Top Tourist Attractions in Chicago, IL
Chicago is a dynamic city with many things to do and places to visit. These include museums, parks, and other entertainment sites. Located on Lake Michigan, it’s a popular vacation destination.
The Art Institute of Chicago has more than 300,000 works in its permanent collection. It also has the most extensive impressionist art collection outside Paris.
If you’re looking for something more unique, you can also visit the Chicago Theater, which puts on theatrical performances, concerts, and magic shows.
For family-friendly entertainment, you should head to Navy Pier. Located on the shore of Lake Michigan, the pier has a vast selection of restaurants, shops, and attractions. It even has a Ferris wheel that carries visitors on a sightseeing tour. There is also an ice skating rink in the winter.
Another one of the best things to do in Chicago is visit the Field Museum. This museum has a variety of natural history exhibits, including items from different cultures and periods. You can learn about animals, dinosaurs, and even ancient Egyptian artifacts.
Other popular attractions in Chicago include the Shedd Aquarium, Lincoln Park Zoo, and the McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum. However, if you’re looking for the city’s best view, you should visit the 360 Chicago Observation Deck. This observation deck is located on the 94th floor of the John Hancock Center.
You can also visit the American Writers Museum, which is dedicated to literature and writers. In addition to a collection of usable typewriters, there are comfortable reading areas and interactive walls.
Top 15 things to do in Chicago, Illinois
- Millennium Park
- Shedd Aquarium
- Wrigley Field
- The Art Institute of Chicago
- Navy Pier
- Cloud Gate
- Skydeck Chicago – Willis Tower
- Lincoln Park Zoo
- Museum of Science and Industry
- Grant Park
- 875 North Michigan Avenue
- The Field Museum
- Brookfield Zoo
- Chicago Riverwalk
- Buckingham Fountain
Millennium Park is an urban park located on the Chicago Loop in Chicago, Illinois. The original plan was to transform the unused railroad tracks into a 16-acre park. However, the project was eventually changed to include more amenities.
In 1997, the Illinois Central Railroad (ICR) donated its interest in the future Millennium Park site. It was believed that Exelon would also contribute additional funds to the project. As a result, it was decided to sell parking revenue bonds to raise the necessary funds.
A Blue Ribbon Committee comprised corporate officials with experience in civic and cultural affairs. This committee grew into the Millennium Park Board of Directors.
The project was budgeted at $150 million in the early planning stages. However, the cost increased as the scope of the project expanded. Eventually, the price surpassed $475 million.
Shedd Aquarium is one of the most popular places to visit in Chicago. The aquarium has thousands of aquatic animals, including sea lions, sharks, and beluga whales. In addition, visitors can enjoy fun shows and interactive exhibits that will enlighten them about the world’s waterways.
With more than 8,000 marine creatures, the Shedd has more than enough to keep visitors occupied for hours. This is an excellent place for families and groups of all ages.
There are many different types of tickets for visiting Shedd. Each class includes additional features and benefits. For instance, the 4-D Experience will immerse visitors in a 3-D movie.
It will also have sensory effects and splashing. In addition, you can view beluga whales and other intelligent animals while learning about their special care.
Wrigley Field is one of the oldest baseball fields in the National League. Located in Chicago, it is home to the Chicago Cubs. It is a fun, historic ballpark that has a lot to offer.
Various bars, restaurants, and fun attractions surround Wrigley Field. Some are free, while others require a ticket to enter. Depending on the game, the costs for admission vary.
One of the most popular places to eat is Smoke Daddy. This bi-level cocktail bar serves up several cocktails and American and Indian plates. They also have some bottomless brunch deals.
Another popular restaurant is Cozy Noodles n’ Rice. The cozy Thai spot is located just south of the stadium. Some vegetarian options are available.
The Art Institute of Chicago
The Art Institute of Chicago is the largest art museum in the United States, with over 260,000 works of art in its permanent collection. The museum’s collections represent the arts and cultures of every corner of the world.
