Chicago



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Our city tip on the south-west shore of Lake Michigan is primarily known as a jazz metropolis and the birthplace of improvisation theatre, but it also features many famous places of interest. Among the most important museums of the city are the Adler Planetarium and the Astronomy Museum. The inner city of Chicago offers many places of interest and features a wide array of examples of modern architecture. This is reflected in the skyscrapers that are typical of the city. The compact centre is referred to in most of the travel reports as "The Loop", as it is surrounded by an elevated railway. One special tip mentioned by the travel reports as particularly well worth seeing is the dyeing of the Chicago River on St Patrick's Day. A sight that should definitely not be missed!

Embassy Official Websitehttp://beijing.usembassy-china.org.cn/

Embassy/Consulate

  • Embassy of the United States of America

Website:http://beijing.usembassy-china.org.cn/

Add.:No. 55, An Jia Lou Road   

Postal/Zip Code:100600

Tel:(86) 4008-872-333 or (86-21) 3881-4611

Fax:(86-10) 8531-3333

  • Consulate General of the United States of America in Chengdu

Website:http://chengdu.usembassy-china.org.cn/

Add.:No.4 Ling Shi Guan Lu Chengdu

Postal/Zip Code:610041

Tel:4008-872-333

  • Consulate General of the United States of America in Guangzhou

Website:http://guangzhou.usembassy-china.org.cn/

Add.:5th Floor, Tian Yu Garden (II phase), 136-146 Lin He Zhong Lu, Tian He District, Guangzhou

Tel:4008-872-333

  • Consulate General of the United States of America in Shanghai

Website:http://shanghai.usembassy-china.org.cn/

Add.:the eighth floor of Westgate Mall, 1038 West Nanjing Road, Shanghai, China

Tel:4008-872-333

  • Consulate General of the United States of America in Shenyang

Website:http://shenyang.usembassy-china.org.cn/

Add.:52, 14th Wei Road, Heping District, Liaoning, 110003 China

Tel:4008-872-333

  • Consulate General of the United States of America in Honkong

Website:http://hongkong.usconsulate.gov/

Add.:26 Garden Road, Central, Hong Kong

Tel:900-60-798-798

Fax:852-2147-3586

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Chicago has four distinctive seasons. July is the hottest month in a year, with an average highest temperature of 29°C and an average lowest temperature of 17°C; January is the coldest month, with an average highest temperature of 2°C and an average lowest temperature of -11°C. The previous highest record was 40°C (July 24, 1934), and the lowest record was −32°C (January 20, 1985). Influenced by Michigan Lake, Chicago is windy in winter. Chicago features favorable temperature, and the average temperature is 6°C in January, 9°C in April, 22.8°C in July and 11.4°C in October. With abundant rainfall, the annual average rainfall is 965mm. Summer is a season with the most rainfall, and the rainfall often occurs in the form of thunderstorm and shower and continuous rainfall occurs rarely. In winter, Chicago has the least rainfall which generally occurs in the form of snow. The maximum daily rainfall was 164mm occurring on August 14, 1987.

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Chicago: city of Blues and secret agents

Where gangster Al Capone used to enjoy the view, where secret agents like to shop, how guitarist/singer Buddy Guy is trying to save the blues – six Chicagoans talk about life in one of the United States' most exciting cities.

1. Sweet home, Chicago

Restaurant Signature Room in the Hancock Center

"Even now, after eight years, I never tire of this view," says Angela Roman, director of operations at the Signature Room restaurant on the 95th floor of the Hancock Center. "You can see for almost 80 miles on clear days, and the skyline is always changing with new skyscrapers going up and light and weather conditions never the same." Roman always had a head for heights, she says, but admits that getting used to the elevator ride every day was difficult. "After all, we are 300 meters above the street"

Information:Restaurant Signature Room in the Hancock Center, 875 N. Michigan Avenue, Tel. +1-312/787 95 96,www.signatureroom.com

