State: Illinois. Capital: Springfield. Largest City: Chicago.
Enjoy a luxury holiday to Chicago with Elegant Resorts and you'll find a city of firsts and world records. It is home to America's oldest skyscrapers, it is the birthplace of America's finest writer, Ernest Hemingway and it is where America's most famous architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, still chooses to make his home.
It's is an excellent starting point for exploring the legendary Route 66 - a 2488 mile stretch of highway linking Chicago with Los Angeles on the west coast. The city buzzes with a unique energy of its own, and is home to world-class dining, shopping and entertainment. There are plenty of vibrant jazz and blues venues that stay open until the not-so-early hours of the morning - if you visit the legendary Green Mill you might be able to sit in Al Capone's favourite booth, ideally placed so that he could keep his eye on both doors. Keep your diary open because, our featured property, The Peninsula, Chicago hosts 'Chocolate at the Pen' every Friday and Saturday night, when the lobby transforms into a sophisticated chocolate bar complete with live entertainment.
The Magnificent Mile
World renowned as one of the finest retail and dining destinations, this stylish stretch of avenue is lined with some 460 stores, 275 restaurants, hotels and entertainment venues.
This road borders the edge of Lake Michigan its lakeside beaches and pretty parkland. You can also walk or jog along the designated Lakefront Trail.
The Navy Pier
One of the city's top tourist attractions, the historic Navy Pier is the perfect place to enjoy Lake Michigan. there are parks and gardens, promenades and shops, restaurants and a beer garden, sightseeing boat trips and dinner cruises that leave from the South Dock, a Ferris wheel, an IMAX Theatre, stage shows and a dedicated family pavilion.
Formerly the Sears Tower, Willis Tower was once the world's tallest building and visitors can travel to the 103rd floor Skydeck observatory for fantastic city views. Those feeling brave can stetp outside into a glass box and look down to the ground - if they dare!
Art Institute of Chicago
There are some fascinating art galleries and museums to visit, including the Art Institute - one of Chicago's leading cultural attractions and the State's second largest art museum. The collections include a mixture of art, drawings, photographs and textiles created by artists from around the world.
Take a sightseeing boat ride along the Chicago River and marvel at the scale of the state-of-the-art, high-rise design that the city encapsulates, as well as the outstanding architecture that the city is known for, with points of interest including Tribune Tower, the Wrigley Building, Marina City, Trump Tower and Willis Tower. Alternatively, you could head up to The Peninsula Chicago's Spa which boasts views of Lake Michigan and the Gold Coast.
A great way to acquaint yourself with the city and take in the sights without doing too much walking is to hop on and off one of the city's classic Green or Red Trolleys or double-decker buses.
If you love jazz and/or the blues, time your visit to coincide with one of the hundreds of festivals and parades that take place each year - feel free to ask your Travel Consultant for the most up-to-date details.
Whilst largely undeserving of its nickname, the `Windy City', Chicago is nevertheless rather brisk during the winter months and the gales, snow and low temperatures keep most sensible people indoors. In the summer months, Chicago gets extremely hot, whilst spring can be unpredictable, making autumn (September to November), when it’s sunny and mild, probably the best time to visit.
These figures show monthly average maximum temperatures and monthly average rainfall for Chicago.
British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and United Airlines direct from London Heathrow. American Airlines direct from London Heathrow and Manchester.
From London Heathrow to O'Hare International, Chicago: 8 hours, 35 minutes.
Travelling With Children or Without an Adult
Children travelling without both parents should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country (for example, South Africa) or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country. Please contact the relevant Embassy for the county you are travelling to for further information.
Visa and Advance Passenger Information
All passengers must ensure they have a valid, acceptable passport, any required visa and any other documentation for both the final destination and any stop-off points en route. Please make sure that Advance Passenger Information is submitted in advance to travel for all destinations. Failure to hold correct documentation or submitting incorrect details with Advance Passenger Information or Visa applications may result in refusal of carriage or entry into a country. Please check with the relevant Embassy regarding visa requirements well in advance of your travel date. Charges may apply for some visas.
Travel Advice Update
The FCO travel advice for the USA has been updated with an amendment to the Entry requirements section - on 18 December 2015, the US Congress passed a Bill updating the requirements for the Visa Waiver Programme (VWP); under the new rules, with effect from 1 April 2016 all travellers wishing to enter the US under the VWP will need to hold a passport with an integrated chip.
The web-based Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) requires all passengers (including infants) travelling via or to the USA to apply for authority to travel a minimum of 72 hours prior to travel. You may be denied boarding or refused entry to the US if you have not registered and obtained authorisation. To apply visit the official website: https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/ A charge of UD$14 per person (subject to change) will apply and must be paid by either credit or debit card.
For up-to-date resort information, visit www.fco.gov.uk
Customs and Border Protection programme Global Entry gets pre-approved travellers through border control faster at some US airports. If you’re a British citizen and a frequent visitor to the USA you can now register to get a UK background check on www.gov.uk/apply-faster-entry-usa. If you pass the background checks, you’ll be invited to apply for Global Entry.
Passengers not travelling on a British Passport are advised to contact their relevant Foreign & Commonwealth office for individual Visa requirements.
For up-to-date resort information, visit www.fco.gov.uk
Health facilities, hygiene and disease risks vary worldwide and you should take health advice about your specific needs from your general practitioner or a specialist clinic as early as possible before travel. Those planning to become pregnant should discuss their travel plans with their healthcare provider to assess their risk of infection with Zika. For information about Zika, other mosquito-borne diseases (such as Dengue fever and Chikungunya), Lyme Disease (caused by tick bites), and to receive advice on mosquito bite avoidance measures, please visit http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/insect-tick-bite-avoidance/
In addition, we highly recommend that you seek specialist advice from your doctor and, where recommended, obtain vaccinations or tablets for protection against, for example: Malaria, Hepatitis A, Polio and Typhoid. In some cases, treatments for Malaria should begin well in advance of travel. Travellers may also be required to show Yellow Fever Certificates on arrival in certain destinations ie, some African countries. Please note that you are strongly advised against scuba-diving for 24 hours before travelling by air. We would also like to draw your attention to the risk of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) and recommend that you consult with your doctor before travelling.
Visit the FCO website and select your destination country for the very latest travel advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
Additional sources of information include: www.hpa.org.uk, http://nathnac.net,
www.fco.gov.uk, www.hpa.org.uk and www.nathnac.org, your General Practitioner or a specialised clinic.