A jagged skyline that rivals New York and yet fewer people in the streets jostling for public space.
Boasting architecture that is mind-boggling and perhaps the best among the US cities, Chicago indeed is the City of Big Shoulders as mentioned in the poem of Carl Sandburg.
With its waterways, movable bascule bridges, elevated metro rail track and the tall towers, no wonder it is one of the most cinematic with even India's Bollywood shooting its high-adrenalin buddy-cop-action Dhoom 3 in the city's backdrop.
One of the iconic places in Chicago is the Shedd Aquarium which combines the best of early 20th-century "age of aquariums" characteristics - a diverse, global animal collection surrounded by eye-popping architecture - with 21st-century advances in animal care, environments and interpretation.
Lake Michigan and a part of Chicago skyline from the outer compound of Shedd Aquarium
Shedd Aquarium is the best place in Chicago for your kid's day out
Shedd Aquarium takes you to a different aquatic world
The view of Lake Michigan from Shedd Aquarium is amazing as the dolphins' swimming pool melts with the vast horizon of the lake outside.
Shedd Aquarium campus is sprawling.
Another jaw-dropping experience is surely to take the Chicago Architecture Cruise in which you travel all three branches of the Chicago River, starting down the main branch then traveling the North branch up to Chicago Ave.
Chicago Architecture Cruise has some of the best guides for you to know about the city's architectural heritage.
You learn about each tower as your cruise down the South Branch to Polk Street. In the cruise you see some 50 skyscrapers, bascule bridges, and historic sites.
This river cruise is not to be missed if you want to know about the story behind each building and you know yes, you are in the birthplace of skyscrapers.
As you cruise under the bridges people from above often wave and cheer at you
Chicago River Cruise is a wonderful experience for tourists
Chicago's bascule bridges are famous
The river front of Chicago is the best place to chill out in the evening or perhaps dalylong.
A city of tallest towers of the world.
The Chicago Skyline from a river cruise is amazing
Chicago is a city of skyscraper
An opera house in Chicago after sundown
Chicago by night is amazing
The Chicago Cultural Center should never be missed among the must visit buildings.
Designed by Boston architectural firm Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge for the city's central library, it has an interior as lavish as the limestone exterior was restrained. Sumptuous marbles and vast, vivid mosaics marked the buildingâ€™s grand spaces, some inspired by Venetian landmarks.
Today, the Cultural Center's surmounting glories are a pair of remarkable stained-glass domes.
Grand Army of the Republic Hall features an intricate Renaissance pattern, though the glass is dark with age.
Preston Bradley Hall's enormous Tiffany dome- the world's largest- shines with newly-restored opalescent color.
The installations in the streets of Chicago are some of the best public art works. And this one The Picasso, a monumental sculpture gifted by Picasso, is iconic needless to say.
Some of the public art pieces in Chicago are truly eye-catching and this is one red explosion in steel called Flamingo is by Alexander Calder.
The Chicago Board of Trade
In Chicago, do not miss the Art Institute of Chicago where you can see both masterpieces of the ancient time to modern day creations.
A food truck outside the Art Institute of Chicago
Two majestic bronze lions greet you at the door of the Art Institute of Chicago in the heart of Chicago's Loop.
The Art Institute of Chicago boasts such an immersive experience, the cultural attraction was recognized as one of TripAdvisor's top three museums in the world in 2013, 2014 & 2015.
Art Institute of Chicago exhibits
The monumental stained glass windows - America Windows-created by Marc Chagall for the Art Institute of Chicago
Home to renowned masterpieces- in addition to the third largest collection of art in the country and new groundbreaking exhibits each year - you'll find yourself steeped in art history and education with an event calendar filled with hundreds of insightful gallery talks, films, lectures and performances.
If you love heights and want a bird's eye view of Chicago and the vastness of Lake Michigan, do not miss climbing to the top of bustling community of business, tourism and culture that is Willis Tower, which is much more than North America's tallest building.
Tens of thousands of visitors enjoy the panoramic, sweeping view of f the city from its top Skydeck.
Once you reach the top, you can step out onto The Ledge, a collection of glass boxes that extend over 4 feet out from the side of the building, giving you the opportunity to stare over 1,300 feet straight down.
A view from Willis Tower is to die for
A bird's eye view of Chicago from Willis Tower
And your perfect evening can be a ticket of the famous Lyric Opera of Chicago, one of the leading opera companies in the United States founded in 1954.
The Lyric is housed in the Civic Opera Building, which the company now owns.
An opera show in Chicago is one of the best cultural experiences