Settled in the 1780s, it's possible that Chicago was explored as early as 1679 -- when the first reference to the city was made by Robert de LaSalle, a French explorer who focused on the Great Lakes Region. He wrote about a place called "Checagou" in his memoir, where he claimed the name came from the "quantity of garlic which grows in the forests."
Millennium Park offers a lakefront experience like nothing else you'll find in America. The park's iconic Cloudgate, a mirrored sculpture affectionately dubbed "The Bean," will give you a whole new perspective of the skyline behind you, and in the winter time, you can hit this Loop hot spot to ice skate on a huge temporary rink. The Art Institute of Chicago is right next door, giving this whole part of town a very Central Park feel.

Next to the historic Water Tower and John Hancock Building, Water Tower Place offers six indoor stories of shops and restaurants, including the Chicago Sports Museum and the American Girl Cafe and store, where young girls can customize their own doll, browse her entire wardrobe collection, and even attend a tea party with theatrical reenactments of the associated books.
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