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What to Eat

Most cities have some noted gastronomic offering. Chicago is no exception.

Take part in the ongoing rivalry of Chicago deep dish vs. New York thin crust by experiencing the original deep dish pizza at Uno Chicago Grill (at Ohio and Wabash). You can also try Lou Malnati's or Giordano's for a similar experience.

Looking for a sandwich? Chicagoland loves its Italian beef sandwiches. Our insider tells us Portillo's in the River North neighborhood is the place to go.

And the legendary Chicago hot dog loaded with peppers, onions, pickle and more on a poppy seed bun is not to be missed. Hot Doug's is one of the more famous offerings.

And if you knew that White Castle restaurants were modeled after the Chicago Water Tower, you might want to visit Chef Luciano and Gourmet Chicken (E. Cermak and S. Wabash), which is housed in a recently restored with landmark status White Castle restaurant built in 1930. (White Castle is across the street, by the way.)


Tall Towers

The Willis Tower (formerly named, and still commonly referred to as the Sears Tower) is a 108-story, 1451-foot (442 m) skyscraper in Chicago, Illinois. At the time of its completion in 1973, it was the tallest building in the world, surpassing the World Trade Center towers in New York, and it held this rank for nearly 25 years. Following 9/11, the Willis Tower is again the tallest building in the United States and the fifth-tallest freestanding structure in the world, as well as the fifth tallest building in the world to the roof.

Although Sears' naming rights expired in 2003, the building continued to be called the Sears Tower for several years. In March 2009 London-based insurance broker Willis Group Holdings, agreed to lease a portion of the building and obtained the building's naming rights. On July 16, 2009, the building was officially renamed the Willis Tower.

There are two masts atop the structure that support antennas for broadcast stations and other uses. In total there are more than 10 radio stations and more than 15 TV stations located here.

Smooth Sailing

Navy Pier opened in 1916 and was originally called Municipal Pier. It was designed for commercial shipping and recreational use. It housed several regiments of soldiers, Red Cross and home defense units during WWI, and in 1927 it was renamed Navy Pier in honor of those who served during that time. In 1926, the Chicago Federation of Labor established WCFL, "the voice of labor," in the north tower. In 1933 it was host to the Century of Progress Exposition (World's Fair).

The pier was used extensively for military training in WWII. The Navy moved out in 1946. The Pier was renovated and reopened in 1995 to include entertainment, shops, restaurants, attractions and exhibition facilities.

Water, Water Everywhere

The Chicago Water Tower is a contributing property in the Old Chicago Water Tower District landmark district. Located at 806 North Michigan Avenue along the Magnificent Mile shopping district, the water tower serves as one of the Chicago Office of Tourism's Official Visitor's Centers. The Chicago Water Tower is the second-oldest water tower in the United States, after the Louisville Water Tower in Louisville, KY.

The tower, built in 1869 by architect William W. Boyington from yellowing Joliet limestone, is 154 feet (47 m) tall. Inside was a 138 foot (42 m) high standpipe to hold water. In addition to being used for firefighting, the pressure in the pipe could be regulated to control water surges in the area. The tower gained prominence after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. While some incorrectly believe that the tower was the only building to survive the fire, a few other buildings in the burned district survived along with the tower. But the water tower was the only public building in the burned zone to survive, and is one of just a few of the surviving structures still standing. In the years since the fire, the tower has become a symbol of old Chicago and of the city's recovery from the fire. In 1918, when Pine Street was widened, the plans were altered in order to give the Water Tower a featured location.

The Water Tower was also the architectural inspiration for the design of the first White Castle restaurant.




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