- Published on
16 Top Things To Do In Chicago
- Jonathan Chum
Chicago is one of the most beloved cities in America. It's a city that never gets old, and it's always evolving. With so many things to do in Chicago, it can be hard to narrow down your list of must-sees. To help you out with that task, here are some suggestions for how best to spend a few days in the Windy City:
Art Institute of Chicago
The Art Institute of Chicago is a museum of art, with a permanent collection of over 300,000 objects, including American paintings, sculptures, and works on paper; European paintings and sculptures; Asian art; and ancient art.
The institute's galleries are housed in an impressive building that was completed in 1893 by the firm Graham, Anderson, Probst & White to replace the original structure commissioned by Marshall Field's wife Bertha Palmer. The building has been expanded several times since its opening. The most recent addition was completed in 2002.
Located in Chicago, Millennium Park is one of the most popular destinations in the city. Designed by Frank Gehry, it has become an iconic landmark that attracts locals and tourists alike. The focal point of this park is Cloud Gate (AKA "The Bean"), a sculpture consisting solely of steel and reflecting water that makes it look like there's a giant mirror below ground level, making you feel like you're standing in an infinite universe.
While some might be intimidated by its size or perhaps even turned off by its reflective surface, Cloud Gate (AKA "The Bean") is quite beautiful when viewed up close---and thanks to its unique design, there's no shortage of opportunities for selfies! Even if you're not interested in taking photos of yourself reflected on the surface of this massive sculpture (which was designed specifically for photography), there are plenty more reasons why Millennium Park should be high on your list during your stay in Chicago:
-The park is filled with art and culture, including an outdoor theater and many works of public art by famous artists like Jaume Plensa. -There are plenty of activities for kids to do, including a children's garden complete with a maze made entirely out of plants! -It's home to the Chicago Shakespeare Theater (which hosts plays year round) as well as Comedy Sportz Chicago (which puts on improv shows).
Willis Tower Skydeck Chicago
Chicago's skyline is full of iconic buildings. But do you know what the tallest one is? The Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower) has an observation deck on its 103rd floor that offers breathtaking views of the city in all directions.
Skydeck Chicago opened in 1974, making it one of the oldest observation decks in America. It is also the highest observation deck in the Western Hemisphere---so if you want to see Chicago from above, this is your place to go!
If you need a break from the cold, Shedd Aquarium is always a good choice. It's one of the top attractions in Chicago and offers plenty to do inside. You can see sea life from all over the world, including penguins and seals. There are also interactive exhibits that let visitors get up close with some fish and even touch them!
Lincoln Park Zoo
Lincoln Park Zoo is the oldest zoo in the United States and one of the most visited zoos in the country. It's home to over 1,300 animals representing 250 species, including a giraffe herd, a cheetah run, and an African elephant exhibit. The zoo also has an aquarium that houses more than 500 different species of fish and aquatic plants from around the world.
The Chicago Riverwalk is a great way to see the city and check out some of its most popular attractions. The riverfront trail extends from Lake Street in the north to Wells Street in the south, encompassing over seven miles of paved walkways, bike lanes, and on-street parking. This network makes it easy for visitors to explore Chicago's downtown area at their leisure.
Biking or jogging along an urban path isn't everyone's idea of fun, but if you're looking for something different from a typical sightseeing tour then consider renting a bike or rollerblades so that you can enjoy all that this beautiful stretch of land has to offer! You'll pass through Grant Park (home of Millennium Park) as well as Millennium Station---a transportation hub with direct rail links from O'Hare International Airport---and Pritzker Pavilion concert venue where outdoor concerts take place during summer months.
The Magnificent Mile
The Magnificent Mile is a shopping district in downtown Chicago, which will be the first place you'll want to hit when you get into town. The mile includes many high-end stores such as Tiffany & Co., Neiman Marcus, and Louis Vuitton. You can also find all of your favorite luxury retailers like Gucci, Burberry, and more along this strip.
If you're looking for a place to eat after all your shopping, there are plenty of options on The Magnificent Mile! Some great restaurants include Billy Goat Tavern (famous for its cheeseburgers), Planet Hollywood (a great spot for burgers or pizza), and Fiorella's Jack Stack Barbecue (a local favorite).
