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Living in the Midwest, I can vouch for the fact that Chicago is one of our last large, shiny gems. There are plenty of job opportunities for locals, enough shopping and beautiful sights for tourists to spend weeks visiting, and the whole expanse of Lake Michigan’s sparkling waters for everyone. The cultural melting pot, not as common in the Midwest as in other parts of the country, gives the city its flair and unique feel.

As a local, I can suggest a few things for the traveler. Chicago Hotels can be found at unbeatable prices by combating them against each other in the ultimate fight for tourists’ business. The website compares location, price and other factors to help travelers find the perfect accommodation.

Another great Chicago website is The Examiner which includes Chicago news, reviews of nightlife and shows, weather, sports and resources for those visiting or living in the area. This site is an excellent aid for finding things to do during your visit.

If you are visiting Chicago for a taste of the cuisine, check out the restaurant finder. After sampling from a few places, you may include your opinion for others who use the site, too.

I can also suggest not just checking out the scenery, but heading to a show or sporting event while in town. This helps round out the experience by adding a cultural twist. You may see mostly tourists near the big sights, but at shows or games, you will be cheering right next to locals, getting a better feel for the true side of Chicago.