HomeIllinoisChicago49 Best places to visit and Things to do in Chicago, Illinois

49 Best places to visit and Things to do in Chicago, Illinois

Are you more of an urban traveler who finds solace in the bustling life of a busy city? Then Chicago is just the place for you. Popularly known as the Windy City, Chicago is a world-class architectural spectacle designed with lots of planning and care. Chicago is as much known for its awe-inspiring skyline, dotted with towers and skyscrapers, as it is for its parks and shoreline along Lake Michigan and Chicago River. The list of things to do in Chicago is endless and so is that of places to go in Chicago.

Chicago’s essence lies in its people, culture, food, festivals, and events. The best way to soak in the spirit of the city is to go on architectural river cruises, check out museums and a pier, appreciate public art across the length and breadth of the city… there is something for everyone on the list of Chicago things to do. Indulge the foodie in you or go pub-hopping; there’s never any dearth of entertainment in Chicago. So, get your itinerary ready, pack your bags and get going.

Skydeck

A trip to Chicago will be incomplete if you miss the spectacular view of the city from the Skydeck on 103rd floor of the 110-story Willis Tower (one of the tallest skyscrapers in the world). At 1,353 feet (412.4 meters), the Skydeck’s Ledge is the most attractive part. A platform entirely made of glass, standing on it will give you the experience of a lifetime. And if you are lucky enough to visit on a sunny day, you could get a see as far as adjoining states of Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, and other parts of Illinois.

For the most stunning views, visit the Skydeck on Willis Tower either early in the morning or at dusk (to catch the sunset view or the nightscape of Chicago). Being a top draw among Chicago things to do, we suggest you drop by early to avoid standing in serpentine queues.

SkyDeck Chicago Willis Tower, 9/4/09

Address: 233 S Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60606, US | Timing: The timings may have changed owing to the pandemic. Please check https://theskydeck.com/ for the latest timings. | Google Map Location: https://g.page/SkydeckChicagoChicago?share | Phone Number: +13128759447

Take River Boat Tours and Lake Cruises

Kick-start your holiday in Chicago by taking in the grandeur of the city skyline. One of the best things to do in Chicago is to go on a cruise on Lake Michigan or along the Chicago River in one of the numerous boats afloat on them. Choose from a wide range of cruises on offer — calming ones on Lake Michigan or high-energy speed boat rides — and spend anything between 40 mins to almost two hours marveling at the towers, and skyscrapers along the shore.

Besides the most popular of the cruises — the Chicago Architecture Foundation Center River Cruise — sunset dinner cruises are a big hit. If you are one of those who likes to take things into their own hands, then try the Electric Boat Company Tour, where you can steer the ship yourself with/without a guide’s help.

Architecture River Cruise (35549573611).jpg
By piet theisohn, CC BY 2.0, Link

Address (Wendella Tours and cruises): 400 N Michigan Ave Suite C100, Chicago, IL 60611, US | Timing: 9:00am to 9:00pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/7K3JS1VQ6DJnjSnPA | Phone Number: +13123371446

Art Institute of Chicago

The Art Institute of Chicago is a paradise for students and art lovers and was founded in 1879 as a museum as well as a school for fine arts. The institute’s permanent collection features almost 300,000 works by artists of all genres from across the world, including contemporary designs, installations, textiles, etc. Exhibits include intriguing artifacts from European armor, and interior designs and furnishings in Europe and America from the late 13th to early 20th centuries.

The institute is home to the greatest collection of impressionist and post-impressionist art collections outside Paris, as well as modern art masterpieces by artists like Monet, van Gogh, Toulouse-Lautrec, Jackson Pollock, Warhol, Jasper Johns, and Matisse. The most noteworthy possessions of the institute are Nighthawks by Edward Hopper, American Gothic by Grant Wood, and Seurat’s A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. We suggest you spend a day here to admire this clever storehouse.

Art Institute of Chicago.jpg
By Tripp, CC BY 2.0, Link

Address: 111 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603, US | Timing: Thursday to Monday 11:00am to 6:00pm, Tuesday to Wednesday Closed | Google Map Location: https://g.page/artinstitutechi?share | Phone Number: +13124433600

Chicago Pizza Tours

It can’t get better than a guided pizza tour while on holiday! For some fun things to do in Chicago, hop onto one of the guided bus tours of significant pizzerias as well as no-so-well-known local shops. The initiative, which started in 2009, was designed by local pizza lover Jonathan Porter.

Although initially it was managed only by him, the Chicago Pizza Tours now has ten employees who take visitors on a culinary ride in several buses. The initiative engages participants in multiple activities besides exploring the best pizza joints in Chicago. Time to dig in, we say!

Chicago-style-pizza-03.jpg
By Mad Mod Smith, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link

Address: 27 N Upper Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60606, US | Timing: 9:00am to 7:00pm | Google Map Location: https://g.page/chipizzatour?share | Phone Number: +13122218502

Grant Park

Popularly known as Chicago’s front yard, Grant Park is a massive green space within the city where most of the items in your list of things to do in Chicago Il will get ticked off. Home to a lot of top Chicago attractions, Grant Park, is as popular among vacationers as it is among the locals. Millennium Park, the Museum Campus Chicago, the Art Institute of Chicago, Maggie Daley Park, and the Soldier Field are all part of Grant Park’s boundary.

It is advisable to keep a whole day to spend at Grant Park so that you can pack in as much sight-seeing and activities as possible. If not in a mood to visit any of the adjoining destinations, just spend the day lounging at Grant Park with your family. You can go for long walks, visit the flower gardens, or laze around in the grassy terrains of Grant Park. Sports lovers can have a field day at the baseball diamonds and tennis courts.

