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Chicago Travel & Vacations
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Chicago is a city located in the northeastern part of Illinois, and the unofficial capital of the Midwest region of the United States. It's the third-largest city in the US, after New York and Los Angeles.



Chicago is known as The Windy City. Chicago is also known as The Second City for two reasons. The first Chicago was destroyed by the Great Chicago Fire and had to be entirely rebuilt upon itself. So Chicago today is the "second city" in the most literal meaning of the phrase. (Except that no native of Chicago has ever heard this explanation.) It also refers to its historical position as the United States' second largest city, after New York City, though it has long since been surpassed in population by Los Angeles.

Finally, Chicago is sometimes known as The City That Works, which has more than a single meaning. It refers to the long labor tradition as well as the long hours worked by residents, as well as a stable, municipal government which provides numerous services to its inhabitants. Some people from other areas suggest that it mostly refers to the corruption in city government.

The climate is temperate continental, and quite variable. August is hot and humid, with some days reaching 100 degrees Fahrenheit and 100% humidity (though lakefront neighborhoods are breezy and cooler); late January and February may see subzero temperatures, with even lower windchill factors (the "no exposed skin" regimes). Snow is usually limited to a handful of heavy storms per season, with dustings in between. Shorter timescales also vary widely- temperatures may swing 30 degrees Fahrenheit within a week. May and September are mild and highly recommended, though the lake effect prolongs a pleasant Autumn through October, and sometimes into November.

Chicago is a city of neighborhoods. While the downtown has many great cultural institutions and tourist attractions, most Chicagoans live and play outside of the central business district. To truly understand Chicago, travelers must venture away from the Loop and Michigan Avenue and out to the vibrant neighborhoods. Take the Brown Line to Armitage to visit upscale boutiques and see residential streets lined with million-dollar homes in the historic Lincoln Park Neighborhood. Take the Red or Brown Line to Belmont to visit Lakeview, a neighborhood defined by its mix of alternative youth, gay & lesbian, sports and family cultures -- the Belmont strip is a favorite hangout of Chicago youth, the North Halsted strip is the center of Chicago's GLBT culture, Clark Street from Belmont to Wrigley Field is "main street" for baseball fans on Chicago's north side, and Broadway south of Belmont is a laid-back mix of all of the above. Take the Blue Line to Damen to visit Wicker Park, the center of Chicago's "in" scene and home to many chic restaurants, bars and boutiques.

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