CHICAGO — Frank Lloyd Wright couldn't have built it better, and he had a hand in it. The Windy City is often described as an architectural dream, but Chicago has more to show a visitor than just distinctive buildings.
Chicago offers a plethora of things to do. It is home to 34 museums, more than 150 theaters and 6,000 restaurants. It hosts some 200 parades annually. With 552 parks in the area, it is an outdoorsman's delight. There are 29 miles of lake front, and 15 miles of that is bathing beaches. Bicycle paths alone make up 18 miles of Lake Michigan lake front.
Tours of the city can be helpful. Gray Line of Chicago offers land and lake tours. Tel. (312) 251-3107. Chicago Motor Coach tours the city in an English double-decker bus. Tel. (312) 922-8919
For fans of the gangster era, Untouchable Tours provides a 1920's view of the city. Tel. (773) 881-1195.
A large number of boat tour companies offer tours of the Chicago River and harbor and Lake Michigan. Shoreline Sightseeing Co. has 30-minute cruises. Tel. (312) 222-9328. Mercury Cruise Lines offers a variety of tour times and prices. Tel. (312) 332-1353.
The Shedd Aquarium's oceanarium is the world's largest indoor marine mammal pavilion. Tel. (312) 939-2438.
The Museum of Science and Industry is a hands-on museum with an Omnimax Theater. Tel. (312) 684-1414.
The Field Museum is a natural history museum featuring everything from dinosaurs to a replica of a pyramid. Tel. (312) 992-9410.
The Art Institute of Chicago has the largest collection of impressionist paintings outside the Louvre in Paris. Tel. (312) 443-3600.
The Adler Planetarium was the first planetarium in the Western Hemisphere. Tel. (312) 922-7827.
Music & dance
For those who love music, Chicago Cultural Center has free music on Wednesdays. Tel. (312) 346-3278.
On June 16, Steppenwolf Theatre's ``Traffic'' Series will have Honeyboy Edwards and Franz Jackson. Tel. (312) 335-1650. Tunes at Noon will be at the Chicago Music Mart. Tel. (312) 362-6700.
Juke box and live music with an international beat is featured at the House of Blues. Tel. (312) 923-2020.
Every night at 9:00 the blues begins at B.L.U.E.S. Tel. (773) 528-1012.
Live Jazz is featured every night at Andy's Jazz Club. Tel. (312) 642-6805.
The Pump Room offers cabaret-style music and a small dance floor. There is a dress code after 4:30 pm. Tel. (312) 266-0360.
The Joffrey Ballet of Chicago will perform June 14-22, at the Civic Opera House. Tel. (312) 902-1500. The collection of 20th century works includes ``Kettentanz,'' ``Rodeo'' and ``Parade.''
The Arie Crown Theater, in McCormick Place, is Chicago's largest indoor theater. For performances and prices, call (312) 977-1755.
NPE's timing is excellent for Chicago baseball fans. The Cubs and White Sox will be playing each other at Comiskey Park, June 16-18. Tel. (312) 674-1000 for ticket information.
Lake fishing is permitted in Chicago as long as it doesn't interfere with public use areas and all laws are obeyed. For details, call the Chicago Sportfishing Association at (312) 992-1100.
The Forest Preserve District of Cook County runs eight 18-hole and five nine-hole golf courses. For information about fees and tee times, call (708) 366-9420.
Thoroughbred racing is showcased at Arlington International Racecourse in Arlington Heights. Tel. (847) 255-4300.
From June 18-21, Chicago will host the 10th anniversary of Celebrate on State Street Festival. The festival features food, music, arts and crafts on the newly renovated State Street. Tel. (312) 782-9160.
The Lincoln Park Zoo, the country's oldest public zoo, is open from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. Tel. (312) 742-2000.
Navy Pier features a 150-foot Ferris wheel, an Imax theater, the Skyline Stage, restaurants, shops and a new jazz club. Tel. (312) 595-7437.
The Water Tower and its pumping station, both of which survived the Great Fire of 1871, are in the heart of the shopping district. The pumping station is now a visitor's center. Tel. (800) 226-6632.
Sears Tower, the tallest U.S. building, gives tours of its sky deck. Tel. (312) 875-9696.
The John Hancock Center, the 10th-tallest building in the world, offers a spectacular view of Chicago and, on clear days, four states. Tel. (888) 875-8439.
For traveling help on the Internet, there are a few sites that may be useful. For help with tickets, Ticketmaster has an online solution. Its site is http://www.ticket master.com. For assistance from the Chicago Board of Tourism, try http://www.ci.chi.il.us/Tourism. Fodors, the publisher of many tourism books, has a site that offers advice on planning a tour: http:/www.fodors.com.