Chicago, Illinois

Welcome to Chicago, Illinois. This photographic walking tour of the Windy City shows you the places to visit plus the beautiful skyline filled with skyscrapers overlooking Lake Michigan. It is the world’s largest body of freshwater in one country. Chicago is the perfect tourist destination for a day or week.

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1 Chicago Place Marquee in Chicago, Illinois

Welcome to Chicago, the United States’ third largest city with a population of 9.5 million people in the metro area. The Windy City has so much to offer including famous shopping districts, professional sports, spectacular museums and art venues, a beautiful downtown skyline that overlooks Lake Michigan, a strong hub for business and financial companies, excellent colleges, and scrumptious food. It’s a perfect tourist destination.

700 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
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2 Downtown Skyline and Lake Michigan in Chicago, Illinois

This panoramic view of downtown Chicago from Northerly Island shows why it is often called the prettiest cityscape in the U.S. The pleasure boats are moored at Monroe Harbor in Lake Michigan. South Lake Shore Drive runs parallel to the green space called Grant Park. The horizon is defined by countless towers paying silent tribute to the world’s first skyscraper – The Home Insurance Building – built in Chicago in 1884.

E 14th St, Chicago, IL 60605
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3 Adler Planetarium Entrance in Chicago, Illinois

Beneath this dome on Northerly Island along the shore of Lake Michigan is the Adler Planetarium. It offers three theaters, countless science and space exhibitions plus the Doane Observatory whose enormous telescope allows the public to see planets and stars that are light years away. When the planetarium opened in 1930, it was named after Max Adler who was an executive at Sears Roebuck & Company before becoming a philanthropist and the project’s major benefactor.

1300 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60605
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4 Shedd Aquarium Building Entrance in Chicago, Illinois

If it swims, there is a good chance you’ll sea it (pun intended) at the Shedd Aquarium on the Museum Campus on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago. Two million people a year visit the 25,000 fish plus otters, sea lions, turtles, sharks, dolphins and even beluga whales that are exhibited in their five million gallons of water. The building is named after John Graves Shedd, the second chairman of Marshal Field’s and a major philanthropist who helped fund the aquarium.

1200 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60605
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5 Man With Fish Statue in Chicago, Illinois

Before I write about a photo for this site, I research it using several sources. Sometimes it can take an hour or up to a day just to determine what the subject is. But this statue in front of the Shedd Aquarium was easy to find. Just Google “Man with Fish” and you’ve correctly identified this sculpture created by Stephan Balkenhol in 2001. It is probably the oddest water fountain among the two hundred that grace Chicago.

1200 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60605
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6 The Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, Illinois

Since 1921, the Field Museum of Natural History has been part of the Museum Campus along the shores of Lake Michigan in Chicago. Dinosaur lovers enjoy seeing Sue. She is the largest and best-preserved Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton in the world dating back about 67 million years. Other exhibits include animal dioramas, an enormous gem collection, an Egyptian gallery (complete with mummies) plus the history of the Americas and the planet.

1400 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60605
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7 Veteran’s Memorial Family Detail at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois

Nestled between Soldier Field and the Field Museum in the Chicago Park District is the “Memorial Water Fall.” It is a 128 foot long bronze monument to the veterans of the armed forces and, just as important, to the families of those who served. An example is this detail of a sailor with his wife holding a small child. Beneath this sculpture are the words, “Soldier Field … Dedicated to the defenders of liberty.”

455 E McFetridge Dr., Chicago, IL 60605
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8 Buckingham Fountain and Downtown Skyline in Chicago, Illinois

The Buckingham Fountain, which resembles a multi-layer wedding cake, was built in 1927 with pink marble in a French 18th century style called Rococo. The 1.5 million gallon fountain in Grant Park apparently represents Lake Michigan which is nearby. During light, music and water shows, 193 jets blast streams of water as high as 150 feet.

301 S Columbus Dr, Chicago, IL 60605
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9 Art Institute of Chicago Lion Statue in Chicago, Illinois

Nearly two million people annually visit the Art Institute of Chicago in Grant Park. They all walk by a pair of bronze, lion statues that majestically guard the entrance of the museum. When Edward Kemeys sculpted them in 1893, he claimed that this north lion was “on the prowl.”