360 CHICAGO Observation Deck (Formerly John Hancock Observatory)
360 CHICAGO is the tallest building in the western hemisphere, and it has a view that's not to be missed. Located on the 94th floor of this shiny skyscraper, 360 CHICAGO offers visitors sweeping views of both Chicago and Lake Michigan through large glass windows as well as interactive exhibits that explain how wind works, why clouds have different colors and shapes, and more. The observation deck is open year-round except for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Museum of Science and Industry Chicago
The Museum of Science and Industry Chicago is the largest science museum in the western hemisphere. With over 1,000 exhibits and more than 400 hands-on activities, you'll be sure to spend your entire day immersed in science. This museum is open year-round, so visit anytime!
Cloud Gate a.k.a The Bean
The Bean is a public sculpture by Indian-born British artist Anish Kapoor, that was first installed in 2006 as part of the AT&T Plaza at Millennium Park in Chicago, Illinois. It was designed by the artist Cecil Balmond of engineering consultancy Buro Happold.
The Bean is composed of 168 stainless steel plates welded together to form an ellipse with vertical sides (100 feet by 110 feet). The bright reflective surface changes color depending on the time of day and the angle it is viewed, reflecting city skylines and clouds above. A shallow pool lies beneath its base; this catches rainwater and serves as an ice rink during winter months.
Architectural River Tour
The Architectural River Tour is a guided boat tour that lasts two hours and departs from Michigan Avenue Bridge. The tour guide points out architectural landmarks as you pass by them, so if you're interested in architecture or design this would be an excellent way to get your feet wet. Tickets are $20 per person.
Maggie Daley Park
Maggie Daley Park is a public park located in the Loop community area of Chicago, Illinois. The park is named after former Chicago First Lady Maggie Daley, who died of cancer in 2011.
Maggie Daley Park was designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates and opened on June 10, 2015. It features an ice skating ribbon (winter only), tennis courts, volleyball courts, kiddie playgrounds, and soccer fields among other amenities. It also has a landscaped lawn for general use during warmer months as well as large lawn areas for strolling or picnicking during mild weather months.
Check out Navy Pier
Navy Pier is a large pier on the Chicago River in downtown Chicago, Illinois.
Navy Pier is located in the Michigan--Wacker Historic District, which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 18, 1975.
Museum of Science and Industry
The Museum of Science and Industry is a great place to start your day. It features the last remaining building from the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893, which was held in Chicago and commemorated the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus's voyage to America.
The MSI has more than 40 acres of indoor exhibit space filled with hands-on displays and engaging activities for kids as well as adults. There are also plenty of interactive exhibits for older children at this museum, making it a fun family destination for all ages!
Lincoln Park Zoo
The Lincoln Park Zoo is one of the city's most popular attractions, but it's also very much a family-friendly place. With more than 1,100 animals representing 210 species (including elephants), the zoo offers something for everyone---especially those with kids in tow.
There are plenty of opportunities to get up close and personal with some of your favorite creatures: feed goats and sheep at Farm-in-the-Zoo; watch penguins swim in their habitat at Penguin & Puffin Coast, or celebrate World Lion Day at Cat Country every year on August 10th by watching lions playfully interact with each other.
Even if you're not usually an animal person, you'll still enjoy yourself here---it's free! Plus, if you're looking for something more educational than just seeing cute animals playing around together all day long (but not too educational...), many exhibits offer insight into how zoos are run while educating visitors on conservation efforts around the world. And if all else fails? You can always head over to "Explore! Chicago" where they have cool stuff like 3D printing machines and virtual reality headsets for kids who want something new and exciting before hitting up another exhibit!
It's a conservatory! It's got plants, flowers, and trees. It's open to the public and it's free. You can see it on your own or a tour. If you're near Lincoln Park, this is a great place to go for nature-loving adventure seekers who want to commune with nature in an urban setting. The Garfield Conservatory is adjacent to Lincoln Park Zoo and the statue of Abraham Lincoln that gives the park its name.
If you are looking for a place to visit that has so much to offer, then Chicago is the city for you. You will never get bored with all of the different things to do in this beautiful city. Enjoy!