Skip to Content

45 Fun & Best Things to Do in Chicago, Illinois

The City of Chicago is a multicultural metropolis that expresses American values and community while also maintaining harmony. The third-largest city in the United States, with a population of nearly three million people, Chicago is located on the shores of Lake Michigan in Illinois.

It is well-known for its magnificent architectural constructions, historical places, and museums, as well as food! Chicago is a city that works to benefit its society by improving public schools, stressing public safety, and providing straightforward access to all segments of the community, including social, economic, and environmental justice.

Table of Contents

Things to Do in Chicago, Illinois

Chicago is an amazing city full of endless possibilities and it’s nearly impossible to get bored here. These are our favorite things to do in Chicago, no matter if you are a first-timer or an expert local.

Millennium Park

View of Millennium Park in Summer

If you’re in Chicago, make sure to see Millennium Park. This is one of the coolest things to do in the Windy City for good reason and, essentially, a sort of public park located in the Loop community area of Chicago.

The Cloud Gate or Bean, as well as the Crown Fountain by Jaume Plensa, are among the best tourist attractions at this park in the middle of a sprawling metropolis. The Chicago Jazz Festival is one of the most iconic jazz festivals in the United States and is located right in the heart of Millennium Park.

The Chicago Jazz Festival is a free event that takes place every year in late August or early September. The festival celebrates jazz music and features a wide range of jazz performers, from traditional jazz to modern jazz.

Millennium Park is located in the downtown Loop neighborhood of Chicago. The easiest way to get there is by taking the “L” train to the Randolph/Wabash station and then walking east.

See Related: Best Hiking Trails in America

Take Photos of the Chicago Skyline

Best Things to Do in Chicago

The skyline of Chicago is one of the most famous in the world, and for good reason. Chicago architecture and the design of the city are truly unique and iconic. You’ll spot a beautiful view from any spot in the city.

The skyline has been featured in movies and TV shows and is a popular tourist destination. The best way to get a good view of the Chicago skyline is from one of the many observation decks in the city, such as the John Hancock Center, Willis Tower, or 360 Chicago. One of my favorite cool things to do in Chicago is to head to the top of one of those buildings during the iconic Chicago Air & Water Show.

Or you can take a cruise on Lake Michigan to get an up-close and personal view of the skyline. If you want to enjoy the skyline during your stay, check out the Radisson Blu at the Aqua Building or the Waters Spa at the Chicago Athletic Association hotel.

Things to do in Chicago with Kids: Lincoln Park Zoo

Best Things to Do in Chicago

Lincoln Park Zoo is one of the oldest zoos in North America, having been founded in 1868. It is home to over 1,200 animals of different species, making it a great destination for those traveling to Chicago with young children.

Admission to the Lincoln Park Zoo is free, and there is plenty to see and do. Tourists can explore the zoo’s many exhibits and learn about the various animal species that call Lincoln Park Zoo home.

The Lincoln Park Zoo also offers educational programs and events throughout the year, making it a great way to learn more about the animal kingdom. Whether you’re interested in seeing rare animals or simply spending a day outdoors, Lincoln Park Zoo is sure to please you.

See Related: Best Fishing Spots in America

Visit the Museum Campus of Chicago

Best Things to Do in Chicago

Are you looking for a unique way to experience the cultural and educational offerings of Windy City? The Museum Campus of Chicago is one of the city’s most popular tourist destinations and is located on the lakefront at Grant Park. The campus is home to the Adler Planetarium, The Shedd Aquarium, The Field Museum of Natural History, Soldier Field, and McCormick Place.

Visitors can easily spend a day exploring all the campus has to offer. The Museum Campus is located along Lake Michigan, so it’s also a great place to enjoy the city’s skyline and take in the fresh air. If you’re looking for something to do in Chicago, the Museum Campus is definitely worth a visit.

Field Museum Of Natural History

Entrance to Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago
Susan Montgomery / Shutterstock.com

The Field Museum of Natural History is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Chicago and is probably the best natural history museum in the country. It is home to some of the most impressive natural history exhibits in the world, with over 4.6 billion years of history on display.

The museum also features special exhibits on Ancient China, the Qing Dynasty, an interactive fossil lab where visitors can learn about dinosaurs and other ancient creatures, and even a “Dioramas Hall” that features realistic recreations of habitats worldwide.

In addition to these displays, there are also rotating temporary exhibitions on topics ranging from climate change to wildlife conservation.

The Field Museum is a great place to learn about the history of our planet and the various cultures that have inhabited it. With so much to see and do, the Field Museum is sure to please everyone in the family.