Chicago Grant Park night pano (Blue Cross Blue Shield Tower "Hawks Win") 2.jpg
By Daniel Schwen, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

Address: 337 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60601, US | Timing: 6:00am to 11:00pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/ThYub4t8ZTMGmWAN9 | Phone Number: +13127423918

Millennium Park

One of the top Chicago attractions is Millennium Park, an award-winning space within Grant Park. If you are looking for innovative art, architecture, landscaping, an ice-skating rink, and much more, then Millennium Park is the place for you. Equally popular among locals and visitors, the top attractions at Millennium Park include the Crown Fountain, Cloud Gate, Lurie Garden, Haris Theatre, among others.

Of course, one of the most favorite stops within Millennium Park is the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, designed by Frank Gehry. It is the venue for numerous music concerts and festivals, including those by major recording artistes and the likes of Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Lyric Opera of Chicago. Sightseers also throng Millennium Park for the very popular Cloud Gate.

Millennium Monument, Millennium Park, Chicago (5946055473).jpg
By Rob Young, CC BY 2.0, Link

Address: 201 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60602, US | Timing: 6:00am to 11:00pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/vBSssm3imV5tEYw47 | Phone Number: +13127421168

Navy Pier

Extending on Lake Michigan, the Navy Pier is a full package of entertainment with eat, drink, and play being its underlying theme. While visiting the Navy Pier, start with the rides on the Ferris wheel, the carousel, or the swing seat, and then head on to the Chicago Children’s Museum or the miniature golf course.

Other must-see stops at the Navy Pier include the multisensory Funhouse Maze and the Crystal Gardens botanical garden. While movie buffs can catch a show at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, shopaholics can go berserk at the shop stops on the Navy Pier premises. Navy Pier has some wonderful firework shows on summer evenings, so do not miss out on them if you are traveling in summer. No matter what time of the year it is, a day at Navy Pier will always feel like a festival.

Navy Pier and Chicago from Lake Michigan.jpg
By Benjamin D. Esham / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0 us, Link

Address: 600 E Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60611, US | Timing: The timings may have changed owing to the pandemic. Please check https://navypier.org/ for the latest timings. | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/cNBprtW1jayMN7hi9 | Phone Number: +13125957437

Riverwalk

One of the best activities in Chicago is to take a walk along the 1.25-mile (2 km) pedestrian pathway along the Chicago River. Take some time out of the hectic sightseeing schedule and stroll along the Riverwalk as you get to know more about Chicago. The Riverwalk is built in a planned manner, with six blocks having different features. The blocks are Marina, Cove, River Theater, Water Plaza, and Jetty.

You will come across bright graffiti panels, large installations such as the Ellen Lanyon’s Gateway, public gardens, and of course, lots of dining dens. For those interested in knowing about the river’s unique history, the McCormick Bridgehouse and Chicago River Museum are your go-to places. Do not forget to take your camera so that you don’t miss out on the several picture options on the way.

Chicago Riverwalk

Address: Chicago Riverwalk, Chicago, IL 60601, US | Timing: 6:00am to 11:00pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/b3REiD3CREidauCs7 | Phone Number: +18773006746

John Hancock Center

One of the most recognizable skyscrapers of Chicago, the John Hancock Center is a 1,128-feet (344 meters)-high tower on the Magnificent Mile at 875 North Michigan Avenue. The tower tapers at the top as it rises with a characteristic X-shaped bracing on the facade.

The tower is home to the 360 Chicago Observation Deck on the 94th floor along with the TILT. Quite popular, the rest of the building is a mix of residential apartments, a parking garage, retail, and office spaces, along with lounging and dining options.

John Hancock Center in Chicago.jpg
By Twwillis, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Address: 875 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611, US | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/a91a1nfhsgetJpfWA

Cloud Gate

One of the most distinguishing features of Chicago, the Cloud Gate, is located at the AT&T Plaza of the Millennium Park within Grant Park. This art installation is British artist Anish Kapoor’s first public outdoor work in the US. Popularly known as “Chicago Bean”, it is a 110-ton elliptical sculpture. The Cloud Gate at Millennium Park is inspired by liquid mercury and made from 168 highly polished stainless-steel plates, reflecting the famous Chicago skyline and the clouds above.

You can touch the mirror-like surface of the Cloud Gate and watch your image reflected from a number of perspectives. A concave chamber beneath the sculpture provides a ‘gate’ known as the ‘omphalos’. Enjoy the unique experience as you capture your multiple reflections through photos that will make memories forever.

Read more about History of Chicago Bean or Cloud Gate

Cloud Gate ("The Bean") - Millenium Park (35640530046).jpg
By piet theisohn, CC BY 2.0, Link

Address: 201 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60602, US | Timing: 6:00am to 11:00pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/Df2wNxUQRpWmT2R89

Wrigley Field

When in Chicago, definitely visit places that Chicagonians treasure as part of their culture. And sports is one of the top items on this list for sure. Built in 1914, Wrigley Field is the home of the Major League Baseball franchise Chicago Cubs and the second-oldest MLB ballpark in the US.

You could either book yourself a ticket to one of the matches to witness the enthusiasm of the fans as you munch on the famous Chicago hot dog or sign up for a guided trip to the ballpark. The Wrigley Field is also famous for its ivy-clad outfield walls and an iconic manual scoreboard.

Cubs field.jpg
By Asgard2k1, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Address: 1060 W Addison St, Chicago, IL 60613, US | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/s52yFcb5KfT2oTTZ8 | Phone Number: +17734042827

Chicago Cultural Center

One of the landmark buildings of Chicago, the Chicago Cultural Center is the country’s first free municipal cultural venue where hundreds of free exhibitions and events are held every year. Artists (regional, local, national, and international), musicians, and performers showcase their works as visitors get to experience art at its best.

