Thanks to Qantas’s direct Brisbane-to-Chicago flights, the Illinois city is even more accessible. Here’s your guide.
Chicagoans know how to eat. Jewish delicatessen Manny’s and retro American diner Lou Mitchell’s are a must. For a truly transcendent take on eggs, however, head to M Henry in Andersonville. Locals flock here for the drunken eggs and “killer” fried-egg sandwich.
At Chicago’s only three-Michelin-starred restaurant, co-owner and chef Grant Achatz delivers a trio of seasonally driven dining experiences, including the 22-course Kitchen Table tasting menu. Alinea, in well-heeled Lincoln Park, is renowned for avant-garde fare such as an edible helium balloon – made of dehydrated apple, malic acid and sugar – served with a popping pin.
Best family restaurant
Whether you opt for a window booth or sidewalk table, this Lakeview establishment keeps families in mind with thoughtful touches such as colouring books. Up to two children under 12 dine free with an adult between 4pm and 6pm daily, while the grown- ups will enjoy the menu of elevated Midwestern comfort food – think rotisserie chicken, crab toast, lobster devilled eggs and a skillet cookie with ice-cream.
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Chicago Athletic Association
In downtown Chicago, opposite Millennium Park, the former 1890s men’s club retains a debonair historic feel. Rooms have ornate fireplaces, dark timber furnishings and cosy leather couches that were made for sipping whiskey, while the atrium restaurant Cindy’s serves American dishes, biodynamic wines and some of the city’s finest views. For a more clandestine vibe, head to the eight-seat, Prohibition-inspired cocktail bar.
Best outdoor activity
Lincoln Park is almost one-third larger than New York’s Central Park and offers enough activities to fill your entire holiday. Inside the 489-hectare urban oasis, you’ll find a free zoo, conservatory, skate park, baseball field, driving range and public-access beaches along the shore of Lake Michigan.
Once the world’s tallest building, Willis Tower lacks the Art Deco glamour of some of its neighbours but has an ace up its sleeve: an enclosed glass balcony called The Ledge, which protrudes 1.3 metres from the exterior of the 103rd floor. The Skydeck is open all year round and, on a clear day, offers vertigo-inducing views of four states (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin).