Chicago is a metropolis like no other. Not only do they have amazing pizza and world-famous hot dogs on nearly every corner, but this city has tons of stuff to occupy your time without breaking the bank. That's one of the reasons you'll love taking a trip up to the Windy City!

Now here's a list of some of the best things to see when you take a trip to Chicago:

Now if all that wasn't enough to whet your appetite, here's even more great info about what's shaking in Chi-Town.

Visit the parks of Chicago

The coolest part about Chicago's parks is that there is almost always something really awesome going on. From the Midnight Circus, Dance in the Parks, and JazzCity to Shakespeare in the Parks, your family will be enthralled by the magic that is frequently found in the stunning beauty and tranquil settings that make up the Chicago park system.

Relax at the beach

Since Chicago is right on Lake Michigan (which is one of the reasons it gets so freakin' cold there in the winter with the wind coming off the lake), summers here are marvelous. There are tons of beaches to choose from like Illinois Beach State Park which is perfect for the outdoor enthusiast with its nature trails and beach camping, Kathy Osterman Beach with its white sands and some of the most spectacular views of Lake Michigan in the city, and many more. But almost everyone's favorite beach is North Avenue Beach with its bike and sports equipment rentals, volleyball courts and the center stage for the Chicago Air and Water Show.

Check out the Magnificent Mile

If you love shopping, I know that you'll think the Magnificent Mile is heaven on earth. This stretch of Michigan Avenue features world-renowned stores and boutiques like Hugo Boss, Ralph Lauren, Burberry, Escada and Louis Vuitton. Even if you can't afford to buy anything at these stores, the window shopping is incomparable! And if shopping isn't your thing, there are also tons of events that happen on the Mile that you won't want to miss, including the Chicago Craft Beer Week at Howells & Hood and Sweetwater Tavern & Grille in May, Broadway in Chicago's "Book of Mormon" throughout the summer, and the Jazz Series at the Drake Hotel through October.

Hang out at the beer gardens of Chicago

I first discovered beer gardens in college. They're fun places to chill with friends, chow down on tasty eats, play games, meet new people, find favorite brews and sample some new ones. Chicago has more beer gardens than you can shake a stick at, and each of them has something that makes them unique. If you want to feel glamorous, head to the rooftop lounge at Epic Sky in the heart of River North. Craving seafood? Head over to Maude's Liquor Bar where you can toss back as many drinks as you do shellfish. And if you simply want to hook up, John Barleycorn should be on your radar - just like it is for every college grad that moves to the city. Of course, there are tons of other options, so check out this list from Time Out Chicago.

Visit the zoo in Lincoln Park - It's free!

Whether you're a kid or a grown up, a day at the zoo is one of those activities that is almost always memorable. Lincoln Park Zoo is one of the nation's oldest zoos and houses more than 1200 animals! This phenomenal facility also has a children's zoo, paddle boats and other great activities within the park. Easy to navigate, this destination is also perfect for individuals with disabilities, as you will see in the video below. Best of all, you won't have to pay admission to visit.

So you want to go to Chicago?

Of course, you could always fly or drive to Chicago, but why not make your trip extra special? Hop aboard Amtrak's Texas Eagle and take in some of America's most beautiful sites while you relax in the comfort of your plush seat or sleeping car. It will definitely make the trip one to remember.

Know what else would make this trip memorable? Win a trip to Chicago aboard the Texas Eagle from Amtrak and Holiday Inn! Not only will you have loads of fun, but you'll also save tons of cash.