Cloud Gate at Millennium Park

Cloud Gate a Millennium Park

AT&T Plaza at Millennium Park is home to an enormous public sculpture by Anish Kapoor. Cloud Gate was created in 2006 by the firm and is known as “The Bean” because of its resemblance to a bean. Its round arch includes 161 high-reflectivity stainless steel plates.

The sculpture is popular with visitors, who often pose for photographs in front of it. It has also been used as the backdrop for various fashion shoots and television commercials. In 2012, Cloud Gate was surveyed as part of the Art in Chicago Public Art Survey.

The Cloud Gate sculpture is located in Millennium Park, which is in downtown Chicago. The park is easily accessible from any part of the city, and there are plenty of things to do there once you get there. You can find more information on the Millennium Park website.

See Related: Things to Do in Joliet, Illinois

Take a Boat Cruise on Lake Michigan

View of Chicago Skyline and Lake Michigan

Lake Michigan is one of the five Great Lakes of North America and the only one located entirely within the United States. At its deepest point, it is 1,333 feet (406 m) deep.

It contains a volume of water equal to almost 2,000 cubic miles (8,300 km3). Many Chicago marinas offer boat cruises, as well as other excellent water activities in Chicago. Swimming, fishing, kayaking, and windsurfing are some of the other options.

Take a moment to unwind and relax while a captain takes you up and down the shores of Lake Michigan, highlighting landmark buildings and examining a rich historical city. You’ll feel tired when people gather on your boat for a private, luxurious vacation, or grab your two-person yacht for a private cruise.

See Related: Best White Water Rafting in the USA

Try Chicago Style Hot Dogs

Chicago Dog

Chicago is well-known for many things, from its diverse array of architecture to its championship sports teams. But one of Windy City’s most iconic exports is the Chicago-style hot dog.

This all-beef frankfurter is served on a poppyseed bun and topped with a plethora of toppings, including yellow mustard, onions, relish, tomato, sport peppers, and a dill pickle spear.

While this may sound like a mouthful, the Chicago Dog is surprisingly easy to eat – and even more delicious. So when you’re in Chicago, be sure to swing by a local hot dog stand and give this classic dish a try.

Eat the World-Famous Deep Dish Pizza

Milly's Pizza in the Pan, Chicago Deep Dish

Chicago is well-known for deep-dish pizza. This type of pizza is different than your average pizza because it has a deep crust that is usually stuffed with cheese.

The deep-dish pizza was invented in the 1940s at Pizzeria Uno and has been a Chicago staple ever since. If you’re looking for a cheesy, filling meal, deep-dish pizza is the way to go.

And, if you’re in Chicago, you might as well try the world-famous deep-dish pizza from Pizzeria Uno, Giordano’s, or Lou Malnati’s.

The Art Institute of Chicago

Best Things to Do in Chicago

The Art Institute of Chicago is one of the oldest and largest art museums in the United States. It was founded in 1879 and is located in Chicago’s Loop community area on Michigan Avenue.

The museum is home to a large collection of art, with the world’s greatest collection of Impressionist art outside of France. The Art Institute of Chicago is also one of only three American museums with a van Gogh painting in their permanent collection. Some other popular exhibits at the Art Institute of Chicago include:

  • Ancient Egyptian Art
  • American Art
  • Art of the Ancient Americas
  • Asian Art
  • Europeanndergarten-Grade 12

The Art Institute of Chicago is open from 10:30 am to 5 pm Sunday through Thursday and 10:30 am to 8 pm on Friday and Saturday. Admission is $25 for adults, $17 for seniors, and free for children under 14. Grab a skip-the-line ticket to avoid the lines and make the most of your visit to this amazing museum.

See Related: Best Honeymoon Destinations in the World

Catch a Baseball Game or Concert at Wrigley Field

Aerial View of Wrigley Field in Chicago

The Chicago Cubs play at the second-oldest baseball stadium in history. Wrigley Field (1914), often known as “Friendliness Confines” after legendary Ernie Banks, is renowned for its ivy-covered outfield walls and a manually operated scoreboard.

It may come as a surprise that it’s located in a residential neighborhood surrounded by brownstone townhomes rooftops, bars, and restaurants. During baseball season, visiting fans can watch as the Cubs battle it out with their opponents—or enjoy some hotdogs and beer while soaking up the atmosphere of this legendary stadium.

Besides baseball, Wrigley Field also hosts concerts for popular music artists. Some of the recent performers include Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, and Elton John. If you are in Chicago during summer, make sure to check out the concert schedule and catch a game or two at this historic ballpark.