111 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603
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10 The Bean and Downtown Skyscrapers in Chicago, Illinois

This enormous dome is the $23 million Cloud Gate public art by Anish Kapoor in Millennium Park. Reflected by some of its 168 steel plates is AT&T Plaza where winter visitors come to watch skaters at the McCormick Tribune Plaza and Ice Rink. Behind “The Bean” are some of downtown’s skyscrapers including the Crain Communications Building, Trump International Hotel and Tower, One Prudential Plaza, Two Prudential Plaza and Aon Building on the far right.

55 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Illinois
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11 Downtown Reflection in Cloud Gate The Bean in Chicago, Illinois

This concave reflection of downtown Chicago was generated by the Cloud Gate. This curiosity is an enormous (33x66x42 foot), stainless steel sculpture by Anish Kapoor in the AT&T Plaza located in Millennium Park. Also called “The Bean” and inspired by liquid mercury, the artwork acts like a giant funhouse mirror. It warps and distorts the images of delighted tourists and especially children since its debut in May of 2006.

55 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Illinois
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12 Jay Pritzker Pavilion Close Up in Chicago, Illinois

These abstract shapes of polished stainless steel within a spoke and wheel design are part of the Jay Pritzker Pavilion. This bandshell hosts numerous outdoor concerts including rehearsals and performances by the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra and Chorus plus the Grant Park Music Festival. The $60 million pavilion is located in Millennium Park between the downtown Loop and the shore of Lake Michigan.

201 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60601
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13 Skyscrapers from Wrigley Square in Chicago, Illinois

The William Wrigley Jr. Foundation, named after the founder of the chewing gum company, donated money to build the Wrigley Square and the Millennium Monument in the foreground. This semicircle with Doric columns is a replica of Grant Park’s original monument. The prominent buildings in the photo are, from left to right: Crain Communications Building, Trump International Hotel and Tower, Carbide & Carbon Building, Millennium Park Plaza, 225 North Michigan and One Prudential Plaza.

201 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60601
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14 Nine Skyscrapers Viewed from Millennium Park in Chicago, Illinois

In the foreground is the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. While listening to concerts from this bandshell, you have a marvelous view of nine Chicago skyscrapers that were built during the last sixty years. They are, from left to right: Crain Communications Building (582 feet; 1984), Trump International Hotel and Tower (1,389 feet; 2009), Millennium Park Plaza (400 feet; 1982), One Prudential Plaza (601 feet; 1955), Two Prudential Plaza (995 feet; 1990), Aon Center (1,136 feet; 1974), Aqua Tower (859 feet; 2009), Blue Cross and Blue Shield Building (797 feet; 1995-2010) and 340 on the Park (672 feet; 2007).

201 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60602
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15 Favrile Glass Ceiling Former Marshall’s Store in Chicago, Illinois

When Marshall Field & Company opened their flagship store in 1907, they unveiled this stunning ceiling made from 1.6 million pieces of small iridescent art glass called Favrile. It was designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany, the son of the founder of the Tiffany’s luxury jeweler. Marshall Field’s, once the world’s largest department store, was acquired by Dayton-Hudson in 1990, then the May Company in 2004, followed by the Federated Department Store a year later. In 2006, it was renamed as Macy’s. Despite all of these owners, this ceiling still shines brightly.

111 North State Street, Chicago, IL 60602
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16 Crain Communications Building in Chicago, Illinois

One of the most recognized features of the Chicago skyline is what most people call “The Diamond Building” because of its unique, slanted, diamond-shaped top. Although the 582 foot skyscraper has had several names since it was built in 1984 – such as the Smurfit–Stone Building and the Stone Container Building – it is now called the Crain Communications Building since it became the company’s headquarters in 2012. The Trump International Hotel and Tower stands in the background.

