Known the world over by its nicknames of Windy City and Chi-Town, Chicago is one of the America's biggest and most populous cities. It's the largest city in the entire Midwestern United States and boasts a population of over 2.7 million. Located on Lake Michigan in Illinois, Chicago is one of the most culturally significant and influential cities in the entire United States, well known for its stunning skyline and rich history. This city, like the entire state of Illinois, is located within the Central Time Zone. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.

1.Chicago Overview

Chicago Overview
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Ranked as one of the best cities in the world for quality of life, Chicago is a hugely popular place to live and visit. Statistics show that it's the second most visited city in the entire US, with tens of millions of visitors from all around the world coming to enjoy Chicago's rich history, beautiful architecture, museums, professional sports teams, universities, rivers, and more.

French explorers and settled founded the city in the early 19th century and it swiftly grew into one of the most important locations in the US, identified as a key transport hub between the eastern and western states. Over time, Chicago grew and grew, becoming the home of the world's first skyscraper in 1885 and building up one of the most impressive skylines in the world, with a rich blend of old and new architecture.

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2.Activities and Economy in Chicago

Activities and Economy in Chicago
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Boasting one of the busiest airports on the planet in O'Hare International Airport, Chicago is a major tourist destination due to its cultural significance. The city has played a key part in various musical and architectural movements around the United States and internationally, and boasts a rich culture involving film, theater, food, and more.

The city has the distinction of not relying on any one major industry to dominate its production, instead boasting a highly diversified and balanced economy with a wide variety of industries including finance, food production, manufacture, publishing, entertainment, retail, and more. Tourism contributes greatly to Chicago’s economy too, with the city enjoying lots of cultural landmarks, museums, outdoor activities, and professional sports teams in all of the major leagues of the United States.

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3.History of Chicago Time Zone

History of Chicago Time Zone
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The time zones used throughout the United States in modern times weren’t introduced until the late 19th century. Before then, the sun was used to tell the time. Clocks would be set at midday when the sun passed over the meridian of each town or city, meaning that the time in one place would be at least a little different from the next town or city further down the road. Over time, this system became increasingly problematic, and a new system clearly needed to be introduced.

In 1883, the idea of separating the contiguous United States into four distinct time zones was introduced. It was at this point that the Pacific, Mountain, Central, and Eastern zones were created, and the entire state of Illinois was placed in the Central Time Zone. This meant that the city of Chicago would also observe Central Time.

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4.Time Zone

Time Zone
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Central Time Zone

The Central Time Zone (CT) applies in all of Chicago and the rest of Illinois, as well as covering many other parts of the US. The Central Time Zone, like the other major time zones in the United States, split into two forms: Central Standard Time (CST) and Central Daylight Time (CDT). Central Standard Time is six hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), while Central Daylight Time is five hours behind UTC. The latter is used during periods of daylight savings time.

As well as Chicago and Illinois, the Central Time Zone covers eight additional states in their entirety. Central Time is also observed in parts of 11 additional states, for a total of 20 states overall. This time zone is also used throughout the majority of Mexico and in some territories and provinces of Canada, as well as several Central American countries and Caribbean Islands.

Daylight Savings in Chicago

The entire state of Illinois, like the vast majority of US states, uses daylight savings time for several months of the year. This system therefore also applies in the city of Chicago. Since the Energy Policy Act of 2005 was introduced, daylight savings in Chicago and elsewhere around the United States begins on the second Sunday of March and runs through to the first Sunday of November. During this period, Chicago observes CDT. Then, from November through to March, CST is used.

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Chicago Time Zone

Attraction Spotlight: 360 Chicago Observation Deck

360 Chicago Observation Deck, formerly known as the John Hancock Observation Deck, offers the best possible views of the cityscape and Lake Michigan from 360 degrees inside the John Hancock Center.


The John Hancock Building was originally meant to be the tallest building in the world. Construction began in 1967 but was interrupted due to engineering flaws in the design plan. The owner was forced to file bankruptcy during this time and John Hancock took over the project, completing construction in 1969.