Blues-Club Buddy Guy's Legends

"When I came to Chicago in the 1950s, there were so many blues clubs here, you couldn't count them," says Buddy Guy. He is a veteran of the old days of blues from which legends like Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters and he himself emerged. Today, Guy runs one of the last surviving blues clubs. "I invested my life savings to try to save the blues," he says. "Otherwise, where's the next Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton or Stevie Ray Vaughan going to come from? They all started out on their careers in clubs like these"

Information: Blues-Club Buddy Guy's Legends: 700 S. Wabash, Tel. +1-312/427 11 90

The Boring Store

The shop where Patrick Shaffner and Shirley Sung work may be called "Boring Store" but it's anything but. "We are really a secret agent shop," they say, tongue in cheek, "but if we called ourselves that, no true agents could shop here." And whose idea was it to open a spy shop in the trendy Wicker Park neighborhood? "That information is classified," says Shaffner, but concedes this much, "the shop is backed by a non-profit organization that runs creative writing courses. The store helps to fund the teaching"

Information: The Boring Store: 1331 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Tel. +1-773/772 81 08,www.notasecretagentstore.com

2.Tattoos, architecture and contemporary history

Tatu Tattoo

Marci Mundo was 18 when she got her first tattoo – a flower on her foot – because she waited till it was legal. Eight years on, she is now manager of Tatu Tattoo, one of the oldest tattoo studios in Chicago. "I come from an artistic family," says Marci. "I've been interested in art for as long as I can remember." So she considers tattoos an art form? "Definitely! Here in the shop, we draw about 90 percent of the motifs ourselves, which means that nearly every tattoo is an original!"

Tatu Tattoo: 1754 W. North Avenue, Tel. +1-773/772 82 88, www.tatutattoo.com

Murphy/Jahn Architects

Helmut Jahn only intended to spend a couple of terms studying here when he came in 1966. "Back then, everything was much more focused on Chicago. This is where modern architecture has its roots." But the man from South Germany stayed on after graduating – and built a career as a world-famous architect. His company headquarters, a venerable, 40-story skyscraper, used to be one of the tallest buildings in the world. "You might be interested to know that the dome once housed the Stratosphere Lounge," says Jahn, "a bar that served alcohol during the Prohibition and was a frequent haunt of Al Capone"

Information:Murphy/Jahn Architects: 35 E. Wacker Drive,www.murphyjahn.com

Chicago Regal Theater

A place with a history: The Regal Theater opened in the 1920s and was the first large venue for black audiences. All the major black entertainers performed here. The New Regal Theater followed the Regal in the 1980s, but was forced to close around the turn of the millennium. Then a few years ago, new investors bought the historical building. "We wanted to give the Regal Theater back to the neighborhood," says general manager Rick McCoy. "This isn't one of the wealthiest communities, but people here have the same right to good entertainment as those in areas that are better off."

Information: Chicago Regal Theater: 1641 E. 79th Street, Tel. +1-773/768 99 00

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Public Transportation

Chicago has an excellent public transportation system. Bus drivers and agents at every rapid transit station are there to assist you. The transit system is called the Chicago Transit Authority, also known as the CTA. The rail system can also be referred to as the 'L".

The CTA cash fare is $2.25 for adults and $1 for children ages 7-11. Kids under 7 ride free. Visitor passes, good for unlimited rides for 3 or 7 days on CTA trains and buses, are available at the CTA stations at O'Hare and Midway airports and official Chicago Visitor Centers at 163 E. Pearson St. and 77 East Randolph St. Passes for 1 or 30 days may be purchased at CTA headquarters. See website for details. Passes can also be purchased online.

CTA maps are available at 'L' stations, official Visitor Information Centers and many hotels. The CTA Web site www.transitchicago.com has more information, including maps and a trip planner.

Metra Rail

Metra commuter trains serve several Chicago neighborhoods and hundreds of suburbs in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin. Trains arrive and depart from Union Station, 225 S. Canal St.; Ogilvie Transportation Center, 500 W. Madison St.; LaSalle Station, 414 S. LaSalle St.; and Millennium Station, Michigan Avenue between South Water and Randolph Streets. Tickets can be purchased at the train stations or on the train for an additional fee. Fares are based on the length of the trip.

