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The Perfect Visit Title ImageThe Perfect Visit Title Text

One can do and see a lot of great things in the City of Chicago, but there is definitely something that can not be done: See everything in one trip. That is unless your vacation is five years long. But if, like most working folks, your visit to Chicago is limited to a long weekend, a week, or even 10 days, then a little research and planning can go a long way. Chicago is the third most populated city in America (only behind New York City and Los Angeles) so this is a big place with a lot of people. Wherever your interests lie, odds are Chicagoland has it. Like to breed Catalan Sheepdogs? Come to The International Kennel Club Cluster of Dog Shows in February at McCormick Place. Like to watch southeast Asian dancers? Check out the Children's Cambodian Cultural Dance Troupe. If your tastes are slightly less exotic, like say, baseball, the Cubs and White Sox host plenty of home games.

According to the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau, the number one tourist attraction in Chicago, by far, is Navy Pier, which lures well over 8 million visitors annually. The Lincoln Park Zoo and John. G. Shedd Aquarium are next on the list, each bringing in millions of patrons every year. Chicago's major museums - the Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of Science and Industry, and Field Museum - generate massive tourism dollars into Chicago's economy, as well.

The following is a suggested itinerary for the traveler who has a few extra days to spend in the Second City.

 
   
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Day 1 - ThursdayDay 1 - Thursday
  • Fly into O'Hare or Midway Airport.
  • Drop bags off at hotel and go straight to Millennium Park for a picnic brunch (attractions: The Bean, Pritzker Pavilion, Crown Fountain).
  • Venture inside the Art Institute of Chicago and Sears Tower Skydeck.
  • Dinner in the Loop and cocktails at the Redhead Piano Bar.

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Day 2 - FridayDay 2 - Friday
  • Go to one of Chicago's 6 major gardens or Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.
  • Have lunch at Dunlay's on Clark and spend the afternoon shopping in Lincoln Park.
  • Depending on your mood, attend the Joffrey Ballet, Lyric Opera or hit a local rock club.

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Day 3 - SaturdayDay 3 - Saturday
  • Morning sail on Lake Michigan or boat ride on the river.
  • Hit a professional sporting event.
  • Go to Smoke Daddy for dinner and blues music

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Day 4 - SundayDay 4 - Sunday
  • Visit one of Chicago's thousands of houses of worship.
  • Enjoy Chicago-style pizza for lunch and go to Navy Pier for the day.
  • Catch a music show at Ravinia or a Broadway musical downtown.

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Day 5 - MondayDay 5 - Monday
  • Breakfast at The Signature Room at the John Hancock Center.
  • Shop the Magnificent Mile in the morning.
  • Enjoy lunch and free entertainment with Chicago's workers at Daley Plaza by "the Picasso."
  • Visit Oak Park (attractions include Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio, Unity Temple, Ernest Hemingway Museum).

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