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Awe-inspiring skycrapers, world-class cuisine, rocking festivals – the Windy City will blow you away with low-key culture and awesomeness. High-flying architecture is everywhere, from the glass-floored Willis Tower to the swooping silver Pritzer Pavilion to Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie House. Whimsical public art studs the streets; walk along and encounter an abstract Picasso statue that's not only great to look at, but the public can even climb on it. For art museums, take your pick: there's the massive Art Institute, psychedelic paintings at the Museum of Mexican Art or outsider drawings at the Intuit gallery.
Chicago knows how to rock a festival-between March and September it throws around 200. Blues Fest brings nearly half a million people to Grant Park, all for free. During the Lollapalooza mega-party, rock bands thrash to an audience in arm-flailing frenzy. Smaller street fests take place in the neighborhoods each weekend – though some rival downtown for star power on their stages.
Chicago is a big-time sports town, with a pro team for every season. Watching a game is a local must, whether you slather on tbody paint for a Bears game, join the crowd in Wrigley Field, or hit a neighborhood tavern for whatever's on TV. Should you crave more activity, the city's 24 beaches and expansive public parks offer a huge array of play.