Chicago is the third-biggest city in the USA, but it's not one to make a song and dance about size - this city goes about its business in the shadow of its attention-seeking siblings New York and LA. But it deserves some spotlight of its own, for all the right reasons - namely sport, art and architecture, great food, and fun festivals.
Icelandair offers a daily cheap flight from the UK and Europe to Chicago, to let you feel the Windy City's wind in your hair.
En route, what about a stopover for wild and windswept landscapes in Iceland? When you book flights to Chicago with Icelandair you have the opportunity to add a stopover in Iceland at no additional airfare.
There's fine opportunity for lakeside downtime on the shores of Lake Michigan, and Navy Pier is a landmark that draws thousands of tourists to play among its amusement rides and restaurants. It goes off with a bang twice a week in summer, when fireworks brighten the sky.
Skyscrapers reach for the stars too: the 108-story Willis Tower was the tallest building in the world for 25 years. Step onto its glass-bottomed Skydeck, if you dare! At ground level, public art dazzles, especially at Millennium Park. Here, 'the Bean' (officially titled 'Cloud Gate') is a seamless, smooth and reflective sculpture that everyone wants to photograph. Don't stop there - the nearby Art Institute of Chicago is the second-largest art museum in the country, and is renowned for its impressionist collection.
Building a profile for itself as one of the city's finest dining destinations, Chicago tantalizes foodies with a string of big-name, awarded restaurants, plus some great little ethnic eateries. Stop by the Green City Market for a cooking demonstration from one of the city's big-name chefs, or head to Wicker Park for some buzzed-about new places.
The city is known for its deep-dish pizza, doughy and with a thick, high crust. But we think your favorite meal might just be a picnic listening to a free summertime concert in Millennium Park, or hot dogs and beers among the passionate, baseball-loving locals at century-old Wrigley Field.
Who can resist an area called the Magnificent Mile? This prestigious stretch of real estate lines Michigan Avenue, sprawling over 13 blocks between the Chicago River and Oak Street. It offers a smorgasbord of malls, boutiques, galleries, cafes and restaurants that fill the city with life – and style. Some show-off statistics to inspire your pre-trip budgeting: 460 stores live on the Magnificent Mile, plus 275 restaurants and 60 hotels. That is heavy-duty retail magnificence.
If the Mag Mile sounds a little too glossy for your tastes, there are more down-to-earth options in local markets and neighborhood strips. Make a beeline for the Randolph Street Market, modeled after London's Portobello Market, for vintage, antiques, and indie designers, and some top-notch people-watching.