Chicago is served by O'Hare International Airport and Midway International Airport, the latter being a mere 10-minutes drive from downtown, where some of the top Chicago hotels are located. Several carriers, like Austrian Airlines, British Airways, and Iberia amongst others, offer cheap flights to Chicago from the UK. Direct flights to Chicago from London are about 8.5 hours. Other UK cities like Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow, and Edinburgh offer flights to Chicago with one stopover. Rent a car right at O'Hare Airport and head straight for the Chicago Loop, home to several architectural landmarks and the iconic Willis Tower. Visit the massive Museum Campus, located alongside Lake Michigan, which is home to two aquariums and one museum, or drive up to the North Side, home to the Chicago Cubs, who play at Wrigley Field.
Visit the 400,000 square feet complex of the Art Institute of Chicago, with exhibits including ancient sculpture, architectural sketches, textiles and decorative arts, paintings, prints, and photographs. Make a trip to downtown Chicago to visit the Millennium Park, with the iconic 110-ton reflective Cloud Gate as its centrepiece and a beautiful Crown Fountain. Take the kids to the Navy Pier Chicago which houses a 3D IMAX theatre, 50 acres of green space, shops, and fun fair rides. Here you can also park the rental car, take a break from driving, and embark on a sightseeing cruise on one of the tour boats which leave from here. Continue the family fun with a trip to Lincoln Park Zoo, home to more than 200 species of wildlife, a nature boardwalk, and with a daily line-up of family entertainment events.
Getting around Chicago in a car is fairly easy, thanks to its highly developed network of highways that connect downtown to different parts of the city in the north, south, and west. For a scenic drive around Chicago, map your way along State Road 41, and take beautiful Lake Shore Drive, with Lake Michigan and the glistening Chicago skyline on either side. The urban jungle of Chicago also boasts acres of green spaces, of which Promontory Point, Grant Park, and Northerly Island are all recommended for a pleasant outing in fresh air and nature. Equally impressive is the city’s food scene, lending its unique local touch to American classics like hot dogs, meat sandwiches, and Chicago pizza, which is unlike pizza anywhere else in the country. A true historic melting pot of different cultures, Chicago offers a varied palate of international tastes ranging from Russian pierogis and Chinatown specialities to Mexican tacos and tamales.
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You need to be at least 21 years of age to rent a car in Chicago although a few agencies allow car hire in Chicago even at 20 years. However, be prepared to shell out a “Young Renter Fee” if you are under 24 years of age. Travellers younger than 25 years are only permitted economy through full-size car rental in Chicago. Avoid driving during rush hours i.e. from 6am to 8am and 4pm to 6pm. Remain updated about ballgame events to research alternative routes wherever necessary. Drive carefully, watching out for cyclists and street crossing pedestrians. While metered parking in Chicago is restricted to two hours, you can use garage parking for a longer time (and for a higher fee). You are not allowed to park during rush hour on major streets in the South Side, and may not park in yellow tow zones, near fire hydrants, and on streets that are covered with 2 inches of snow.