The Windy City.
Rooms From €89 (Per Room)
Chicago is the major metropolis of America's heartland, with three million people hustling and bustling in the city of skyscrapers that appears to rise straight out of the waters of Lake Michigan, in northern Illinois. Once a gangster's hang-out synonymous with infamous names such as Al Capone and Bonnie and Clyde, the 'windy city' today has a squeaky-clean reputation as an international business and commercial capital boasting an eclectic mix of architecture, world-class theatre, art exhibitions, fantastic music and super-enthusiastic sportsmanship.
Chicago emerged as a rough and tough survivor after being destroyed in the Great Fire of 1871, and a huge influx of immigrants from all over the world in the early 20th century brought with them a determined spirit infusing the city with ethnic diversity and the unmistakable sound of Chicago-style blues music. Chicagoans have built a city that is to be reckoned with, boasting soaring skyscrapers like the Sears Tower (one of the tallest in the world); thriving ethnic neighbourhoods; a lakefront business district, the re-energised downtown; unbeatable shopping along the famed Michigan Avenue; and top-class sports teams.
One thing that does not attract visitors to Chicago is the weather, which, because of its geographical location is breezy at best, and freezing and gale-ridden at worst. It is possible to ignore the weather though, especially in summer, when getting caught up in the myriad of things to do, see and experience in this Midwestern metropolis - there are 30 excellent museums alone.
We have featured the largest selection of USA city break destinations available on any Irish website and there is somewhere there for everyone.
We work with all the major Airlines and can book these for you with full flexibility through our in-house systems.
There are currently direct flights from Ireland to the USA with Aer Lingus, United Airlines, Delta Airlines, American Airlines and US Airways. There are also many connections via the UK with British Airways, Virgin and other airlines.We have just given a brief glimpse of what we can offer you, please feel free to browse more or if there is a destination you would like to know more about call now on 01 853 5000, email [email protected], send us a quick message or complete the enquiry form - we will be delighted to help you, its all part of the Platinum Service!
There are regular direct flights to Chicago from Ireland with Aer Lingus, American Airlines and United Airlines and numerous connections via the UK or USA.
Average flight time from Ireland to Chicago is 7-8 hours.
When it comes to planning out how to reach your destination, Platinum Travel have all the air travel expertise to help you get the best route to your final location.
As a licensed and bonded Travel Agent we have access to negotiated contract and wholesale fares with airlines worldwide. Our Travel Concierge team members will help you with the best connections and airlines to suit your own personal requirements.
For many destinations a number of flights may be required and sometimes it will include arriving into one airport and leaving from another. We will ensure you have the best combination of flights to do this and make sure you cover the necessary MCT (minimum connecting time) so that you have the best opportunity of a smooth and easy journey.
Several airlines have introduced many ancillary charges such as seat assignments, checked bags, priority boarding etc. Platinum Travel will look after these for you and book you at the best available bundle package at the best price. Upgraded airline fares, lounge access & Fasttrack are also available and again Platinum Travel know how to avail of the best value for these extras.
Platinum Travel are a fully licensed and bonded travel agent so you have a lot more protection with us than with the internet (airlines are not bonded).
Among both the busiest airports in the world, and the most important air traffic hubs in the US, Chicago O'Hare International Airport is the primary flight destination in the American Midwest. Located 17 miles (27km) northwest of the Chicago Loop, the facility serves an astounding 77 million passengers each year.
Flights to Chicago O'Hare are available on a variety of arilines from dozens of cities worldwide, including nearly every major airport in the US and Canada. The facility is wildly popular, having earned the title of Best Airport in North America from several prominent travel publications numerous times over the last ten years.
The four passenger terminals at Chicago O'Hare can be a little confusing to first-time visitors, but the friendly staff is always on hand to help out. Visitors can enjoy a plethora of dining and shopping choices, or just stroll over to Terminal 1 to view the four-story brachiosaurus dinosaur skeleton in Concourse B.
Location Chicago O'Hare is located 17 miles (30km) northwest of Chicago.
Getting to the city Blue Line trains run every few minutes between the airport and downtown Chicago; the journey takes around 40 minutes and the fare is $2.25. For safety reasons travellers are advised against using the Blue Line at night. Taxi ranks are situated outside the arrivals hall in each of the airport terminals; the fare is around $40 for the 30-45-minute journey from the airport to downtown Chicago. There are two airport express services, Continental and Omega (phone: 773-734- 6688) which have coaches leaving from all the terminals every 10 minutes to central Chicago; the Omega Airport Shuttle also links O'Hare to Midway Airport. Taxi fares above are intended as a guideline only.
Time GMT -6 (GMT -5 from March to November).
Contacts Tel: +1 773 686 2200 or 773 686 3700.