The cultural center is a work of art and walking through this neoclassical building would be a great experience. Top designers and architects from across the US put their best foot forward to create the Chicago Cultural Center with fine hardwoods, imported marbles, colored stones, polished brass, and mosaics of Favrile glass. Watch out for the two glass domes — one is the world’s largest stained-glass Tiffany dome, while the other is made in Renaissance pattern from 50,000 pieces of glass.

Chicago cultural center.jpg
By Velvet, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Address: 78 E Washington St, Chicago, IL 60602, US | Timing: The timings may have changed owing to the pandemic. Please check https://www.chicago.gov/ for the latest timings. | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/ReTBN7U1icGKmvgB8 | Phone Number: +13127446630

Richard H. Driehaus Museum

The Richard H Driehaus Museum is situated at the Nickerson Mansion, which was built in 1883 for banker Samuel M. Nickerson. The museum highlights art and architecture of the late 19th century until present day with a huge collection of artworks and several exhibitions that take place throughout the year. The museum is a fine blend of the original furnishings and modern decorative art of glazed tiles, onyx, stained glass, carvings, and marbles.

For some grand experience, check out the collection by Louis Comfort Tiffany, Sèvres vases, pre-Raphaelite paintings, and a unique Chickering and Sons grand piano.

Driehaus Museum - Joy of Museums.jpg
By Joyofmuseums, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

Address: 40 E Erie St, Chicago, IL 60611, US | Timing: Saturday 10:00am to 5:00pm, Sunday 11:00am to 5:00pm, Monday to Friday Closed | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/Qy5MXyabviH3E5W67 | Phone Number: +13124828933

Maggie Daley Park

A recent addition to Grant Park, the Maggie Daley Park is named after a former first lady of Chicago. A favorite stop for family time and recreation, the park was opened in 2014. Especially if you are traveling with children, head to the quirky Play Garden, built in the spirit of Alice in Wonderland and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, for some unlimited fun, invention, relaxation, exploration, and experimentation.

An ice-skating ribbon, picnic groves, a mini golf course, rock-climbing walls, tennis courts, and several events and festivals will keep you occupied for quite a few hours.

Maggie Daley Park (35871240015).jpg
By Mack Male, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link

Address: 337 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60601, US | Timing: 6:00am to 9:00pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/fS5PwQjGovmeWvDr8 | Phone Number: +13125523000

Lakefront Trail

An 18-miles (29 kilometers) long trail along the shore of Lake Michigan that offers a plethora of activities — cycling, running, lounging. With sandy beaches and lush green parks along with a stunning view of buildings and towers of the Chicago skyline, the Lakefront Trail is an ideal unwinding destination for vacationers.

Separated into bike and pedestrian trails to avoid congestion, the Lakefront Trail provides visitors a pleasant experience. Take a break from being all touristy and rent a bike to spend some alone time along the shore of Lake Michigan. If you are traveling with family, this is an ideal relaxing spot as you watch people pass by while kids make the most of the open space.

Chicago LFT GC.JPG
By Alanscottwalker CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/p1fFV14DQEc81UJz5

Buckingham Fountain

One of the largest in the world, the Clarence Buckingham Memorial Fountain, is located in Grant Park (a huge patch of green in the heart of Chicago) and a must-see on the list of places to visit in Chicago. Installed sometime around early 20th century, this is also said to one of the first ornamental fountains in the US.

A designated Chicago Landmark, it boasts of 133 jets that shoot water as high as 150 feet into the air. The Buckingham Fountain produces choreographed water displays for 20 minutes every hour. Evenings are a different scene altogether with a stunning display of water accompanied by light and music.

Buckingham Fountain & close Chicago skyline, Aug 10.jpg
By An Errant Knight, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

Address: 301 S Columbus Dr, Chicago, IL 60605, US | Timing: 8:00am to 11:00pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/9DoeVCxYmamJeRwm8 | Phone Number: +13127427529

The Magnificent Mile

What’s a vacation until you have spent a fair amount of time shopping, eating, and partying? Head to the Magnificent Mile district, extending across a square mile from North Michigan Avenue, for a heady dose of high life that includes style and entertainment. The destination offers amazing shopping and dining options along with theaters, galleries, and museums. Catering to all kinds of moods and visitors, the Magnificent Mile has more than 460 shops, 275 restaurants, and 60 hotels.

Even if so much activity is not a priority, simply walking down North Michigan Avenue will bring poke out the architecture lover in you. Watch out for the really magnificent towers and skyscrapers lining the area — the lights festival, the Historic Water Tower, the Wrigley Building, the Tribune Tower, and the John Hancock Center.

Magnificent Mile, Chicago, Illinois

Address: 625 North Michigan Avenue, Suite 401 Chicago, IL 60611, US, | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/3sUmYkQ7bwYaL2Lf6 | Phone Number: +13126423570

Museum of Science and Industry

Built in 1933 at the venue of the old Palace of Fine Arts, the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago is all about nurturing creativity and young minds with ideas. From several exhibits and more than 35,000 artifacts to the Giant Dome Theater and events, the museum boasts of too many things to keep you hooked.

You can explore subjects like chemistry, design, engineering, environmental science, health, history, math, physics, among others. Some of the top attractions include a full-size German U-505 submarine, the Pioneer Zephyr, a stainless-steel diesel locomotive from 1934, the first Boeing 727 to enter commercial service, and relics from the Apollo missions.

