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The Midwest's largest city has grown into the third most populous place in the United States and is now most famous as the birthplace of the blues and the home of what was once the world's tallest building, the Sears Tower. Despite Chicago's sprawling size and several unique neighbourhoods, many tourists tend to stay near the downtown Loop. This is where most famous Chicago skyscrapers, museums, and landmarks are located on the shores of Lake Michigan.
Visitors who tour Chicago by rented RV, however, are advised to park their vehicles far outside the city and take public transportation. Chicago driving can be challenging and few RV parks are situated near the city limits, while many also close during Chicago's notoriously cold winters. The surrounding suburbs extend as far north as southeast Wisconsin and as far east as northwestern Indiana. Two of the area's most extensive flower collections, the Chicago Botanic Garden and the Morton Arboretum, are located in the suburbs of Glencoe and Lisle.
Many Chicago explorations begin by strolling along the Michigan Avenue section better known as the Magnificent Mile. Giant shopping centres such as the Water Tower Place and Place Mall are surrounded by hundreds of smaller places to shop and eat. The Chicago Museum Mile is situated around 5th Avenue. One of the city's biggest museums, the Museum of Science and Industry, features a German submarine and coal mine inside the former Palace of Fine Arts.
The Lincoln Park Zoo, which boasts more than 1,200 animals, boasts one of the world's most successful endangered species breeding programs, a greenhouse with a rainforest, paddle boats, and even its own small train. The nearby Lincoln Park Conservatory contains an equally impressive collection of flora.
However, the zoo and conservatory are only a couple of Lincoln Park's numerous attractions. A lakeside theatre hosts frequent summer outdoor performances. Athletes can work out at a gym, six basketball counts, 15 baseball fields, 163 volleyball courts, or 35 tennis courts. Not far from the park is North Avenue Beach, one of the city's most popular spots for sunbathing, swimming, and chess watching.The gigantic Navy Pier is a busy complex filled with amusement park rides, green spaces, and even an IMAX cinema. The Shakespeare Museum, Children's Museum, and Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows are worth seeing too.
The Chicago McCormick Place Marshalling Yard is the closest place to park a recreational vehicle in the city, but only offers basic facilities.
The nearest KOA campground to Chicago is Chicago Northwest KOA, located next to Donley's Wild West Town. Several other family friendly amusement parks, such as Six Flags Great America and Santa's Village Azoosment Park are also nearby.
An even more rural retreat can be found at the Grass Lake Marina and RV Park, situated the Chain O`Lakes region of north Illinois. Both park residents and everyone else are welcome at the swimming pond and Grass Lake Landing restaurant.
Downtown Chicago driving is not recommended to anyone unfamiliar with the city due to confusing street names, heavy traffic, and scarce parking. One particularly scenic road, however, is U.S. Highway 41, otherwise known as Lake Shore Drive. The rest of Illinois provides far less stressful driving conditions, but drinking and driving laws (80 mg/dL) are always strictly enforced.