The John Hancock Center is 1,500 feet tall and is the fourth tallest building in Chicago with elevators that travel 96 floors at a speed of 1,800 feet per minute. In 1999, the Hancock Center was awarded the Distinguished Architects 25 Year Award, presented by the American Institute of Architects. The building is known for its distinctive X-Shaped bracing system that eliminates the need for inner support columns and increases the available floor space.

360 Chicago is located on the 94th floor of the Hancock Center and was first opened in 1969 as the John Hancock Observatory. The observatory was sold in 2012 and renamed 360 Chicago. This attraction provides 360 degree views of the Chicago cityscape, beaches and Lake Michigan coastline.

Visiting 360 Chicago

360 Chicago is open 365 days a year from 9am to 11pm with the last entry being at 10:30pm. Tickets can be purchased online or in person. The best times to visit 360 Chicago are in the morning before lunch or after 6pm. Group reservations are available with motorcoach and van access at the Delaware Street entrance. Groups of 20 or more should reserve their tickets specifically through group sales by contacting the hotel directly. Groups should allow for 1.5 hours to enjoy 360 Chicago not including line wait time.

Package deals as well as the Go Chicago Card and Chicago City Pass, that will get visitors into multiple Chicago attractions at a discount are available through the 360 Chicago website. Private business or social events are welcomed to be hosted at 360 Chicago. There are four rental spaces that can accommodate up to 550 guests.

Group Tours: School groups visiting the Observation desk can enjoy box breakfasts or lunches if ordered one week ahead of time. Breakfast options include hot sandwiches or a continental style breakfast with bagels, yogurt and fruit. Lunch includes a choice of deli sandwich, potato chips, fruit, and a drink. The Café, Architect’s Corner, also provides tables and chairs, adult beverage services and amazing views of Lake Michigan and the city. School groups are also provided with educator materials to help students incorporate lessons in history, architecture, sciences, art, and geography. Lessons are broken down by age group with 4 different plans available for Early Childhood, Elementary School, Middle School, and High School.

Performances Groups- At the North end of the 94th floor there is space for live performance groups to put on productions. The space can accommodate 30-50 performers, and 360 Chicago provides electricity and chairs for the event.

Tilt- This is Chicago’s higest thrill ride that allows visitors to look over the edge of the Hancock Building from 1000 feet up. The ride extends out over the Magnificent Mile with the most incredible views of Chicago and Lake Michigan. Up to 8 people can experience Tilt at a time.

Special Events

360 Chicago hosts special events and weekly events that enhance the visitor experience on the Observation Deck.

360 Sky Guide- This Tuesday evening program includes a personal tour guided volunteers from the Chicago Architect Foundation. Lectures include educational information on the most impressive buildings in the Chicago skyline.

360 Sky Yoga-Join yoga enthusiasts every Saturday morning at 9am for meditation and Yoga. Registration is required and available online. Participants must bring their own yoga mat.

360 Sunday Funday- Children receive half price admission on Sundays with family friendly entertainment in the afternoon such as magic shows and storytelling.

360 Tripod Monday- Monday is the day for photographers to enjoy the 360 degree views of the Chicago city and coast. No other days may photographs use tripods. Shots shared on social media are entered into an annual contest hosted by photographer Nick Ulivieri.

360 Sky Art- Wednesdays artists are welcomed to set up their easels and paint or draw visions of the cityscape from the observation deck. The floor is covered in plastic and folding chairs are provided to those who are painting. This program is not available during the summer.

360 Happy Hour- Thursday evenings from 5:30-8:30pm Revolution Brewing hosts happy hour at 360 Chicago with craft beer specials and DJ entertainment as well as board games and televisions.

875 M Michigan Avenue, 94th floor, Chicago, Illinois, 60611, Phone: 888-875-8439

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Attraction Spotlight: Field Museum

The Field Museum in Chicago, Illinois strives to inspire curiosity about the planet, society, history, and the future through award winning exhibitions such as dinosaurs and mummies, and educational programming.


