1890, one million people lived in the city, by 1910 this number had doubled to two million. In 1900 the city already had 1.7 million inhabitants, including many German, Irish and Eastern European immigrants. It was around this time that Chicago's reputation was cemented as a place of seemingly endless opportunity, with plenty of jobs for anyone willing to work. Black residents of the southern states were most attracted to this promise. Between 1916 and 1919 alone, between 50,000 and 75,000 African Americans moved to the city.

During this time, Chicago also became known as the hog butcher of the world. The city was the main hub for the agricultural products of the Midwest, in addition to grain and wood, this was mainly cattle. Within just a few decades, the slaughterhouses on the so-called Union Stock Yards had become the most important in the world. The assembly line production in meat processing in particular was trend-setting worldwide. By the turn of the century, the Stock Yards were slaughtering up to 12 million animals a year and processing about 82 percent of American meat. The bad working conditions and the lack of hygiene became known, among other things, through Upton Sinclair's novel The Jungle.

Long working hours, low wages and inhuman working conditions, but above all the traditions of self-organization that the immigrants brought with them meant that Chicago became the cradle of the American trade union movement. By 1900 most workers had organized themselves into the American Federation of Labor. The revolutionary union Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), which still exists today, was founded here in 1905. Bertolt Brecht's play Saint Joan of the Stockyards is set in Chicago in the late 1920s and deals with poor working conditions and workers' struggle against them. When on July 27, 1919, a white policeman refused to arrest a white man accused of stoning a black youth swimming in a lake, a six-day riot followed, killing 38 people.

City of Jazz and Gangsters (1918–1945)
From 1922 Chicago became a jazz metropolis. Greats like Louis Armstrong, Earl Hines or Jelly Roll Morton enlivened the "black clubs" and shaped Chicago jazz. That year, Chicago (That Toddling Town) was written by Fred Fisher, a Tin Pan Alley composer who emigrated to Chicago from Cologne.

It wasn't just jazz that came to Chicago through African Americans: the city also became a center of black organizations - both PUSH (People United to Save Humanity), founded by Reverend Jesse Jackson, and the more militant "Nation of Islam" (actually "The Lost Found Nation of Islam, also known as "Black Muslims"), founded by Elijah Muhammad in 1930, are headquartered on Chicago's South Side.

During the Roaring Twenties, criminal syndicates of ruthless crime bosses like Bugs Moran, Johnny Torrio and Al Capone took advantage of Prohibition and sold illegally manufactured alcohol. Gunfights between police and gangsters weren't as common as many films would have you believe, but the mafia system worked.

In 1933 and 1934, a world exhibition was held in Chicago for the second time under the motto A Century of Progress, to which the German airship LZ 127 completed a visit in 1933.

On October 5, 1937, on the occasion of the dedication of the Outer Link Bridge on Lake Shore Drive, the US President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered his internationally sensational "quarantine speech" in the city, in which for the first time the claim of the USA to have a say in the future political order of the world was raised.

In 1942, University of Chicago physicist Enrico Fermi achieved the first controlled nuclear chain reaction as part of the Manhattan Project, which aimed to build nuclear weapons.

Downturn and Recovery (From 1945 to Late 20th Century)
The population reached its maximum in 1950 (3.62 million inhabitants); thereafter it declined steadily by a total of around 840,000 inhabitants until 1990 due to the (largely white) middle class migrating to the suburbs. Since the early 1990s, the population has recovered.

From 1955 to 1976, as mayor, Richard J. Daley played a key role in shaping Chicago politics; he also played a significant role in the Democratic Party, including supporting the presidential nominations of John F. Kennedy in 1960 and Hubert Humphrey in 1968. During his administration, the brutal crackdown on anti-war protesters fell in 1968. During the Democratic National Convention in August 1968, it came to pass violent riots against the Vietnam War. In 1969, the Chicago Seven were indicted for this.

In 1979 Jane Byrne became Chicago's first female mayor and in 1983 Harold Washington became the first black mayor. Democrat Washington's challenger in the 1983 mayoral election was Republican Bernard Epton, who had the support of many white Democrats and grassroots organizations. Epton received 90 percent of all votes in predominantly white boroughs and only 3 percent in those with predominantly black populations. At Washington, the numbers were reversed. Overall, Harold Washington won by four percentage points. He certainly won re-election in the spring of 1987. He ruled Chicago until his death in November 1987.

Center of the region (21st century)
Since the beginning of the 21st century, the city's status as the cultural and economic center of the region has been undisputed. But the city is also dealing with a high number of gunshot wound victims. In 2016, around 4,300 people were shot, of whom around 760 died.