Das Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago

Address: 5700 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60637, US | Timing: Wednesday to Friday and Sunday 9:30am to 4:00pm, Saturday 9:30am to 5:30pm; Monday to Tuesday Closed | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/VghCXr9zNVQ6H9JF7 | Phone Number: +17736841414

Mob and Crime Bus Tour

Every city has a dark history and Chicago’s past has its share of crime and criminals. So when a guided tour in luxurious buses of Chicago’s underworld is on offer, the best thing to do would be to hop onto one. The Mob and Crime Bus Tour takes you through Chicago’s historic crime scenes, peppered with true stories about gangster Al Capone, The Chicago Mob, Frank “The Enforcer” Nitti, Prohibition, The Untouchables, and so many other infamous names.

It includes visits to historic buildings of the Chicago crime scene like the Biograph Theater, Cook County Criminal Court House, etc., along with trips to popular Chicago neighborhoods like Streeterville, Gold Coast, Lincoln Park, Old Town, Loop, and the Magnificent Mile. Can there be a more fun and engaging way to spend a vacay!

Al Capone

Address: 163 E Pearson St, Chicago, IL 60611, US | Timing: 8:00am to 9:00pm | Google Map Location: https://g.page/ChicagoCrimeTours?share | Phone Number: +13128886224

Garfield Park Conservatory

Whether you are a nature enthusiast or not, visiting the Garfield Park Conservatory should definitely feature on your stuff to do in the Chicago list. It was opened in 1908 and is the third-largest garden in the world that is enclosed by glass. Spread across 12 acres — two acres of public greenhouse space and 10 acres of outdoor gardens — the Garfield Park Conservatory is home to a huge collection of flora and fauna. It has a Palm House, an amazing collection of ferns and cycads, cacti, and succulents.

The Conservatory hosts programs for all kinds of audiences and age groups. The most popular ones are being bees and compost, propagation, ethnobotany as well as those involving art and culture. You are likely to come across events such as a wedding, yoga sessions or gardening demos, while kids get the opportunity to get to spend some special time with animals.

Garfield Park Conservatory kz15.jpg
By Krzysztof Ziarnek, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

Address: 300 N Central Park Ave, Chicago, IL 60624, US | Timing: Wednesday 10:00am to 8:00pm, Thursday to Sunday 10:00am to 5:00pm, Monday to Tuesday Closed | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/GXuHgTWyXPqGVobr8 | Phone Number: +17736381766

The Field Museum

For nature lovers in a quest for learning the history of earth and civilization, the Field Museum is a one-stop solution. One of the largest natural history museums in the world, it is home to more than 24 million objects and artifacts from different eras and destinations.

An educational trip to this place would be a fulfilling experience for both adults and kids. The exhibit that grabs the most eyeballs is the 37-meter Titanosaur in the Stanley Field Hall. Check out the fossils, priceless gemstones, animal and plant specimens, anthropological details of cultures from Ancient Americas, Egypt, Tibet, China, Africa, etc.

Chicago Field Museum.jpg
By KiwiDeaPi at German Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Address: 1400 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60605, US | Timing: Thursday to Monday 9:00am to 5:00pm, Tuesday to Wednesday Closed | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/RZwZ9Xy58wxsp92N7 | Phone Number: +13129229410

Shedd Aquarium

One of the largest indoor aquariums in the world, the Shedd Aquarium boasts of 32,500 aquatic creatures from across the globe. Built in 1930, a visit to the Shedd Aquarium must feature in your list of what to do in Chicago if underwater life fascinates you. A trip to this place will change your outlook towards underwater life forever.

Top draws at the place include zones such as Amazon Rising with piranhas, anacondas, and stingrays in water tanks, the Caribbean Reef with a rescued green sea turtle, the Wild Reef with four varieties of sharks, and the Waters of the World gallery with starfish and seahorses. To meet sea lions, penguins, and sea otters, head to the Oceanarium. The Shedd Aquarium is committed to protecting endangered species and their natural habitats.

Shedd Aquarium - Dolphin Show - Chicago, IL

Address: 1200 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60605, US | Timing: 9:00am to 5:00pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/vmzwswe4a74kKAyw8 | Phone Number: +13129392438

International Museum of Surgical Science

For a little off-the-beaten-track enriching experience, visit the International Museum of Surgical Science. The only such museum dedicated to surgery, the International Museum of Surgical Science, has public galleries showcasing the history of surgery. Its collection includes art and artifacts from the history of medicine. The museum was opened to provide programs and services to educate and entertain the public, students, and medical professionals.

You can explore a 19th-century apothecary, learn about the science behind vision aids, the use of antique obstetrics and gynecological tools, original pain and pain management practices, and so much more. If the medicine and the art of the human body interest you, then definitely pack a trip to the museum in your itinerary.

International Museum of Surgical Science

Address: 1524 N Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60610, US | Timing: Monday to Friday 9:30am to 5:00pm, Saturday to Sunday 10:00am to 5:00pm | Google Map Location: https://g.page/imsschicago?share | Phone Number: +13126426502

United Center

Is Chicago Bulls one of your favorite teams? Of course, you cannot be visiting Chicago and not stopping at the United Center. An arena that was formed as a collaboration between Chicago Bulls and Chicago Blackhawks in 1988 with an eye on high-octane sports and entertainment, is the largest in the US. Numerous national-level basketball tournaments as well as music concerts by the likes of U2, The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton, etc were hosted here.

Even if there is nothing specific going on while you visit, just hang around to check out the place that has seen Michael Jordon delivered his best in the late 90s. Do not miss his statue, named The Spirit, on the premises.