The Field Museum was inspired by the World’s Columbian Exposition that was held in the City of Chicago in 1893. Professor F.W. Putman published an article calling for the formation of a museum in the Chicago Tribune newspaper. A committee was formed in 1891 and purchases began. The Columbian Historical Association was founded the next year. By 1893, The Columbian Museum of Chicago applied for incorporation with 65 backers and 15 trustees and was granted a charter in 1893.

Exhibits began accumulating quickly and in the fall of 1893, Mr. Marshall Field donated one million dollars to the establishment of a permanent building for the museum which would be called The Field Museum of Natural History in 1905. Construction on the Field Museum began in 1914 in Grant Park with exhibits being moved in several years later in 1920. The Field Museum opened to the public on May 2, 1921. Today, the Field Museum has been voted as the best museum in the United States with popular exhibits on Dinosaurs, Egypt, gems, and other areas of natural history.


The Field Museum offers several permanent exhibits that are included in general admission as well as special exhibitions that are sometimes included in general admission and others that have an additional ticket price. Special exhibitions and ticketing information can be found in detail on the Field Museum websites.

SUE the T-Rex- Visitors can get up close to the largest T-Rex to be discovered measuring 40 feet long and 13 feet tall with 58 teeth. SUE’s original skull is found on the balcony exhibit.

Inside Ancient Egypt- Explore an ancient Egyptian tomb with 2 rooms from 5,000-year-old Unis-Ankh, an Egyptian Prince.

Evolving Planet- Journey through the last 4 billion years of the earth’s history from single celled organisms through dinosaurs and human evolution.

Restoring Earth- An exhibit that focuses on conservation and biodiversity. Featuring the forests of Peru, South America, this exhibit also showcases ways to restore the native habitats of Chicago.

The Crown Family Play Lab- The perfect place for young visitors to have hands on exploration and play time while learning about natural history.

The Ancient Americas- Journey back to the time of the Aztecs while exploring an 800-year-old pueblo and learning about the capital of the Empire, Tenochtitlan.

Grainger Hall of Gems- Rare gems and jewels are displayed in this exhibit that also educates on the process of how these gems are produced in the earth and lab created as well.

The Tsavo Lions- The infamous man-eating lions from Africa reportedly killed 135 people in 1898 and were shot by Lt.Col. John Henry.

Gidwitz Hall of Birds- Reopened in 2012, this exhibit is one of the most impressive collections of birds on the planet.

Hall of Jades- Over 450 jade artifacts adorn these halls that celebrate the history and culture of China.

McDonald’s Fossil Prep Lab- Visitors can watch as museum staff work on fossils in the laboratory, including dinosaur bones.

DNA Discovery Center- Learn about the complexities of DNA and how life on the planet has evolved. Visit the laboratory where scientists work to analyze DNA and add to the Tree of Life.

Pawnee Earth Lodge- This full-size replica of a Pawnee earth lodge offers an immersive experience into Native American culture and history.

Maori Meeting House- Built in 1881, this Maori Meeting house is one of only three located outside of New Zealand.

Africa- This permanent exhibit explores all facets of the culture of Africa from wildlife to holiday celebrations, art, and slavery.

Project Hyena Diorama- Built in 2015, this habitat diorama in located in the Hall of Asian Mammals and features hyenas that were collected in 1896.

Grainger Science Hub-Open from 10am to 3pm daily, the science hub allows visitors to talk to scientists and get a close look at artifacts in the collections.

Meteorites- Visitors learn what a meteorite is and where they come from in this exhibit that brings outer space to earth.

Regenstein Halls of the Pacific- The Field Museum is renowned for its extensive Pacific Islands collection that was updated in 2016.

Educational Opportunities

The Field Museum welcomes educators and school groups for field trips and provides outreach to the community through offering classes and workshops, daily events, lectures, science residencies, camps, and volunteer programs for youth. Detailed information on the various programs offered by the Field Museum with dates and registration fees can be found on the Field Museum website.