In addition, it serves as an educational institution emphasizing the systematic study of fine arts. It also features an array of temporary exhibitions, lecture series, and classes.
The Art Institute of Chicago building was initially constructed for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. It was designed by architects Shepley, Rutan, and Coolidge.
The Art Institute of Chicago is home to one of the most important collections of Impressionist paintings in the United States, including works by Renoir, Matisse, and Monet. There are also works by Picasso, van Gogh, and Chagall.
Navy Pier is one of the most popular attractions in Chicago. It offers various entertainment, from rides to theaters to shopping. Although it is not an entire amusement park, the offerings are well thought out and fun for the whole family.
The IMAX theater at Navy Pier is undoubtedly a must-see attraction. And the gondolas offer an enclosed view during the winter months and are a real treat.
As you stroll along the waterside promenade, you’ll notice the most popular Chicago landmarks, including the infamously tall Centennial Wheel. You can also view Lake Michigan by taking a boat tour.
Another must-see is the Chicago Children’s Museum. It’s a four-story interactive museum featuring exhibits that will entertain your little ones for hours. Among other things, you’ll find a three-story schooner and a dinosaur dig.
Cloud Gate is the place to be if you want to capture a perfect picture of the Chicago skyline. Visitors from around the world take pictures in front of this iconic sculpture.
The Cloud Gate is a stainless steel sculpture by British artist Anish Kapoor. It is located at the center of AT&T Plaza in Millennium Park.
The asymmetrical structure stands three stories tall. At the center of the design is a 12-foot-high arch. Kids can climb around the arc and enjoy the city views from the vantage point.
The stainless steel is polished to a mirror finish and reflects the city’s skyline. Eighty percent of the surface is curved to reflect the sky. This bending of the reflection creates the appearance of a gate.
Skydeck Chicago – Willis Tower
Skydeck Chicago is a popular tourist destination located on the 103rd floor of the Willis Tower. This attraction offers a dazzling display of 360-degree views of the city of Chicago and its surrounding areas. It is open all year round and offers visitors a fantastic opportunity to view the city’s skyline.
One of the most impressive features of the Skydeck is its Ledge. The Ledge is a glass box extending from the building’s facade.
The Ledge, an elevated series of four glass boxes, offers visitors incredible views of the city of Chicago. There is even a sweeping view of the city at night.
Another impressive feature of the Willis Tower is its new Skydeck. This building area has been enhanced and updated to give visitors an entirely new experience. In addition to providing a spectacular view, the renovated area also includes a museum-quality exhibit.
Lincoln Park Zoo
A trip to the Lincoln Park Zoo is a fun and educational experience for both children and adults. The zoo is open 365 days a year and offers a variety of activities, including seasonal gardening programs.
Visitors can view more than 200 species of animals, many of them endangered. A trip to the zoo is also a fun way to spend time with family and friends. There are plenty of events to choose from, including a free holiday event called ZooLights.
The zoo aims to provide visitors with an educational and enjoyable wildlife experience. They also offer world-class animal care. In addition to its animals, the zoo has numerous outdoor and indoor exhibits.
One of the zoo’s most impressive attractions is the Regenstein Center for African Apes. The facility contains three habitats for gorillas and chimpanzees.
Museum of Science and Industry
The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, Illinois, is the largest science museum in the Western Hemisphere. It is located in the former Palace of Fine Arts from the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. As such, it features several innovative exhibits that encourage curious minds to delve into the history of technology.
This storied institution opened in three phases between 1933 and 1940. During that period, it received much of its funding from the Commercial Club of Chicago. One of its most notable supporters was Julius Rosenwald. However, Rosenwald resigned after serving as its curator and was replaced by Waldemar Kaempffert.
Today, the Museum of Science and Industry has 35,000 artifacts. In addition to its permanent exhibits, it hosts several temporary exhibitions. Most of the displays are interactive.
The 319-acre (126-hectare) Grant Park in Chicago is one of the city’s most popular attractions. It’s a beautiful place to relax in the sun or catch live music. In addition, many summer festivals are held here, including the Taste of Chicago.