United Center Interior.jpg
By Gavindow, CC BY 3.0, Link

Address: 1901 W Madison St, Chicago, IL 60612, US |Timing: Please check https://www.unitedcenter.com/ for the latest events and timings. | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/3tXzLzfNaQFEp6DT8 | Phone Number: +13124554500

Chicago Picasso

One of the most important things to see in Chicago, the Chicago Picasso, is a 50-feet (15.2 meters)-tall public artwork in Daley Plaza by none other than Spanish painter/sculptor Pablo Picasso. Installed in 1967 and weighing 162 tons, the Chicago Picasso was initially rebuked and ridiculed but slowly became a landmark structure for Chicago. It is said that Picasso refused to accept any fees for creating the structure because he wanted to make it as a gift.

The Chicago Picasso is a well-known meeting spot within the city and is often the venue for a lot of events such as music concerts, farmer’s markets, etc. The place bustles with activities around Christmas. A beautiful backdrop for photo ops, the Chicago Picasso is a fascinating site for tourists.

downtown-chicago-picasso-sculpture

Address: 50 W Washington St, Chicago, IL 60602, US | Timing: 24/7 | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/Q9nZeUTvY5qQYd7h7 | Phone Number: +13127445000

Lincoln Park Zoo

If you are wondering about things to do in Chicago with kids, then you must head to the Lincoln Park Zoo. Located in Chicago’s Lincoln Park, this zoo is a perfect family getaway during vacation. The zoo is home to more than 1000 animals in their natural habitats. Spread across 37 acres, the zoo dates back to 1868.

The unmissable stops at the Lincoln Park Zoo include the Regenstein Center for African Apes with three different habitats for chimpanzees and gorillas, the Kovler Seal Pool, and the Farm-in-the-Zoo exhibit. This is a perfect getaway for your kids as they get to interact with a variety of species on animals so closely. The best part of the Lincoln Park Zoo, however, is the fact that the entry is free throughout the year.

Lincoln Park Zoo -entrance-10May2005.jpg
By chascarper, CC BY 2.0, Link

Address: 2001 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614, US | Timing: Thursday to Tuesday 10:00am to 5:00pm, Wednesday 10:00am to 7:00pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/9mzggpDyLb5iJEkq9 | Phone Number: +13127422000

North Avenue Beach

Located at Lincoln Park along the lakeshore of Lake Michigan, the North Avenue Beach is the perfect getaway for some frolic in the sun and sand. One of the top places to visit in Chicago, the North Avenue Beach is popular among Chicagonians and tourists alike. It also has a unique beach house with activities for everyone and some amazing views of the Chicago skyline across Lake Michigan.

Choose from an array of beach bumming activities — go biking, attend yoga sessions, take kayaking lessons, or hit the waves with wakeboard and paddle boards available on rent. You can even chill on the luxury lounge chairs, under large umbrellas while sipping mocktails or munching on burgers, sandwiches, and salads.

20070703 North Avenue Beach.JPG
By TonyTheTiger, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Address: 1600 N Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60613, US | Timing: 6:00am to 11:00pm (for swimming 11:00am to 7:00pm) | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/fXLai1JsUPh4pgXs5 | Phone Number: +13127423224

Holy Name Cathedral

Currently, the Holy Name Cathedral stands where its predecessor got burnt in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Another addition to Chicago’s architectural repertoire, is a Gothic Revival Catholic cathedral with intricate artwork and designs. With huge bronze doors at the entrance, the cathedral is built with the theme of the Tree of Life.

Some noteworthy fixtures inside include the Stations of the Cross in red Rocco Alicante marble, the cathedra (bishop’s throne) for the Chicago Diocese, and the bronze statues of the Evangelists. You can attend a mass or just visit to appreciate its beautiful craftsmanship.

Holy Name Cathedral (Chicago, Illinois) - interior, transcept.jpg
By Nheyob, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Address: 730 N Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60611, US | Timing: 7:00am to 6:30pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/NDH5KeEQ4QqbeHkL9 | Phone Number: +13127878040

DuSable Bridge

One of the most iconic features of Chicago as well as the world, the DuSable Bridge on the Chicago River is a movable bridge that allows boats to pass underneath. It is designed with a distinct Parisian style. The DuSable, which got its official name in 2010, is a double-deck bridge with Michigan Avenue and a lower lever service road.

It has decorations such as the towers and the plaques giving it an edge over other bridges in Chicago in terms of design. Unlike earlier, the bridge has a seasonal schedule for opening so that there is a minimum traffic disruption.

Michigan Ave Bridge 060415.jpg
By JeremyA, CC BY-SA 2.5, Link

Address: 333 Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60601, US | Timing: 24/7 | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/eYPtEhCrTFwXj4c18

Crown Fountain

One of the most prominent features of Millennium Park, the Crown Fountain at Millennium Park, is another of Chicago’s famous public art collections. Designed by Catalan artist Jaume Plensa, it is made of two 50-foot (15.24 meters) glass block towers facing each other across a reflecting pool.

The towers have LEDs installed in them and display faces of Chicago citizens, wherein water flows through an outlet to give an illusion of it coming out of their mouths. Besides the magnificent artwork, the spot is a bustling hub for family outings, especially for kids who enjoy a hoard of activities. If you are visiting in the summer months, drop by for a soothing experience under the waterfalls.

Chicago - Crown Fountain - Millennium Park (2713868085).jpg
By Serge Melki CC BY 2.0, Link

Address: 201 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60601, US | Timing: 6:00am to 11:00pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/xrpZ4jVEmbBnGKbJ8 | Phone Number: +13127421168

Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

With an eye on contemporary works, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago was built to highlight the idea of being a global citizen. It offers a platform for everyone, whether an art lover or not, to experience the work and ideas of contemporary artists. Do visit this place if you are looking to understand the historical, social, and cultural context of the art of current times.