150 N Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60601
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17 Woman Wearing Chicago Baseball Cap Mural by Mark McMahon in Chicago, Illinois

On the corner of South Federal Street and Van Buren Street is a series of paintings on ceramic tiles that portrays images of Chicago, like this woman wearing a yellow baseball cap alongside the Crain Communications Building. The mural project by Mark McMahon is 125 feet long on the General Parking Corporation Building.

400 S Federal St, Chicago, IL 60604
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18 Carbide & Carbon Building in Chicago, Illinois

The locals believe that this 503 foot Carbide & Carbon Building on Michigan Avenue was built with green terracotta and a gold leaf top to resemble a champagne bottle, perhaps to celebrate the significant successes of industrial companies during the Gilded Age. Ironically, the 37 floor skyscraper opened in 1929 just as the stock market crashed and the Great Depression began. It is now the Hard Rock Hotel Chicago.

230 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60601
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19 Chicago River in Downtown Chicago, Illinois

The Chicago River is a 156 mile waterway forming a “Y” along Wacker Drive. The split into the north and south branches defines several districts of central Chicago before flowing into Lake Michigan. In 1900, civil engineers reversed its direction by building a series of canal locks. This view shows the DuSable Bridge, also called the Michigan Avenue Bridge. In the center is the Wrigley Building and on the left is the base of Trump Tower.

229 N State St, Chicago, IL 60601
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20 Irv Kupcinet Statue in Chicago, Illinois

This bronze statue by artist Preston Jackson honors Irv Kupcinet who was better known by Chicagoans as “Kup.” For nearly sixty years he wrote a daily column in the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper. He was also a radio and TV personality plus one of several hosts of The Tonight Show in 1957. He was inducted into Chicago’s Journalism Hall of Fame in 1982.

52 E Upper Wacker Dr., Chicago, IL 60601
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21 Merchandise Mart and Chicago River in Chicago, Illinois

When the Marshall Field & Company opened the Merchandise Mart in 1930, the Art Deco building’s four million square feet made it the largest building in the world for 14 years. Today, half of its space contains wholesale showrooms that are not open to the public. Each year it hosts over 1,000 exhibitors at NeoCon, which is the National Exposition of Contract Furnishings. And since 1991 it is also home to The Shops at the Mart.

222 W Merchandise Mart Plaza, Chicago, IL 60654
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22 The L Train on Steel Girder Platform in Chicago, Illinois

The Chicago “L” is a network of mass transit trains that rumble on elevated platforms and steel girder bridges around downtown and especially the Loop. Each weekday it carries over 700,000 people. It began in 1892 and the Chicago Transit Authority provides 24 hour service on some lines.

204 W Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60606
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23 Willis Tower Formerly Sears Tower in Chicago, Illinois

When the Sears Tower, now called the Willis Tower, was built in 1973 for the Sears Roebuck & Company, it was the world’s tallest skyscraper. Its construction is actually nine separate buildings called “tubes.” They end at various floors until two of them reach the top at 1,451 feet above Wacker Drive. There is a public observation deck on the 108th floor called Skydeck.

233 S Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60606
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24 Downtown Chicago Aerial View from Willis Tower in Chicago, Illinois

Formerly named the Sears Tower, the Willis Tower soars 1,451 feet over the Chicago Loop’s west side. It was the tallest building in the world for 25 years after its completion in 1973. The Skydeck on the 103rd floor provides over one million visitors a year with breathtaking vistas of downtown. If you are adventurous, you will also love walking into the all-glass box. This suspended lookout provides a vertigo-inducing view of the street 1,353 feet below. Approximately 30,000 people live in The Loop.

233 S Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60606
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25 Continental Illinois Bank Building in Chicago, Illinois

This splendid, neo-classical building with six Ionic columns supporting a pediment with an eagle relief once was the headquarters of the Continental Illinois Bank. Founded in 1883, it became the seventh largest U.S. bank. 101 years later, however, it collapsed during a “run on the bank” when $10 billion was withdrawn within weeks. After being considered “too big to fail,” it was seized by the FDIC in the biggest bailout until the financial crisis in 2008. Ten years later, in 1994, it was acquired by BankAmerica.

