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The following is an insiders guide to Chicago, Illinois complete with the must-see sights, spirited sporting events, and Chicago promotional products. Written by a former Chicago resident from the Lincoln Park and great Cook County area, this guide provides information for both tourists who are visiting Chicago or Lake County for the first time and established residents from Naperville and Joliet to Hammond and the Loop. After all, sometimes the best way to see a city is to act like a tourist and plan a jam-packed weekend full of fun events; even people who have lived in Lake County for many years often get stuck in the hustle and bustle of everyday life and forget to take the time to explore the wonderful towns in front of them, such as Evanston or Lincoln Park. Plus, with all the new changes to the growing city of Chicago it's often hard to keep up. Can you say Willis Tower? Keep reading for more information on the name change heard around the world.

Spending a Weekend in the City, Chicago

There's so much to see and do in Cook County, so it's important to utilize time wisely. Cultural enthusiasts have many options for art and museums including the world famous Art Institute, the Field Museum, and the Museum of Science and Industry. The Field Museum features exhibits pertaining to natural history, while the Museum of Science and Industry displays technological and industrial history and advances. For sightseers looking to visit historical landmarks, the Willis Tower, located downtown in the Loop is a must. Known as the Sears Tower until July 2009, this 110-story building was the tallest building in world at the time of its completion in 1973 and many Chicago souvenires feature the building's distinguished edifice. On a nice day, visitors can step out into a glass ledge above the city and see as far as Kane County, Kenosha and Aurora.

Sporting Events in Chicago

Outdoor lovers might want to skip the museums and- weather permitting- swim in Lake Michigan, jog along the beachfront, sit in Lincoln Park or shop Michigan Avenue and nearby Oak Street. On a nice day- or even during a snowstorm in March for you diehard fans- attend a ballgame at historic, ivy-covered Wrigley Field, home to the Chicago Cubs. Although the Cubs are said to be cursed when it comes pennant games, they proudly boast some of the most spirited and loyal fans around. These fans come from Joliet, Hammond and even Kenosha and are easy to spot because they never attend a game without a plethora of blue and red custom hats, t-shirts, jerseys and other apparel bearing the Cubs logo.

Helping Prepare for the Climate

The weather in Lake County, Illinois ranges from hot and humid during the summer months to bitter cold and windy during the winter months, so visitors and residents should prepare by buying appropriate weather-resistant items. Towels, sun screen, caps, shorts and t-shirts are must-haves for those who plan to spend time in the Loop from May through August, while waterproof outwear, sweaters and knit hats will provide warmth throughout the winter. And, the best part is that these mementos will remind you of your fun vacation in Evanston or the city you have called your "sweet home" for years.

Lake County | DuPage County | Kane County | The Loop | Naperville | Joliet | Hammond
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