Chicago, Illinois, is the 3rd-largest city in the USA, as well as one of the country's leading commercial, industrial, transport and financial centres. It extends some 47 km (29 ml) along Lake Michigan's southwestern shore, on a plain crossed by Chicago River and Calumet River. Both rivers are linked by canals with the rivers Illinois and Mississippi, making Chicago a connecting point and the largest port between Mississippi Valley, St Lawrence Seaway and the Great Lakes. The city's rapid growth was due in part to its location, with easy access to raw materials and large markets.
Chicago has one of the most beautiful lakefronts in the world, backed by a skyline of soaring skyscrapers. Travelers landing at Navy Pier will find a combination of Crystal Palace, stained glass museum, lovely Coney Island and festival marketplace stretching out into the lake. With the only exception of a few miles of industry on the southern extremity, the entire lakefront is devoted to recreational uses, with museums, beaches, parks and harbours, which include Lincoln Park to the north, Jackson Park to the south and Grant Park opposite the city centre. The central part of Chicago has several of the tallest buildings in the world, including the Sears Tower, which at 110 storeys is the tallest in the U.S.
Chicago contains several outstanding museums, including the Art Institute of Chicago (1879), one of the largest art museums in the United States; the Du Sable Museum of African-American History; and the Field Museum of Natural History (1893). In Hyde Park are the Museum of Science and Industry (1893) and the Oriental Institute. In Lincoln Park are the Chicago Historical Society (1856) and the Chicago Academy of Sciences (1857). Also notable is the Museum of Contemporary Art. Founded in 1891, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra is considered one of the world's finest.
Chicago Navy Pier
The Navy Pier of Chicago has the impressive length a 3300 ft (1010 m). The pier is located on the Lake Michigan's shoreline (in the city's neighborhood Streeterville). The Navy Pier area also encompasses over o,2 km2 (0,08 ml2) of parks, gardens, shopping malls, bars and restaurants, family fun attractions, exhibit facilities. The pier is one of the Chicago's best leisure destinations and the city's most visited tour attraction, with over 9 million visitors annually.
Among the Chicago Navy Pier's top-rated attractions are:
- The Navy Pier has fireworks shows scheduled on every Wednesday and Saturday night (during summer) and on every Saturday night (during autumn). It also hosts the themed events Winter Wonderfest (in December and January, sponsored by PNC Bank). The pier also has an indoor ice skating rink and the Festival Hall (dining and shopping centre).
- Outdoor attractions include the Light Tower Ride, Wave Swinger, Remote Control Boats, Ferris wheel, Carousel.
- Ferris wheel was redesigned and opened in May 2016. The new DW60 model was purchased from Dutch Wheels (Holland-based company) to replace the old wheel. The new model is first (and only one) in the USA. There is a similar in design Ferris wheel in Hong Kong (China). Among its features are the 2-sided cars (allowing faster and easier loading / unloading), fortified structure (withstanding strong winds up to 115 mph / 185 kph), safety glass (withstanding heavy storms).
- The Funhouse Maze is over 3762 m2 (4000 ft2) of tunnels and mazes).
- Crystal Gardens is a botanical garden with a 6-story high glassed atrium (themed events facility)
- Children's Museum has differently-themed exhibitions and fun activities for kids and adults.
- An IMAX theater is another fun facility on the pier, as well as Shakespeare Theater (for Shakespeare's only theatrical productions).
- Pepsi Skyline is a stage facility (1500 seats) hosting various live events (music, comedy acts, acrobatic shows, theaterical) in the summer and early fall.
- At the Navy Pier (its far end) is permanently docked the USS Chicago ship (Baltimore-class heavy cruiser).
- Navy Pier Chicago city bus lines are number 2 (Hyde Park Express), 29 (State), 65 (Grand), 66 (Chicago) and 124 (Navy Pier bus shuttle).
Sightseeing tours are operated by local tour companies (Seadog Ventures), as well as water taxi services, coastal cruises and dinner cruises (by the ships Spirit of Chicago, Odyssey II, Mystic Blue).
Chicago cruise terminal
Cruise ships to Chicago dock (anchor) at Navy Pier - located on Lake Michigan's shoreline (in the city's neighborhood Streeterville).
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