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Sightseeing in Chicago

Chicago's main business district, the Loop, named after the elevated railway that circles it is absolutely stunning with its collection of the best of modern architecture. In fact, it is a living chronicle of building styles in the city since the late nineteenth century. These include 110 story Sears Tower with its great views, the Rookery Building built in 1888, the First National Bank Building with its sloping walls dating from 1969, the Marquette building established in 1894 with exquisite terracotta relief work depicting Chicago's history and the stark Monadnock Building built in two phases in 1891 and 1893. Other unusual additions are 333 West Wacker Drive with its undulating curves along the river and green glass front, the Reliance Building constructed in 1894, with the trademark Chicago window. You can also visit the City Hall, the Cook County Building and Richard J Daley Center, and see the city courts and administration John G Shedd Aquarium proceedings.

Other attractions in the Loop include the Museum of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Kraft Education Center, the Harold Washington Library Center, Adler Planetarium and the Field Museum, all defined by stupendous collections, be it fine arts, books, natural history, etc. Major cultural activity venues here are the Fine Arts Building, Chicago Cultural Center, the Auditorium Theater and the Symphony Center.

Magnificent Mile stretching from Chicago River to Oak Street along the Michigan Avenue houses some striking buildings, upscale designer showrooms and a couple of excellent museums. Check out the Wrigley Building, the Tribune Tower dating back to the 1930s and incorporating bits from famous buildings around the world, the Water Tower which survived the Fire of 1871 and the Water Tower Place, filled with shops, restaurants and entertainment arcades. For stupendous views, step into the 100 story John Hancock Center. The museums here are the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Chicago Children's Museum and the Terra Museum of American Art.

The Lincoln Park area is historically significant -- the houses and apartments here date back to the 1800s. Lincoln Park area itself is a pleasant respite from the concrete city structures. The area is also home to the Chicago Historical Society with its collection of memorabilia such as the city's first train and Lincoln's deathbed. The Biograph Theater where the FBI shot John Dillinger is also located here.

Chicago's West Side is where the disastrous fire of 1871 is supposed to have begun. Today it is home to the several migrant groups in the city, all organised into distinct ethnic enclaves -- Little Italy, Greektown, a sizeable Polish settlement and from other European countries.

Oak Park is a historic district, boasting of several homes and buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, the influential architect, including his own home and studio. It is also the birthplace of Ernest Hemingway. River North, a former warehouse district now has trendy shops and restaurants.

The South Side, though marred by the Chicago Stockyards has some interesting neighbourhoods such as Chinatown, the Pilsen district, home to the city's Mexican population, the Irish enclave of Bridgeport and Hyde Park, home to the University of Chicago. Noteworthy buildings in the area include the Glessner House dating back to 1886, the 1836 Clarke House, the oldest building in Chicago, the Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, the Robie House designed by Frank Llyod Wright and the Du sable Museum of African-American History. The Museum of Science and Industry, one of Chicago's most popular tourist spots boasts of a large and exciting collection of both historic and modern engineering marvels.

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