There are a number of festivals, holidays and other events celebrated in Chicago each year.
The main ones are listed below.
A federal holiday in the United States, celebrating the life and achievements of Martin Luther King, Jr. In recent years, it has increasingly been seen as a day of service, when Americans are encouraged to volunteer to help others less fortunate than themselves. Many events inspired by Dr. King's legacy are held each year in Chicago: musical concerts, other performances, exhibitions, debates.January/February : Chinese New Year (celebrated nationwide in major cities)
Festivities are held each year to ring in the Chinese New Year in Chicago's Chinatown, one of the largest such neighbourhoods in the world, including a big parade along Wentworth Ave., from Cermak Rd. to 24th St.), and includes marching bands, floats, dragon and lion dance performers, and a 100-foot paper dragon. There are also martial arts demonstrations.June–September: Ravinia Festival (local event)
The oldest outdoor music festival in the United States and a premier cultural destination for Chicagoans, Ravinia welcomes world-class musicians each summer to several venues in the northern Chicago suburb of Highland Park. Enjoying often elaborate picnic dinners under the stars, concertgoers can choose from a vast array of classical, pop, folk, jazz, dance and family-oriented programmes.July 4 : Independence Day (national holiday)
A federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, by which the 13 American colonies officially severed their political ties with Great Britain. Celebrated with parades, barbecues, picnics and fireworks.Labour Day weekend : Chicago Jazz Festival (local event)
Without a doubt, one of the world's leading jazz festivals. Over this three-day period, more than fifty concerts are presented in Grant Park. Admission is free!First Monday in September : Labour Day (national holiday) Second Monday in October : Columbus Day (national holiday)
Commemorates the landing of Christopher Columbus in the New World (October 12, 1492). Many cultural events are organized to mark this anniversary each year, including performances, exhibitions and parades.October 31 : Halloween (celebrated nationwide)
Halloween is celebrated each year by Americans of all ages. In the late afternoon and early evening hours, children don costumes and go door-to-door in their neighbourhoods to ask for treats, typically candy. Adults often attend costume parties in the evening.Fourth Thursday in November : Thanksgiving (national holiday)
Originally a Christian religious observance, for many years Thanksgiving has been a secular holiday in the United States, celebrated by Americans of all faiths. Families come together to prepare and enjoy a large feast at home. The meal typically includes roast turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce as well as various side dishes and ends with an assortment of pies (pumpkin, pecan, apple).December 25 : Christmas (national holiday)
|Month||Min. Average Temperature (°C/F°)||Max. Average Temperature (°C/F°)||Average Rains (MM)||Best Time to Travel|
|January||-9/16||-1/30||52/2.0||Not the best period to go|
|February||-7/19||2/36||49/1.9||Not the best period to go|
|March||-2/28||8/46||69/2.7||Not the best period to go|
|April||5/41||16/61||92/3.6||Not the best period to go|
|May||11/52||22/72||104/4.1||Good period to go|
|June||16/61||27/81||103/4.1||Good period to go|
|July||19/66||29/84||101/4.0||Good period to go|
|August||19/66||28/82||101/4.0||Good period to go|
|September||14/57||24/75||84/3.3||Good period to go|
|October||7/45||17/63||82/3.2||Not the best period to go|
|November||1/34||9/48||87/3.4||Not the best period to go|
|December||-5/23||2/36||65/2.6||Not the best period to go|
O'Hare International Airport is located about 29 kilometres (18 miles) north-west of Chicago's central business district, known as the Loop.
For years, Chicago has shown that the dark periods having tarnished its international reputation are truly a thing of the past! Today, Chicago is a very enjoyable place to visit and one that is particularly well served by its public transport system. Known as a city of distinctive neighbourhoods, Chicago is perhaps best seen on foot or by bicycle.
With 59 kilometres (37 miles) of its network above ground and just 19 kilometres (12 miles) running through tunnels, the “L” system of (mostly) elevated trains operated by the CTA is without question one of the most practical and pleasant ways to discover the city. The system has eight rapid transit routes, serving 146 stations throughout the city.
The CTA also operates more than 200 bus lines, with many of them running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The fare for a single ride is USD 2.25.
Taxis are plentiful in Chicago. The base fare is USD 3.25. It is customary to tip cab drivers about 15 to 20 percent of the total fare. Credit cards are accepted.
Driving a car yourself in Chicago is not a simple matter. Traffic can be quite congested at times throughout the day.
Bicycles are an ideal solution for exploring Chicago. The city has many bike paths as well as Divvy, a bicycle-sharing network with over 4,000 bikes made available at nearly 500 stations around the city. A 24-hour pass costs USD 9.95.
Upon your arrival in Chicago, you can get in touch with local tourism professionals for further information and to help organize your stay.Chicago Visitor Information Centers
These two centres, operated by Choose Chicago, the city's official destination marketing organization, offer practical information and many useful recommendations (accommodation, restaurants, public transport, festivals, cultural events, etc.).
Chicago Cultural Center
Macy's on State Street
The website maintained by Choose Chicago (http://www.choosechicago.com), also provides a wealth of information for visitors to Chicago.Further information available online for visitors to the United States
Discover America, a public-private marketing entity, works closely with the travel industry to promote tourism in communities around the country. Its website offers excellent information on all US travel destinations, including Chicago.
See your doctor before you travel.
Excellent medical care is available in Chicago, but costs are high. As the United States has not entered into reciprocal health agreements with other countries, you should take out appropriate insurance before you leave home, covering both medical expenses and medical evacuation or repatriation.
There are no vaccination requirements for visitors to the United States.
For more information, contact Air France's international vaccination centre:
Tap water is safe to drink in Chicago.
The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) allows citizens or nationals of the following countries to travel to the United States without a visa for stays of 90 days or less, whether for tourism or business: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Kingdom.
For further information, see the Visitor Visa page on the website of the Bureau of Consular Affairs, U.S. Department of State:
And what about tipping?
In Chicago as in the rest of the United States, a service charge is not included in the bill and tips form a major portion of income for waiting staff. Prices on restaurant menus are indicated before taxes and tips. You are therefore expected to leave a tip (generally between 15 and 20 percent of the bill). Tipping less than 15 percent (or leaving no tip at all) means that you are very dissatisfied with the service.