- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 8, 2007


Summer heat is winding down on the Lake Michigan lakefront, and winter’s cold wind is still months away, making this a great time to visit Chicago. A few minutes on the Internet will show you more than enough is happening to keep you entertained.

For starters, you could take in the Chicago International Film Festival — www.chicagofilmfestival.org — coming up Oct. 4 through 17, although you might need to check back later for updates to the Web site. An exhibition titled “Stars Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination” — www.msichicago.org/temp_exhibit/starwars/index.html — is opening Oct. 5 for a three-month run at the city’s famed Museum of Science and Industry.

The Museum of Science and Industry is one of the city’s big attractions, especially if your children are going along. There’s a World War II German submarine, the U-505, and even a coal mine. If you click on Exhibits, you can warm up with online versions of some of the top attractions. When your feet need a rest, take in one of the museum’s Omnimax Films, such as “Hurricane on the Bayou.”

For a change from science and industry, take in the Field Museum — www.fieldmuseum.org — where the natural history exhibits include Sue, the largest and most complete Tyrannosaurus rex fossil. Until the end of the year, the museum’s also the home of “Darwin,” a show about Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution.

It’s a big city, and you need a high vantage point to see it all.Try the New Hancock Observatory — www.hancockobservatory.com — atop the 100-story John Hancock Center. Get a preview of the scenery by clicking on Attractions and then on the three Sample Views. If your acrophobia is under control, you can try the open-air Skywalk deck. For a different vantage point, go a few blocks to the Skydeck — www.theskydeck.com — atop the 110-story Sears Tower.

You can’t spend all your time indoors. Go to Millennium Park — www.millenniumpark.org — next to the Art Institute and across Columbus Drive from Daley Plaza, to look at the reflections in the shiny “Cloud Gate” sculpture, also known as the Bean. Look under Art & Architecture for details on the Bean, the Jay Pritzker Pavilion and other features.

Then head over to the lakefront for some fun at the Navy Pier — www.navypier.com — where you can hop on a carnival ride, board a tour boat, take in an Imax movie or a Shakespeare play, or sample the shops and restaurants.

There’s still more to see and experience. Visit the local convention and visitors bureau’s ChooseChicago — www.choosechicago.com/visitors/visitors.html — for a hotel-finding service, including some season specials and pet-friendly accommodations, plus a calendar of more events. Things to See & Do has links to attractions, including the Lincoln Park Zoo (admission is free); the Second City comedy theater, whose alumni have included John Candy, Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi; still more museums; and the Shedd Aquarium.

You’ll need their maps and transportation information and also shopping and night-life directories.

City Hall — egov.cityofchicago.org — has its own collection of visitor information links under Exploring Chicago, including cultural events, maps, parks and public transit.

Expand your travel horizons across the broader metropolitan area with the help of Visit Chicagoland — www.chicagolandtravel.com — which touts coverage of events and attractions within 60 minutes of Chicago. Look for its link to Bike Chicagoland for an alternate method of touring the region.

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