Chicago History Museum
Also located in Lincoln Park, near its southwest corner, the exhibits of the Chicago History Museum document the growth of the city from a tiny trading post to a modern day metropolis. Learn how the city recovered from a fire that nearly burned it off the map in 1871 and evolved to one of the world's architectural masterpieces.
Enjoy genuine Asian cuisine in Chicago's Chinatown, a popular tourist attraction for visitors interested in the multicultural life offered by the city. Established in 1905, Chinatown was created by Chinese immigrants who had settled on the west coast and travelled east on the first transcontinental railroad.
Lincoln Park Zoo
A trip to the famous Lincoln Park would be incomplete without seeing the oldest, free public zoo in the country. Founded in 1868, the zoo is home to more than 80 species of mammals and 70 species of reptiles from around the globe.
The Magnificent Mile
The northern part of Chicago's Michigan Avenue, dubbed "The Magnificent Mile," is dotted with an abundance of tourist attractions including popular shops, museums, restaurants and hotels. A true shopper's paradise, the American version of Paris' Champs-Elysees, is home to big name stores from Apple and Disney to Nike and Saks Fifth Avenue.
A City on Fire
Just as Chicago began to enjoy its hot streak a new kind of explosion-the literal kind - decimated four square miles of the city. The Great Chicago Fire of 1871, of causes unknown, raged for two whole days, destroying much of the central business district. Strong winds carried the flames across the city on dry, post-drought air to ignite the rooftops of over 17,000 buildings. The help of surrounding cities was enlisted, but by the time the manpower could be rallied, the fire had become too large to contain. Spreading southwest from DeKoven Street, where it initially began near an alley shed, the fire consumed more than 73 miles of roads, $222 million of property, and left 90,000 homeless. Fatalities ranged between 200 and 300. While the city lay in ashes, help was on the way. Almost immediately, donations came flooding in from around the country, providing homeless Chicagoans with money, food and clothing. Business owners dusted themselves off and quickly set about rebuilding lost property. Potter Palmer, whose brand new hotel burned down just 13 days after the grand opening, immediately drew up plans for a second construction directly across the street. Fire codes saw heavy reforms and everyone sought to uphold the sentiment of one Chicago Tribune editorial, which wrote "Cheer up. In midst of a calamity without parallel in the world's history, looking upon the ashes of thirty years' accumulations, the people of this once beautiful city have resolved that Chicago shall rise again." The transportation hub kept on moving.
The Museum of Science and Industry
Not into art? Who says a museum isn't the place for you? Learn about innovative breakthroughs in areas such as energy, environmental work, study of the human body, and space exploration and transportation at the Museum of Science and Industry. Located near the University of Chicago, the museum covers a total of 350,000 square feet and includes more than 800 exhibits and 2,000 interactive units.
The long lines you might see at this popular Chicago attraction are well worth the risk. The aquarium's many attractions, including a 3 million gallon marine animal habitat called the Oceanarium, house close to 20,000 sea-dwellers from 1,500 species. Shows and info sessions starring the popular Pacific white sided dolphins and Sandbar Sharks occur multiple times a day in specially engineered in environments that mimic real life habitats.
Lily Pool Pavilion
This secret section of Lincoln Park is mostly visited by Chicago connoisseurs looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Most recently designed in the 1930s by Alfred Caldwell, the exclusive section of the park features water and land based plants indigenous to the Midwest. With its beautiful stone outcroppings and cascading waterfall, the hidden garden is the perfect place to loosen up, wind down, and shrug off the burdens of big city life.
Seize the opportunity to enjoy a rivalry match between the Chicago Cubs and the St. Louis Cardinals. Constructed in 1914, Wrigley is second-oldest major league ball park in the country, having hosted the great American pastime for 97 straight seasons. Visit the conference website to secure your tickets through NAFCU and learn about other special events that will be held throughout the conference.
The Michigan Canal
If the town had already boomed, it was about to explode. With construction finished on the Michigan Canal in 1848, Chicago became the link between the Great lakes and the Mississippi, and from there, to the distant Gulf of Mexico. With its new land, water, and later air connections, the initially isolated trading post of Chicago had become one of the country's biggest commercial highways and had become the hub of American transportation.