Chicago has the largest public transportation system in the country and getting around the city is fast, easy and inexpensive, with an extensive network of rapid transit trains and buses. The train system has both underground lines and elevated tracks above the city and is known as the El; most visitors only use the El, but buses also cover every part of the city including the suburbs, albeit less regularly. Most train lines run 24 hours a day, with Overnight or Night Owl services taking over between midnight and 5am, though only on some lines. The Metra commuter trains link the city to the outer suburbs, including Lake Michigan, Hyde Park and McCormick Place. Fares for the bus, subway and the El are standard, and a variety of visitor passes are available offering more economical travel. During the summer months, a free trolley system operates in the downtown area, connecting Chicago's top cultural attractions, shopping areas and visitor destinations. Taxis are easy to find, and the metered rates are reasonable for short journeys. Although traffic is not as bad as in other major cities (outside rush hour), parking is expensive and difficult to find.
Of all America's large cities, Chicago just might rank as the friendliest. And what it lacks in New York bravado and LA style, Chicago makes up for in the astonishing variety of its architecture, vibrant culture and thriving art scene, highlighted by the Art Institute of Chicago. It is also a true family-friendly destination with world-class attractions such as the Field Museum and Shedd Aquarium.
With so much to see, its worth getting a sense of perspective from the start. Visit the John Hancock Observatory for a view of the city from 1000ft (600m) in the air. Then check out Navy Pier for a 3-D motion simulation of Chicago's fascinating history and exciting future. Afterwards, hop on a boat tour departing from the adjoining pier.
A good option for visitors is the Go Chicago Card which gives you admission to all the city's key attractions, shopping and dining discounts, various free tours and a guide book.
The windy city may not at first glance seem like a city that caters to the little ones, but children on holiday in Chicago will find there are more than enough attractions and activities to keep them busy.
On clear days, enjoy the panoramic views over the city form atop the iconic Sears Tower, which was renamed the 'Willis Tower' on 16 July 2009, or the Hancock Observatory or enjoy a stroll through Lincoln Park or the Chicago Botanic Gardens on a sunny day. When it's really hot, head off to one of the many indoor playgrounds or even the CoCo Key Water Resort where children can splash around for hours in the massive water park. The Navy Pier is a great place to walk along the docks and enjoy the spectacular views from the Ferris wheel or even a ride on the carousel or the funhouse.
When the wind is blowing and the rain bucketing down, take the kids to the any one of the fascinating and exciting museums Chicago has to offer. With so many attractions on offer and plenty more lurking round every corner, children on holiday in Chicago will be just as enchanted with this city as their parents.
The fact that Chicago has a city-appointed Director of Fashion tells you that this is a great place to shop for haute couture. If you want to dress for success there is one destination: The Magnificent Mile along Michigan Avenue. Along an eight-block stretch over 460 stores offer luxury items and fashion bargains to suit most budgets. Another area worth exploring is Oak Street, a renowned concentration of designers and salons.
Chicago is equally famous for its art and antiques dealers which are congregated around the River North Gallery District. And on Sunday mornings don't miss the Maxwell Street Market, with over 500 stalls selling everything under the sun. Get there early and don't be afraid to bargain.
Malls and department stores are open from 10am to 9pm Monday to Saturday; 12pm to 6pm Sundays. A GST of 8.75% is levied on most products and is added at point of purchase, not on the price tag.
By some estimation there are over 6,000 restaurants in Chicago, representing just about every cuisine across every price range imaginable. It can certainly be a thrilling experience to eat an authentic Ethiopian meal or a true south Goan curry under the shadow of the Sears Tower.
Chicago has been earning a growing reputation at the cuisine capital of America, with its concentration of award-winning chefs and world-beating fine dining establishments. Two local restaurants - Alinea and Charlie Trotter's - recently made the influential San Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants list for 2008.
While Chicago offers everything from haute cuisine to hotdogs with all the trimmings, its true specialty is the world-famous deep-dish pizza invented at Pizzeria Uno in 1943 and now available throughout the city.
Top areas for dining include trendy Lincoln Park, China Town, Little Italy, and Pilsen, a Mexican neighbourhood.
Chicago's unassuming nightlife scene comes as a refreshing change to other US cities and although most locals prefer to stay close to what they know and hang out at their local watering hole, Chicago still has its fair share of hip and happening places to see and be seen in.
Most nightclubs and music bars are dotted throughout the windy city with the most popular haunts located in Lincoln Park, Wicker Park and Lakeview where revellers can find music clubs devoted to just about every genre from rhythm and blues and jazz to alternative rock and Indie. The city's waterfront nightlife is popular with residents and tourists alike while the piano bars at The Drake Hotel and the Ambassador East Hotel's Pump Room are favourites with locals.
Wells Street in the Old Town offers some great restaurants and bars as well as the popular Zanies Comedy Club. Chicago's gay scene is grouped together on a stretch of North Halsted Street in Lakeview and men's bars dominate the strip.
The birthplace of house music in the 1980s, Chicago has plenty of loud and pumping clubs full of 20-somethings dancing the night away to the latest offerings of the resident DJ. Many of these types of clubs pop up and disappear at a dizzying rate while others have been around for decades.
The culture scene in Chicago is bustling with shows and plays running throughout the year at renowned Chicago theatre companies, such as Steppenwolf Theatre Company, the Goodman Theatre, and the Victory Gardens Theater. Broadway-style entertainment can be found at the LaSalle Bank Theater and the Cadillac Palace Theater. And when in town, a visit to Symphony Center to hear the Chicago Symphony Orchestra perform is an absolute must.