1400 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, Illinois, 60605, Phone: 312-922-9410

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Hotel Spotlight: Hotel Chicago West Loop

America's third largest city, Chicago is a must-visit location, home to so many exciting attractions, landmarks, and unmissable activities. It's a key arts and culture hub, a huge contributor to America's music and stand-up comedy scenes, and one of the best places to visit if you enjoy museums, art galleries, fine dining, and live entertainment.

If you're heading to Chicago, one of the best places to stay and spend some time is the West Loop neighborhood. In the last decade or so, the West Loop has undergone some huge changes, transforming into one of the most hip and happening spots in the city, drawing in creatives, innovators, and travelers from all over the world.

Old industrial buildings and complexes have metamorphosed into deluxe dining locations and trendy bars, with the area's 'Restaurant Row' area being particularly enjoyable for foodies, while the West Loop’s growing number of boutique shops, art galleries, and other interesting locations have really changed the face of this neighborhood.

In short, the West Loop is one of the best places to be in Chicago, whether you enjoy fine dining, live entertainment, vibrant nightlife, or are just looking for a central spot to base yourself for total exploration of the city. If you’re searching for one of the best West Loop hotels, look no further than the Hotel Chicago West Loop.

Hotel Chicago West Loop

A casual hotel situated right in the heart of the West Loop neighborhood, Hotel Chicago West Loop offers affordable boutique rooms, useful on-site amenities, easy access to the best bits of the local area, and much more besides. It's a clean, comfortable, cozy location that has received a lot of great reviews from countless travelers, and it even has its own art gallery too.

- The Hotel - The Hotel Chicago West Loop is a 116-room hotel, designed with the conveniences and comforts of every guest in mind. It offers clean and comfortable rooms with dependable amenities at affordable prices, even providing pet-friendly accommodation in the West Loop too for those who enjoy traveling with a furry friend. One of the most unique aspects of the Hotel Chicago West Loop is its on-site art gallery: The Annex. Shining the spotlight on the city's best urban and contemporary artists, The Annex is a very unique aspect that helps this hotel to stand out.

- Location - The Hotel Chicago West Loop is in a prime spot for anyone wishing to enjoy all the sights and sounds of the West Loop, mere minutes from some of the neighborhood's best bars and restaurants. It's only four blocks away from the United Center and the Illinois Medical District too, as well as being just two blocks from a Blue Line stop, offering easy access all around the city and out to Chicago's airports too. The Restaurant Row is within walking distance, allowing guests of this West Loop hotel to simply step out of the doors and experience all the area has to offer.

- The Rooms at the Hotel Chicago West Loop - The Hotel Chicago West Loop offers over a hundred rooms to its guests, all clean, comfortable, and designed with a homely, welcoming feel. Rooms range in size from the Petite Suite, which offers 150 square foot of living space, fitted with a Keurig machine, a work area, a cozy bed, and a 42" TV, all the way up to the King Deluxe Guest Room with 235 square feet of space and a deluxe, boutique-style feel, offering spacious closet areas, a large bathroom and shower, a king-size bed, quality linens, speedy Wi-Fi and cable access. No matter which room you choose, you’ll be able to enjoy total cleanliness, comfort, and stylish design.

- Hotel Amenities - The Hotel Chicago West Loop offers a lot of amenities and services to its guests. If you're looking for a pet-friendly West Loop hotel, this is the one for you; the Hotel Chicago West Loop welcomes furry friends for a one-time pet fee of just $50. All guests of the Hotel Chicago West Loop can also enjoy high speed Wi-Fi access throughout their stay, letting everyone keep up to date with news and social media, as well as even being able to order food straight to their room. This West Loop hotel also offers affordable and easy parking, right in the heart of downtown Chicago. Plus, there's The Annex, featuring lots of exciting art from emerging and local creative minds, with rotating exhibits throughout the year.

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