24 hours in Chicago

The city famous for blues, wind and gangsters, and the starting point of the “Mother Road” of America, Route 66, hosts NeoCon from 10 to 12 June


The birthplace of Al Capone, Walt Disney, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Oprah Winfrey. The location for films like The Blues Brothers, The Untouchables, The Dark Knight, Chicago, and the TV series Chicago PD, Med, Fire and Hope. Famous for the song Sweet Home Chicago and the Chicago Bulls. The third largest city in the USA by population after New York and Los Angeles, a lively contemporary metropolis, a place of true legend and concrete experience.

NeoCon is held in Chicago from 10 to 12 June, an event on the design of workplaces, a gathering point for designers and users, which since 1969 has presented the latest products and services by leading companies and emerging talents, providing unrivalled access to the most innovative solutions. And an opportunity to visit the city. After having slept in one of the hotels of the latest generation, like the CitizenM Chicago Downtown, a pioneer of luxury hospitality at affordable prices just opened at 300 North Michigan Ave. – 280 guestrooms inside a 47-story tower, with a façade by the artist Nina Chanel Abney – don’t miss breakfast with bacon and eggs at the Billy Goat Tavern & Grill, at 430 North on the same thoroughfare, founded in 1934 by a Greek immigrant.

Magnificent Mile

North Michigan Avenue is the Magnificent Mile, the shopping artery with 460 stores, 275 restaurants, 51 hotels and many other things to do and see, also featuring structures like the Water Tower, which survived the fire that destroyed most of the city in 1871, and the Chicago Tribune Building, home of the most popular Midwest newspaper.

Navy Pier

Not so far away you will find Navy Pier, a panoramic wharf facing Lake Michigan, used as a training center by the US Navy during World War II and until the 1980s.

Cloud Gate by Anish Kapoor

From here you can head on foot for Millennium Park, a showcase of modern architecture, with masterpieces like the Pritzker Pavilion, ready to welcome up to 15,000 people for concerts, and the very famous “Bean,” as the locals call it, namely the Cloud Gate: a silvery sculpture weighing over 100 tons with a bean-like form by the British artist Anish Kapoor, formed by 168 sheets of stainless steel welded together to reflect the sky, people and the skyline of the city.

Art Institute of Chicago

Nearby, art lovers can get lost amidst the 11 collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, opened in 1893 and now one of the most important museums in the United States, containing works like A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat, The Bedroom and a self-portrait by Vincent Van Gogh. Next, at a distance of one kilometer on foot, another important sight is the Buckingham Fountain inspired by the Latona Fountain in the gardens of the Palace of Versailles.

Willis Tower

To view the city from above, one of the best spots is the Willis Tower, the world’s tallest building from 1973 to 1998, with a height of 443 meters or – as a sign explains – “262 Michael Jordans, 313 Oprah Winfreys and 283 Barack Obamas.” The glass cubicles of The Ledge convey the impression of being suspended in the void.

Chicago Theatre

One of the most interesting districts of the “Windy City” is the Loop, the economic and historical fulcrum of Chicago, with locations from the 1800s like the Monadnock Building and the Rookery, which took its name from the flocks of pigeons that would perch there, futuristic constructions like the Aqua Tower, as well as works of Art Deco like the Carbide and Carbon Building and the Chicago Board of Trade. This is also the zone of the legendary Chicago Theatre and a 15-meter sculpture by Picasso, donated to the city in the 1960s.

The Mart

Not far from the Chicago Theatre you will find The Mart, the largest private commercial building in the United States: with an area of over 390,000 square meters, it is 25 stories high and is visited by an average of 30,000 people per day. The headquarters of the most creative and technologically advanced companies in Chicago, it is also the largest and most important design center in North America, with more than 250 showrooms. From 10 to 12 June, this is the location of NeoCon.

Gino’s East

Visitors simply cannot miss the famous “Deep Dish Pizza,” a typical local treat with many optional ingredients, served up by the famous Gino’s East since the 1940s. Other specialties include the Chicago-style hot dog with pickles and no ketchup, to sample at Portillo’s, and brownies, created right here in Chicago in the mid-1800s.

Buddy Guy’s Legends

To complete the evening in style, a blues show is a great choice: at Millennium Park in June people flock to the Chicago Blues Festival, this year from 6 to 9 June, but the city is full of venues for this musical genre, like the historic Buddy Guy’s Legends, at 700 South Wabash, Kingston Mines at 2548 North Halsted Street, or Blue Chicago at 536 North Clark Street.

Route 66

Finally, a particular tribute should be paid to the symbol par excellence of “on the road” culture in all its meanings: Chicago is the starting point of Route 66, the Mother Road of America, which leads to the other side of the continent, in California. Two signs indicate its presence, on East Adams Street, prior to the intersection with Michigan Avenue in the Loop: our favorite is the vintage brown version, with the inscription “Historic Route – Begin.”