Grant Park is home to some different cultural and sports facilities. You can find tennis courts, baseball diamonds, and more.
Grant Park is home to various festivals and events, including the Grant Park Music Festival, the Chicago Blues Festival, the Taste of Chicago, and the Chicago Jazz Festival. In addition, the park is the location of the start and finish lines for the Chicago Marathon.
The park has received federal relief funds to renovate and upgrade the park. The project’s first phase included an ice skating ribbon, an irrigation system, and the construction of more than 1,000 trees.
875 North Michigan Avenue
875 North Michigan Avenue, also known as John Hancock Center, is a 100-story office building in Chicago, Illinois. It is one of the world’s tallest buildings.
Originally known as The John Hancock Center, this tower was constructed in 1969 and has been an iconic part of the city. Structural engineer Fazlur Rahman Khan originally designed the building.
The building’s unique X-braced structure allows for an open floor plan and helps prevent it from bowing. This building also features two antennas on top at equal lengths. These antennas are over three hundred feet tall and transmit signals to nearby radio stations. They also change colors for holidays and events.
One of the most popular attractions on 875 North Michigan is the observatory. Located on the 94th floor, this attraction offers stunning views of the Chicago skyline.
You can also enjoy the 360 Chicago Observation Deck, a tilting glass box that provides panoramic city views. There is a bar and restaurant on the observation deck as well.
The Field Museum
The Field Museum is one of Chicago’s most popular attractions. It is located on the lakefront and offers a variety of exhibits. So whether you are interested in dinosaurs or the latest scientific discoveries, you will find something you’ll enjoy at this museum.
Visiting the Field Museum is a great way to see the natural world in a new light. The museum’s permanent and temporary exhibitions are constantly changing. This means you can visit the museum repeatedly and have a unique experience.
There are numerous ways to save on your Field Museum admission. For example, you can purchase a LivingSocial ticket, giving you 10% to 20% off your access. Another option is to buy a Chicago CityPASS. These special passes offer discounts at several Chicago attractions, including the Field Museum.
Brookfield Zoo might be the place for you if you’re looking for fun things to do in the Chicago area. This 216-acre zoological park, located on the grounds of the Forest Preserves of Cook County, is home to several exotic animals worldwide.
The zoo is divided into several different sections. For example, visitors can see North American river otters swimming and Amazon tree boas diving. Other exhibits include the Regenstein Wolf Woods and the Pachyderm House.
There are also many paved and unpaved trails for visitors to enjoy. These include the Salt Creek Trail system, which runs along the Des Plaines River. It features several unique features and offers a fourteen-mile challenging hike.
The Chicago Riverwalk is a great place to spend a summer afternoon in Chicago. It’s a 1.25-mile-long public walkway along the Chicago River. This route is ideal for bikers, walkers, and pedestrians alike.
The Riverwalk has many sights, sounds, and smells to entertain the family. There are six themed “rooms” to explore. Each one contains some unique architectural features. You can also explore the Riverwalk via water.
One of the most prominent tourist attractions is Marina Plaza. This waterfront attraction offers shopping and dining options. Also, it’s an excellent place to take in the views of the Chicago River.
If you’re brave, you can kayak on the Chicago River. Several companies offer guided tours and rentals. Kayak Chicago is one of them.
The Buckingham Fountain in Chicago is a beautiful landmark that is worth visiting. The fountain is one of the largest fountains in the world and is located in Grant Park.
The fountain was created in 1927 as a memorial to Clarence Buckingham. His sister, Kate Sturges Buckingham, donated funds to build the fountain in his memory. She also established an endowment fund to help maintain the fountain.
The fountain is free to visit. It is also open in the evenings. At dusk, the fountain lights up in a colorful display. There is also a music show that is performed every 20 minutes. This is a very relaxing and enjoyable place to visit.
The fountain features a jet that shoots water up 150 feet into the air. This is achieved with two levels of pumps. A control room operates these pumps on the first level.