photo, I'd elaborate a little more on Chicago.
First, let me say that even though I now live in the Midwest, and have most I my life, I was not born here. Sometime during my 3rd year of life my family moved from the West to the Midwest, around St Louis, Mo. Probably, when I was around 5 years old we moved to Chicago. We lived in a 4 room apartment on the Northwest side of the city, near Fullerton and Tripp.
Right before I was to enter the 5th grade, my family moved to the "Suburbs", some 30 miles West of Chicago. Over the span of about 33 years, I lived in that area. When I was young we would go into Chicago to visit my Grandparents, but I never really remember going Downtown. When I was a young adult, I remember a couple of times going to place like The Goodman Theater, The Lincoln Park Zoo, and The Museum of Science and Industry. BUT ... for the most part, we stayed away from Downtown, Chicago.
Chicago can be overwhelming (as I'm sure any "Big City" can be). Chicago can be scary (not that you want to think about it, but Chicago has a high homeless population. Although, I must interject that the only city that I have ever locked my car doors because of the homeless is San Diego, Ca.).BUT ... most of all I HATE, hate, hate ... YES ... HATE Chicago's traffic. The plus side is ... I believe ... if you can drive in Chicago ... you can probably drive anywhere in the world.
So, now that I have panicked you into never wanting to visit Chicago ... let me encourage you.
For the past 7 years I have lived approx. 125 miles or 201.168 km from Chicago and I go there more than when I lived in Illinois. You can stay outside the City and take a train in. On the week-ends you can ride back and forth, 2 times, for $7.00, children under 13 are free. The train takes you right down to the heart of the City, walking distance from the Lake, Navy Pier, Millennium Park, John G. Shedd Aquarium and many other cool places to see. The Navy Pier area has free trolly's and if you need to ride the bus or the EL (downtown train system) you can get a $7.00 day pass.
Here are a few things you might see :
Lake Michigan from the South end of the city.
There are all sorts of "cool" water features for kids to play in.
Lake Michigan on the North end, in August during the Air Show.
The "Bean" in Millennium Park.
Street performers. These guys are playing 5 gallon buckets and are pretty good.
The Stone-Smurfit Building. This is my favorite building. I always have to take a photo of it.
This building's history includes being in the movie "Adventures in Babysitting"