Expect to spend some enlightening hours at the place. Besides an enriching collection of artworks, there are exhibitions, performances, and educational programs for the creative stimulation of all visitors. You can engage in discussions on contemporary art and culture along with other important world issues.

Stairwell at The Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.jpg
By Kables, CC BY 2.0, Link

Address: 220 E Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60611, US | Timing: Tuesday 10:00am to 9:00pm, Wednesday to Sunday 10:00am to 6:00pm, Monday Closed | Google Map Location: https://g.page/TheMCA?share | Phone Number: +13122802660

360 Chicago Observation Deck

What better way to admire a marvelous cityscape than having a bird’s eye view of its magnificence? The 360 Chicago Observation Deck, on top of former John Hancock Center, is 1,000 feet (304.8 meters) above the Magnificent Mile on North Michigan Avenue. Situated on the 94th floor, it will give you a top-of-the-world feeling with outstanding panoramic views of Chicago. With a clear sky, one can sometimes see as far as 55 miles in any direction.

If you are up for some adrenalin rush, get on the TILT — Chicago’s highest (and one of the world’s highest) thrill ride for a downward facing view of the North Michigan Avenue from 1,030 feet up. You can also relax with a cuppa or a pint of beer at the café and bar and enjoy the view.

360 Chicago Observation Deck

Address: 875 N Michigan Ave 94th floor, Chicago, IL 60611, US | Timing: Thursday to Monday 9:00am to 9:00pm; Tuesday to Wednesday Closed | Google Map Location: https://g.page/360chicago?share | Phone Number: +18888758439

The Second City

For some unadulterated fun time, book yourself a ticket for a show at The Second City, one of the world’s legendary comedy theaters. What started as a small comedy cabaret in 1959 now has seven branches spread across Chicago and some more in Toronto and Hollywood.

Comedy careers of popular names, including Tina Fey, Bill Murray, Keegan-Michael Key, and Stephen Colbert, are known to have been launched at The Second City. And if you are in mood to hone the skills of the hidden comic in you, then join one of the classes at their training center.

Second City Chicago Mainstage

Address: 1616 N Wells St, Chicago, IL 60614, US | Timing: Monday to Friday 9:00am to 9:00pm, Saturday 8:00am to 1:00am, Sunday 11:00am to 9:00pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/2475JtgJ4UYtuZeW7 | Phone Number: +13123373992

Bordel

If you are looking for a sensuous experience, head to Bordel for a classy evening of wining and dining along with some cabaret and more. With a Parisian-inspired ambiance, Bordel gets you the taste of the licentious quarters of Pigalle and Montmarte amid crimson velvet couches, mood-setting music, candlelit dinners, heady cocktails, and a bit of sultry energy.

One of the best speakeasies in Chicago, Bordel is never short of entertainment with music and performances like jazz, burlesque, flamenco, magic, cabaret, and comedy shows. Do not forget to reserve your seats in advance.

Address: 1721 W Division St, Chicago, IL 60622, US | Timing: Wednesday to Saturday 6:00pm to 1:00am, Sunday to Tuesday Closed | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/rwJpBA7QA3RU6QVMA | Phone Number: +13124871236

Chicago Architecture River Cruise

Chicago is known for its skyscrapers, towers, and other architectural wonders lining its skyline. The Skydeck and the 360 Chicago Observation Deck will give you a good glimpse of Chicago from high up. But to closely appreciate its grandeur, set sail with the Chicago Architecture Foundation Center River Cruise. While are several companies offer architecture cruises, the one aboard Chicago’s First Lady is the official one.

While on board, experienced docents will keep you engaged with interesting stories about the history of more than 50 buildings, the architects behind the towers, and how Chicago became one of the largest in the world from a small settlement. For a more surreal experience of watching the city buildings glistening in the evening sun, set sail on an evening cruise.

Chicago Architecture Tour

Address: 111 East Wacker Drive, Chicago, IL 60601, US | Timing: The timings may have changed owing to the pandemic. Please check https://www.architecture.org/ for the latest timings. | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/AeMYdFpotmvxPUSDA | Phone Number: +13125667768

The Chicago Theater

The first large and lavish theater of such caliber in the US, the Chicago Theatre is a distinguished architectural spectacle the heart of Chicago. Built in French Baroque style, the Chicago Theatre’s auditorium is seven-story high with a capacity of 3,600 seats. Most commendable parts of the theater include an elegant lobby, a majestic staircase, and an auditorium with murals above the stage and the ceiling.

Some of the world’s brightest artists and biggest productions have performed at the Chicago Theatre, including Allman Brothers Band, Kelly Clarkson, Arcade Fire, Ellen DeGeneres, and more. Opt for the Marquee Tour that takes you through the historical and architectural highlights of the building.

Chicago Theater.jpg
By Raymon Sutedjo, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Address: 175 N State St, Chicago, IL 60601, US | Timing: The timings may have changed owing to the pandemic. Please check https://www.msg.com/the-chicago-theatre for the latest timings. | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/HparyUYpV1Q4362d7 | Phone Number: +13124626300

The B_line (Hubbard Street Murals)

The character of a city is best depicted through art. For some real feel of the Chicago art scene, head to the city’s Fulton Market district to get overwhelmed by a street art corridor under a train line. The B_Line was started with the intention of resurrecting is the 50-year-old Hubbard Street Murals, one of Chicago’s public art displays.