231 S LaSalle St, Chicago, IL 60603
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26 Chicago Board of Trade Building in Chicago, Illinois

On the LaSalle street façade of the Chicago Board of Trade Building are these sandstone carvings of an Egyptian man holding grain, an eagle and a Native American with corn stalks. They surround a 13 foot clock with Roman numerals. This 605 foot art deco skyscraper was Chicago’s tallest from 1930 until 1965. Over half of the space still serves trading activities including the CME Group which resulted from a merger between the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the Chicago Board of Trade.

141 W Jackson Blvd, Chicago, IL 60604
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27 Colorful Building Evolution in Chicago, Illinois

Over the decades, the buildings in downtown Chicago have gotten larger, more flamboyant and added lots of colors. This view along West Congress Parkway is a great example. In the middle is the 16 floor, brown Manhattan Building that opened in 1891. Behind it is the 44 story CNA Center that was painted a bright red when it was built in 1973. The green pediment belongs to the 1991 Harold Washington Library. And in 2012, the Roosevelt University Building, also called the Vertical Campus, became one of the newest skyscrapers in the skyline with its blue glass cladding.

74 W Congress Pkwy, Chicago, IL 60605
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28 Harold Washington Library Center Façade in Chicago, Illinois

Chicago Mayor Harold Washington helped spearhead the building of a new central location for the Chicago Public Library. This red brick façade with large arched windows, rope friezes and a green pediment made from steel, aluminum and glass makes it look much older than its 1991 completion date. It is named the Harold Washington Library Center in honor of the former mayor.

400 S State St, Chicago, IL 60605
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29 Fat Cat Balloon Strangling Construction Worker in Chicago, Illinois

This enormous fat cat balloon who is strangling a construction worker apparently is the mascot of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters. This inflatable character tours the U.S. to help protest what the group calls unscrupulous contractors. What I found interesting about its appearance in downtown Chicago was someone’s bike was paddle locked to the fire hydrant. It looked as if the man in the hardhat had been snatched off his bicycle seat by the evil looking feline.

12 E Erie St, Chicago, IL 60611
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30 Father Time Clock in Chicago, Illinois

The next time you are walking along the Chicago River in The Loop district, make sure to find this delightful clock at the intersection of East Wacker and Walbash Avenue. The five foot statue of Father Time is depicted as an old, bearded man with wings who carries an hourglass and scythe. The ornate, eight ton clock was gifted by the Elgin Watch Company to the Chicago Jeweler’s Association in 1926.

35 E Wacker Pl # 260, Chicago, IL 60601
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31 Defense of Fort Dearborn Sculpture on Michigan Avenue Bridge in Chicago, Illinois

In 1804, long before Chicago was a big city, Fort Dearborn was built on the Chicago River where the Magnificent Mile now begins. On August 15, 1812, the fort was attacked by Potawatomi Indians who killed 86 of the soldiers and their families. This 1928 bas-relief sculpture by Henry Hering is on the south bridge house of the Michigan Avenue Bridge (also called the DuSable Bridge). It shows Ensign George Ronan, from the Army’s 1st infantry regiment, during the battle shortly before he was killed.

362 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60601
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32 Wrigley Building on Magnificent Mile in Chicago, Illinois

William Wrigley Jr., the founder of the chewing gum company, had this 425 foot south tower of the Wrigley Building built in 1921. Its white, terracotta façade and 19.7 foot tall clock glows by day in the sunlight and then from floodlights at night. He was majority owner of the Chicago Cubs which is why Wrigley Field is named after him.

410 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
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33 Wrigley Building Towers and Trump Tower in Chicago, Illinois

Downtown Chicago is an exciting blend of old and new skyscrapers with dramatically different styles. In the foreground is the Wrigley Building with its south tower on the left which is connected by skyways to the north tower on the third and fourteenth floors. Their combined 51 floors blanch in comparison to the 98 story Trump Tower behind it.

400 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
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34 Trump Tower Chicago in Chicago, Illinois

The Trump International Hotel and Tower along the northern bank of the Chicago River reaches an impressive 1,389 feet. It cost nearly $850 million to build in 2009. Named after Donald Trump – the prolific real estate developer and later the President of the United States – has 98 floors of condominiums and hotel rooms, The skyscraper is slightly shorter than the Willis Tower located nearby in The Loop.

