Chicago's Lakefront

Photo: Thinkstock

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It may be the Windy City, but Chicago has more to offer than just cold and snow. When it comes to warm weather, Chicagoans prove that absence makes the heart grow fonder! Come summertime, locals head outdoors to enjoy a day at the beach, a bike ride along the lakefront or a picnic in any of the city's 7,300 acres of parkland—more than any city in the U.S.

To Do: Tap into your animal instincts at the Lincoln Park Zoo. It's free, and it houses 230 different species of animals. Finish the day with a ride in the swanlike paddle boats or take a turn on the Endangered Species Carousel.

To See:: Enjoy the view from the Skydeck at the Sears Tower, the nation's tallest building. On a clear day, you can see across Lake Michigan into Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin.

To Eat:: The Windy City is famous for its pizza—deep dish, of course. It was invented at Chicago's Pizzeria Uno in the early '40s. Today, mouthwatering variations on the pan pizza theme abound.

To Stay:: Book a hotel overlooking the lake—you'll get a priceless view with some fun people-watching on the side.

For more information, visit Chicago's official website.