The murals have been created by 75 artists from Chicago and around the world. As its chief curator and managing director Levar Hoard says, the B_Line is a gallery and museum of street art. You might or might be an art lover, but walking down this mile-long street art corridor will take a traveler’s quest for art to a whole new level.

B_Line My Corner

Address: 1030-1044 W Hubbard St, Chicago, IL 60642, US | Timing: 24/7 | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/kxPZTu1RyBiMvKLp9

Kingston Mines

One of the coolest music hot spots in the city, Kingston Mines is the oldest continuously operating blues club in Chicago. And music lovers swear by its vibes. Founded in 1968, Kingston Mines offers nonstop blues performances by some of the top artistes of this music genre all seven nights of the week.

For an evening of passionate music, squeeze in Kingston Mines in your itinerary. Besides enjoying Chicago’s best live music, you can try out the delectable food at Doc’s Rib Joint. Feel the spirit of blues to drive away from life’s blues! How’s that for holiday cheer?

A Night At Kingston Mines

Address: 2548 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614, US | Timing: Monday to Thursday 7:30pm to 4:00am, Friday 7:00pm to 4:00am, Saturday 7:00pm to 5:00am, Sunday 6:00pm to 4:00am | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/ENwCnLUkSEYJCbraA | Phone Number: +17734774646

Urban Kayaks

How about a relaxing kayaking expedition on the Chicago River or Lake Michigan? A unique way of experiencing Chicago, the Urban Kayaks offer several kayaking expeditions at the two locations for people of all ages and fitness and to suit every pocket.

The Urban Kayaks also offers group outings and corporate events where you can choose packages of your convenience. There are kayak classes for children aged 10-16 years to make them comfortable on the water. You can also choose a night tour for the amazing view of lights and digital art display projected on the Merchandise Mart.

Chicago River Kayak Tour May 19, 2012

Address: 435 E. Chicago Riverwalk, Chicago, Il 60601, US and 110 N. Lakeshore Dr, Chicago, Il 60601, US | Timing: The timings may have changed owing to the pandemic. Please check https://urbankayaks.com/ for the latest timings. | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/GNxsxTC7WdT86ytL7/, https://goo.gl/maps/8u1ZKF8Q8dETubiL8 | Phone Number: +13129650035

Have some Smoked Salmon at Calumet Fisheries

Whether you are a traveler, wanderer, traveling for work, or on a family trip, food will be one of the essential aspects of your trip. And what better than sampling food that gives you a real taste of a place. Calumet Fisheries, run by the Kotlick-Toll family since 1928, is one of the few remaining smokehouses in Illinois that smokes its own seafood using natural wood-burning practices for decades.

An unassuming shack with nothing fancy about it, Calumet Fisheries has no sitting and runs as a takeaway business. But that makes no difference in their popularity. You can cycle up to the banks of the Calumet River or drive down for some scrumptious smoked salmon, shrimp, sturgeon, trout, etc.

Calumet Fisheries

Address: 3259 E 95th St, Chicago, IL 60617, US | Timing: Sunday to Thursday 10:00am to 9:45pm, Thursday 9:00am to 9:30pm, Friday to Saturday 9:00am to 9:45pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/ZM7hHWLtw34kaf237 | Phone Number: +17739339855

American Writer’s Museum

For all the fans of American literature, the America Writer’s Museum in Chicago is a piece of heaven on earth. The museum opened its doors to the public in 2017 with the mission to engage and educate people about American writers and showcase how their works influence the nation’s history, identity, and culture. It also motivates and inspires young writers.

Through several exhibits and programs, the museum houses work of authors of diverse gender, race, nationality, religion, sexual orientations, ideologies, and genres. A dedicated curating team comprising 54 writers and scholars has sincerely chosen the works on display. Among the thousands of visitors that throng the museum everywhere, a majority chunk comprises the student community. Visit the American Writer’s Museum to fall in love with words.

180 N Michigan.JPG
By Alanscottwalker, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

Address: 180 North Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60601, US | Timing: The timings may have changed owing to the pandemic. Please check https://americanwritersmuseum.org/ for the latest timings. | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/mXw5wxqQRPDeY84h7 | Phone Number: +13123748790

Goose Island Beer Company

How about a guided trip to one of the top breweries of the country along with tasting some fresh brews? The Goose Island Beer Company is a big name in Chicago’s craft brewing industry and is known for brewing lagers, porters, IPAs, and saisons.

Founded by beer-lover John Hall in 1988, it offers visits and tastings at two of its breweries in Chicago — West Fulton Street and North Clybourn Avenue. Hour-long guided tours of the breweries will tell you the history of the company as well as the production process. At the end of the tour, you get to sample some of their latest creations. Now that sounds like some real holidaying!

Goose Island Beer Company

Address: 1800 W Fulton St, Chicago, IL 60612, US and 1800 N Clybourn Ave, Chicago, IL 60614, US | Timing: Sunday, Wednesday to Thursday 12:00pm to 7:00pm, Friday to Saturday 12:00pm to 9:00 pm, Monday to Tuesday Closed; Tuesday to Thursday 12:00pm to 9:00pm, Friday 12:00pm to 10:00pm, Saturday 11:00am to 10:00pm, Sunday 11:00am to 7:00pm, Monday Closed | Google Map Location: https://g.page/goose-island-taproom?share, https://g.page/Goose-Island-brewhouse?share | Phone Number: +13122624717, +13129150071

Bohemian National Cemetery

They were founded in the late 19th century as a cemetery where people of Bohemia, Moravian and Slovakian descent could be buried without any restrictions. Currently, the cemetery is open to people of all races, nationalities, and religions. The property is also home to a crematorium/columbarium and the Masaryk Memorial Mausoleum. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the cemetery is a landmark destination in Chicago for its beautiful garden and soothing atmosphere.