401 N Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
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35 Marina City Twin Towers in Chicago, Illinois

When the twin towers of Marina City were completed in 1964, they had three distinctions: the world’s tallest residential and concrete buildings plus the first to use tower cranes to build the 65 story, 587 foot structures. When you stare up at the circular honeycomb or corncob shaped buildings, it is odd to see that the first 19 floors are dedicated to parking. The remaining floors are condominiums with spectacular views of the Chicago River and The Loop.

290 N State St, Chicago, IL 60601
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36 Tribune Tower on North Michigan Avenue in Chicago, Illinois

The most fascinating neo-gothic architectural features of the Tribune Tower in Chicago are the cathedral style buttresses just below the crown-shaped peak but, unfortunately, they are 462 feet above North Michigan Avenue. Built for the Chicago Tribune newspaper in 1925, this landmark also offices the Tribune Media and Publishing groups plus WGN Radio.

435 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
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37 Broadcaster Jack Brickhouse Bust on Magnificent Mile in Chicago, Illinois

From his first radio broadcast until his retirement in 1981, John Beasley “Jack” Brickhouse was the voice of Chicago sports, including the Cubs, White Sox, three World Series, the Bears, two NFL Championship Games, the Bulls, and even an occasional boxing match. His classic enthusiastic phrases, such as, “Hey Hey!” were forever lost when he died in 1998. He has been inducted into fourteen Halls of Fame. This bronze bust on in Pioneer Court in Magnificent Mile in Chicago, Illinois, is a lasting tribute to a great broadcaster. It was sculpted by Jerry McKenna.

419 N Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611
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38 Chicago Water Tower in Chicago, Illinois

Although the 154 foot tall Chicago Water Tower is physically dwarfed by neighboring skyscrapers, it is one of the oldest and most recognized landmarks along Michigan Avenue in the Magnificent Mile shopping district. The limestone tower was created as a station to pump water from Lake Michigan. Two years after it was built in 1869, it was among the few buildings to survive the Great Chicago Fire. It is now the City Gallery sponsored by the Chicago Office of Tourism.

806 Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611
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39 Red Demon Detail of ChiTown Mural by Gajin Fujita in Chicago, Illinois

The Grand Avenue viaduct under Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, Illinois, has a long wall mural by Japanese American artist, Gajin Fujita. The “ChiTown” consists of bold images like this demon and also gentle Japanese ones amongst a backdrop of simulated graffiti. It was painted in 2012 as part of the BIGart project at Navy Pier that sponsors outdoor art and sculpture, some of which are by renowned artists. Fujita is a graffiti artist from Los Angeles.

530 N Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60611
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40 Crystal Gardens at Navy Pier Dock in Chicago, Illinois

After taking a water taxi or sightseeing boat along Lake Michigan, you will dock at the Navy Pier in front of the Crystal Gardens. This six-story, glass atrium is a botanical garden and popular wedding venue. However, this view will probably change by 2016 because Chicago’s most popular landmark that attracts nearly nine million people a year is undergoing a $115 million renovation that’s scheduled for completion in time for the pier’s centennial birthday.

600 E Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
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41 Beer Garden and Hall Twin Towers at Navy Pier in Chicago, Illinois

Since it was built in 1906, the 3,300 foot Navy Pier has evolved from a dock for Lake Michigan freighters to a Navy training center during WWII to facilities for the University of Illinois and, after 1976, into fifty acres of restaurants, rides, theaters, stages, exhibition space and public walkways. At the end of the pier is the Landshark Beer Garden and, behind it, the twin towers of “The Hall” that contains the Grand Ballroom.

840 E Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
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42 Chicago Harbor Light and Sailboat in Chicago, Illinois

The Chicago Harbor Lighthouse was built in 1893 and then moved in 1919 to its current location along the northern breakwater near the Navy Pier. It has been a beacon for ships big and small sailing in Lake Michigan, the only Great Lake entirely within the United States.

840 E Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
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