Pace Buses

Pace buses primarily serve Chicago suburbs and make limited stops within the city. A trip planner covering public transportation throughout the Chicago metropolitan area is available at tripsweb.rtachicago.com.

Public Transportation for People with Disabilities

CTA, Pace and Metra are wheelchair accessible, though some train stations are not accessible. Check their websites for additional information.

If you're ADA paratransit eligible in your hometown, you may extend it to your Chicago visit. Once RTA-certified, you're also eligible for the Taxi Access Program vouchers for reduced-rate taxi rides.

If you use a wheelchair, your vouchers can also be used in any of the wheelchair accessible minivans. To order one of these minivans, call central dispatch at 1.800.281.4466.

For more accessibility information, visit Easy Access Chicago.

Liveries and Taxis

All Chicago taxis are licensed and recognizable by the numbered metal medallions attached to their hoods.

Currently, the base Chicago taxi fare is $2.25 and increases $.20 for each additional 1/9 of a mile (or 36 seconds). Plus, there's a $1 charge for the first additional passenger ages 12–65, $.50 for each additional passenger and a $1 fuel surcharge. Tips are accepted for good service.

Water Taxis

Water Taxis provide seasonal ferry service on the Chicago River, offering a convenient and uniquely scenic way of getting around downtown Chicago and surrounding areas.

Wendella's Chicago Water Taxi service links the Metra and Amtrak commuter train stations at Madison Street to theMagnificent Mile on Michigan Avenue and River North Arts District at LaSalle Street, with extended service to Chinatown on weekends. These operate seven days a week and tickets may be purchased onboard any water taxi, at the Wendella ticket office at 400 N. Michigan Ave., or at one of the Wendella kiosks located at the Madison Street or Michigan Avenue water taxi docks. One-way fares start at $2; one-day passes range from $4-$6, and multiple ride passes are available for $16 (ten rides) or $46 (unlimited monthly pass). Please visit www.chicagowatertaxi.com for Wendella Chicago Water Taxi dock locations and complete schedule.

Shoreline Water Taxi provides service between Union Station/Sears Tower (200 S. Wacker) and the Museum Campus, with stops at the Michigan Avenue Bridge and Navy Pier. Shoreline Water Taxis run Memorial Day to Labor Day, from 10 am to 6 pm. Tickets are $3-$13 and may be purchased at convenient dock-side ticket kiosks. From May 1 to September 30, Shoreline Water Taxi also operates a rush hour commuter service between Union Station/Sears Tower and the Michigan Avenue Bridge. Commuter service runs 7 - 9:30 am, and 4 - 6:30 pm, Monday through Friday; tickets are $2 (one-way) or $1.50 (roundtrip). Please visit www.shorelinewatertaxi.com for dock locations and complete schedule.

Airport Shuttles

Go Airport Express operates a shuttle that provides daily, shared ride, door-to-door service to and from O'Hare and Midway Airports between 4 am and 11:30 pm. Shuttles depart approximately every 10 - 15 minutes outside the baggage claim area on the Lower Level of the Domestic and International Terminals. Fares range from $23-$28, with group rates available for 2 or more passengers. Please visit www.airportexpress.com/ for more details.

Pedicabs

Besides traditional taxi services, foot-powered taxis (pedicabs) are available seasonally.

Car Rental

Most car rental companies have operations at O'Hare and Midway Airports downtown and in some neighborhoods. I-GO and Zipcar both operate car sharing programs in Chicago.

Driving in Chicago

You can get detailed Chicago driving directions, highway information in and out of the city, and airport directions from the Illinois Department of Transportation. Maps are available at official Visitor Centers and online. Visit the City of Chicago's comprehensive traffic information website to plan your best route around the city.

A few things to remember while driving in Chicago:

  • The use of hand-held cell phones and text messaging while driving is forbidden.
  • Chicago is a bicycle-friendly city. As a driver, you're responsible for looking out for cyclists.
  • It's a good idea to steer clear of rush hour from about 7- 9:30 am and 4 -7 pm (starts a little earlier on Fridays and holidays).
  • Read street signs carefully for parking restrictions.