Bohemian National Cemetery.jpg
By Zol87 , CC BY 3.0, Link

Address: 5255 N Pulaski Rd, Chicago, IL 60630, US | Timing: 7:30am to 5:00pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/SRN8Hw6JGtVLXBRX8 | Phone Number: +17735398442

Chicago Pedway

This is an underground pedestrian walkway covering 40 blocks in the Central Business District through tunnels as well as overhead footbridges. It is one of the fastest and easiest ways for pedestrians to commute within Chicago, especially during natural calamities.

The tunnels were built in the 1950s and expanded in the following decades. Once down there, you can check out the artwork adorning the walls of the tunnels. Several shops and restaurants dot all the tunnels so that you can stop by for some retail therapy and grab a bite.

Chicago Pedway 20190515 123909.jpg
By SecretName101, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

Address: Chicago, IL 60606, US | Timing: Monday to Friday 7:00am to 5:00pm, Saturday to Sunday Closed | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/rhS3QBDGUuQmGf9T7

Ping Tom Memorial Park

Ping Tom Park is an urban park in Chicago’s Chinatown neighborhood and a great place to spend a few hours with family and kids. Built with Chinese landscape design elements, the park is an initiative of the Chinatown community. It has a pagoda-style pavilion, bamboo gardens, and a fieldhouse (with a gymnasium, indoor swimming pool, meeting rooms, etc.) along with an athletic field, walking paths, and a boat house. It is named after prominent Chinatown businessman and civic leader Ping Tom.

The park is ideal for small gatherings while also being the venue for several events like music concerts, festivals, performances, and movie screenings. A dragon boat race tournament is organized by the Chicago Chinatown Chamber of Commerce every summer.

Ping Tom Park pavilion.jpg
By Torsodog, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Address: 1700 S Wentworth Ave, Chicago, IL 60616, US | Timing: 6:00am to 10:00pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/YmEjhhTP4PvU8xLt8 | Phone Number: +13122253121

Midway Plaisance Park

Take time out of your hectic itinerary for some ice skating at the Midway Plaisance Park. The facility has an ice-skating rink, a warming center, a trail, and multi-purpose fields, along with two winter gardens for some green patches.

You can enroll in ice skating lessons and play Rat Hockey with your kids or attend any of the ongoing events and festivals that take place throughout the year. The venue is a complete family destination with music concerts, movie screenings, skating competitions, et al.

20160316 16 Midway Plaisance (30803040755).jpg
By David Wilson, CC BY 2.0, Link

Address: 1130 Midway Plaisance, Chicago, IL 60637, US | Timing 6:00am to 9:00pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/hbY2sDJbK8s2ozCz8 | Phone Number: +13127452470

Taste of Chicago Festival

If you happen to be in Chicago in July, do not miss the world’s largest food festival. Held every year in mid-July at Grant Park, the Taste of Chicago Festival offers free entry to everyone up for some lip-smacking food. The aim of starting the Taste of Chicago Festival was to showcase the diversity of Chicago’s dining scene.

All of Chicago’s top eateries set up stalls at the festival with offerings including classic flavors of Chicago like Italian beef, cheesecakes, pizzas, and hot dogs, to international cuisine, and chef-special items. Besides top restaurants, the festival sees plenty of pop-up stalls and food trucks. Check out the live demos where chefs whip up some really scrumptious dishes or sway to the tune of Chicago’s music scene at the live concerts.

Taste of Chicago, Grant Park, Chicago, Illinois

Address: Grant Park, Chicago, IL 60605, US | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/vWMG1NrUqxMpf4a77

Promontory Point

A prominent feature within Burnham Park in the Hyde Park neighborhood, the Promontory Point is a man-made peninsula extending into Lake Michigan. It was created from a landfill, is lined with large limestone blocks, and has a raised meadow with the lush greenery of trees and plantations. With its natural landscape, the Promontory Point barely gives away the feeling of being artificial.

The place is adorned by several public artwork and sculptures such as Sounding Bronzeville and La Ronda Parakata. The Promontory Point is a great spot for photoshoots and gatherings.

Promontory Point.JPG
By Monika Bonckute at the English-language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Address: 5491 S Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60615, US | Timing: 6:00am to 11:00pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/LXb6TPbA1d3E4cEq5 | Phone Number: +13127425369

The 606

For all those outdoorsy folks out there, Chicago will never fail to satisfy you. Chicago is full of green spaces and trails for walking, running, cycling, or just strolling. Frequented by both locals and visitors, the 606 (or the Bloomingdale Trail) is an elevated greenway running built on the formerly abandoned Bloomingdale train line.

The 606 has a little something to offer for everyone — trails for bikers, runners, and walkers, designated spaces for events, festivals, art, history, and design. Whether you are a fitness freak or a lazy stroller or just want to check out the events at the park, hit the trail at the 606 for memories to cherish forever.

Bloomingdale Trail, the 606, Chicago 2015-31.jpg
By Victor Grigas, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

Address: 1805 N Ridgeway Ave, Chicago, IL 60647, US | Timing: 6:00am to 7:00pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/m4WnccDqb7pF7r4m9 | Phone Number: +13127424622

Always high on spirit and celebrating life in every sphere, there are just too places to visit in Chicago, for which a single trip would never be enough. Be prepared to get lured back for more.

Vivek Singh
I have been to USA, Turkey, UK, France, Australia, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Israel, China, Sri Lanka, Japan, Tanzania. Love trying out different food items from across the world!

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