Chicago was my best city experience in the USA and probably my best city experience whatsoever.
The Hostel was more confortable than most Hostels I have seen in Europe. However, it was a little bit
more expensive (32$) but for Chicago this is quite cheap (nice single room at loop is 1700$ a month!).
The infrastructure included couches, pool, ping pong, kitchen and fridge to use, laundry and a lot of free events.
I got to know more about the USA, Australia, Canada, Russia, Travelling itself...
At the Chicago loop, there are a lot of Universities. Therefore, you can meet a lot of students all around the city.
Public transportation is better than in the rest of the USA and affordable.
Also, the local people I have met were very friendly.
The following things you can see in Chicago, listened highest to lowest priority (in my opinion).
- Sears aka willis tower (Touristic but the highest skyscraper in the USA). Tip: Go shortly before sunset to see
the view at day and night.
- The loop (Downtown) incl. Millenium Park (The Bean)
- Navy peer. See the Skyline and the huge lake.
- Jazz / Blues Club. Unique experience :) Check also for current Music festivals in town.
- Eat a Chicago pizza and Chicago Dog (Hot Dog).
- Planetarium, or better it's surroundings. Best view of the skyline in my opinion.
Surrounding includes a very cool small beach and an open park (not as beautiful as lincoln though).
- lincoln park (and perhaps zoo). More beautiful than the usual parks...
Lincoln Square is also the place to go out in the weekend ;)
- Library at the south border of the loop (different than the libraries I have seen in Zuerich XD :P)
Offers e.g. free piano practice possibilities, also for tourists :)