I have participated in the Lifetime Chicago Triathlon (Olympic distance) for four years, and have really enjoyed the races. The entire race takes place in and around the the shore of Lake Michigan. The venue is quite pretty. The only down side is that you have to check in all your gear at the transition area by 5:50 am. Also the parking is pretty expensive (25$ per car). For the last race I drove in from home and parked early to get checked in, then my family came to meet me and also had to pay to park. There is public transportation ( Elevated train, Buses, Cabs) that is available for spectators to use to get to the race site.