Chicago's Grid System

Chicago's streets follow a grid pattern, intersected by a few major diagonal streets. The city's center is the intersection of State and Madison Streets (0 North, South, East and West). Addresses radiate outward and increase in increments of 100 per block.

Biking

Biking is a fun and healthy way to visit the Windy City – not to mention the schedule is completely your own! Chicago is one of the nation's most bicycle-friendly cities, with more than 100 miles of bike lanes, 50 miles of bike paths and 10,000 bike racks, more than any other city in the United States. Bicycles are permitted on Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) trains and the CTA's 2,000 buses are equipped with bike racks.

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Chicago O'Hare Airport (ORD)

Address

Chicago O'Hare International Airport
PO Box 66142 Chicago, Illinois 60666, USA
Telefon: (773) 686 2200 or 1 800 832 6352 (customer service hotline)

Location

The airport is situated 29km (18 miles) northwest of Chicago.

How to get there

The airport lies on I-190. To reach I-190 from central Chicago, take I-90; from the north and south suburbs, take I-294; from the west suburbs, take I-88, then I-294.

Parking and car hire at Chicago O'Hare Airport (ORD)

Parking

A multi-level parking garage and additional ground level car parks (Lots B and C) service Terminals 1, 2 and 3. Hourly, daily and valet parking is available. Lot D has hourly and daily parking for the International Terminal. There are also two car parks available forlong-term parking (Lots E and G). Lot E is connected to the ATS rail system connecting all terminals; shuttle buses to the terminals are also available. A third long-term car park, Lot F, is closed until further notice. General parking information is available 24 hours a day (tel: (773) 686 7530).

Car hire

All major car hire companies are represented, including Avis. Companies are located on the lower level near baggage reclaim in Terminals 1, 2 and 3. Many companies at the airport run free shuttle buses to pick-up and drop-off areas. There are no car hire companies in Terminal 5, although courtesy telephones are available on the lower level of the terminal and can be used to book a car.

Access by public transport

Rail
The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) (tel: 1 888 968 7282; www.transitchicago.com) runs the 24-hour Metra service to downtown Chicago. The CTA station is located on the lowest level of the main parking garage at Terminals 1, 2 and 3 (accessible from Terminal 5 on the ATS system). Metra North Central commuter trains serves destinations in Lake and northern Cook counties, with five daily inbound and outbound trains between Antioch and Chicago Union Station. The station at the airport is situated near the remote long-term car parks and is on the ATS system.

Bus
Continental Airport Express shuttle buses (tel: (773) 247 1200; www.airportexpress.com) depart from all terminals for central Chicago and northern destinations. There is also an hourly shuttle and coach services to Midway Airport. There are a number of regional services available from the airport. The Bus and Shuttle Centre is located on the ground level of Terminal 5 car park. This is the pick-up point for most bus, shuttle and regional services, including hotel courtesy buses. Public transport services are available for disabled travellers.

Taxi
There are taxi ranks outside the Arrivals area of each terminal (journey time: 30-45 minutes to central Chicago).

Information desk

Information desks (tel: (773) 686 2200) are available in Terminals 1, 3 and 5. Multi-lingual staff are on hand to provide information and assist passengers with directions, 24 hours a day. Two Travelers Aid booths are located in Terminal 2.

Airport facilities

Money and communications:
There is a full service bank, ATMs, bureau de change facilities in a number of locations and a post office. Wireless Internet is available at various locations throughout the airport.

Eating and drinking:
There is a variety of restaurants, bars, fast-food outlets and cafés.

Shopping:
There are numerous shops, including duty-free shops in each terminal.

baggage:
Trolleys are available at all terminals. There are lost property desks staffed by the Chicago Police Department on the upper levels of all terminals.

Other facilities:
There is a medical centre, AED units (defibrillators), baby-change facilities, a play area and a 24-hour interfaith chapel.

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