Top tips for ASCO “down time” in Chicago

Tip 1: Take in the views at The Willis Tower

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Dare to step outside the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, more than 400 metres up in the air?! The Skydeck on the 103rd floor of The Willis Tower, boasts ‘The Ledge,’ a glass box extending out from the building. Don’t worry, if you aren’t the daredevil type, you can also take in the amazing views, spanning 80 kilometres and four states, from the safety of the Skydeck!

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Tip 2: Visit the Field Museum

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The Field Museum of Natural History is a great place to while away some down time away from the bussle of the congress centre. The exhibits open this year include a close-up encounter with “SUE”, the largest, best-preserved and most complete Tyrannosaurus rex ever found. You can also view a 3D film of her life story.

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Tip 3: Catch a ball game at Wrigley Field

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Built in 1914 and named after chewing gum magnate William Wrigley, Wrigley Field is home of the Chicago Cubs, and is the second oldest ball park in Major League baseball. The Chicago Cubs won their first World Series since 1908 in 2016, so it will be an exciting time to spend the day at the old ball park.

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Tip 4: Visit the animals at Lincoln Park Zoo

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Located within the sprawling Lincoln Park, this 140,000 metre squared zoo is one of the only remaining free zoos in the world. The zoo contains more than 1,000 species, including big cats, polar bears, giraffes, penguins, gorillas, reptiles and monkeys. Don’t miss the 38th annual 5K or 10K ‘United Run for the Zoo’ happening on the 5th of June – sign up early to guarantee your spot!

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Tip 5: See the Fireworks at Navy Pier

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On Wednesdays and Saturdays throughout the summer, the sky turns into an explosion of colour and light with dazzling fireworks displays set to music at Navy Pier, the 1,000 metre-long pier on the shoreline of Lake Michigan. The Ferris wheel on the pier was built as a replica of the very first Ferris wheel, which debuted in Chicago in 1893 at the World’s Columbian Exhibition.

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Tip 6: Take in the city on a Walking tour

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For those with slightly less time, but a desire to see the city at its best, take a free walking tour and explore Chicago with a friendly, knowledgeable local as your guide. There’s a tour to suit every visitor with specialised architecture tours and even a Chicago ghost tour!

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Free Tours by Foot

Locations: See website for tour details

Tip 7: Visit the Lurie Garden at Millennium Park

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This 20,000 square metre, award-winning ‘masterpiece in botanical landscaping’ at Millennium Park boasts over 250 types of plant, creating a diverse haven for wildlife – over 60 species of birds have been identified on the grounds.  Highlights of the garden include the 4.5-metre-high "shoulder" hedge, which pays a ‘vegetal homage’ to Chicago's nickname, "City of Big Shoulders."

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Tip 8: Take a Twilight Chicago Architecture Boat Tour

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Unwind at twilight with a sail around the city! Find out all about Chicago’s architecture, much of which had to be rebuilt after The Chicago Fire of 1871. Legend has it that a cow kicked over a lantern in a barn and started the fire, and that the extreme pollution of the Chicago River made the river virtually flammable, allowing the fire to spread across the city.

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Tip 9: Tuck into the legendary Chicago deep-dish pizzas!

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Experience a pizza like no other in Chicago. Generous toppings and a deep crust mean that the pizza resembles a pie more than the traditional flat bread. A must-eat in the city, TimeOut recommends Pequod’s Pizza, Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria and Pizzeria Uno. Happy eating!

Websites: Pequod's PizzaLou Malnati’s PizzeriaPizzeria Uno

Locations: Pequod's Pizza, Lou Malnati's Pizzeria, Pizzeria Uno

Tip 10: Experience true Chicago blues

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Experience Chicago’s very own form of urban blues. This style of music evolved from the Delta blues during the times of the Great Migration from the Southern USA to the Northern industrial cities. Chicago’s North River side boasts many blues bars where you can immerse yourself in Chicago’s musical heritage. Choose Chicago recommends Buddy Guy’s Legends, Blue Chicago, Kingston Mines and B.L.U.E.S.

Websites: Buddy Guy’s LegendsBlue ChicagoKingston MinesB.L.U.E.S.

Locations: Buddy Guy's Legends, Blue Chicago, Kingston Mines, B.L.U.E.S.