Visiting Wrigley Field is an entire cultural experience in its own regard and should not be missed if you are a fan of baseball or architecture, or just want to experience something unique and historic.

The Chicago Cubs play at the historic Wrigley Field from March to October. You can buy tickets for the game from the Cubs’ website or from various online ticket resellers. Tickets typically start at around $10 for nosebleed seats and go up to several hundred dollars for better views of the game. Check ticket pricing on Vivid Seats or Gametime for the cheapest tickets for Wrigley Field events.

If you aren’t up for a game, you can take a guided tour of Wrigley Field. On non-game days, tours include the press box, bleachers, locker rooms, dugouts, and sometimes (not always) a chance to walk on the baseball field.

See Related: Things to Do in Rockford, Illinois

John Hancock Center

Best Things to Do in Chicago

The John Hancock Center is a 100-story, 1,500-foot (457 m) skyscraper in Chicago, Illinois, United States. It is one of the tallest buildings in the world and the ninth-tallest building in the United States. It was constructed under the supervision of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.

The John Hancock Center’s 360 Chicago observation deck is on the 94th floor of the building and provides panoramic views over the city. The view deck climbed 1,390 feet to observe four neighboring states, including Indiana and Wisconsin. Relax at the bar while watching the sunset after looking at this exciting tilt platform (TILT).

See Related: Things to Do in Bloomington, Illinois

The Evergreen Broadway

Best Things to Do in Chicago

The Evergreen Broadway in Chicago is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city. The theater district is located in the Loop, and it is home to some of the most iconic theaters in the country. The theater district is also home to many of the city’s most popular restaurants, bars, and hotels.

The Evergreen Broadway in Chicago is a great place to see a show, and it is also a great place to eat and drink. The theater district is a great place to visit if you love music and theater. The Evergreen Broadway in Chicago has the most amazing seats and an even more amazing atmosphere. The theater district is also home to many of the city’s most popular restaurants, bars, and hotels.

Hit the Beach at North Avenue Beach

Best Things to Do in Chicago

North Avenue Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Chicago and a great place to enjoy the sun, swim, and just relax. The beach is easily accessible from the city center – it’s located just a few blocks north of the Magnificent Mile.

This beach offers many activities, such as jet skiing, parasailing, kayaking, and more. If relaxation is more your speed, then no worries; North Avenue beach also rents lounge chairs right on the water’s edge so you can kick back and soak up some sun without any distractions.

You can reach North Avenue Beach by walking, biking, or taking public transportation. Once you’re there, you’ll find plenty of space to spread out your towel and relax in the sun.

If you’re looking to cool off, North Avenue Beach has a designated swimming area with a lifeguard on duty. And when you’re ready to grab a bite to eat or drink, there are plenty of options nearby.

It’s also worth noting that North Avenue Beach is home to several events throughout the year, such as beer festivals and reggae concerts so be sure to check out what’s happening before your visit.

See Related: Best Wedding Destinations in the US

Dine in the Ultimate Chicago Skyline Experience at the Signature Room

Best Things to Do in Chicago

If you’re looking for a great place to enjoy a drink and an amazing view of Chicago, the Signature Room is definitely worth a visit. Located on the 95th floor of the John Hancock Center, the Signature Room offers an incredible 360-degree view of the city.

The atmosphere is upscale but relaxed, making it perfect for a date night or happy hour with friends. And in addition to an impressive selection of cocktails, the Signature Room also offers an extensive menu of small plates and entrees. Whether you’re looking to enjoy a few drinks or have a full meal, the Signature Room is one of the best cafes in Chicago.

Visit The Spirit Statue and Go to a Chicago Bulls Game at the United Center

The Spirit Statue Outside United Center

The Spirit is a statue of Michael Jordan that is located in the Near West Side Community Area outside the United Center. The statue is made up of bronze and granite, and it is a must-see for any fan of the legendary basketball player.

The statue is situated in a plaza that also features a statue of Jerry Reinsdorf, the owner of the Chicago Bulls. The plaza is located just outside the main entrance to the United Center, and it is a popular spot for fans to take pictures before or after Bulls games.

The Spirit statue was unveiled on November 1, 1994, and it has since become one of the most recognizable landmarks in Chicago.

The Historic 63rd Street Beach

People at the 63rd Street Beach in Chicago

63rd Street Beach is one of the oldest beaches in Chicago, established in 1913. It’s a popular spot for destination weddings and other special events. The 63rd Street Beach House is a historic landmark and features an auditorium, gymnasium, and locker rooms.

63rd Street Beach is also a great spot for swimming, sunbathing, and picnicking. Visitors can also enjoy fishing, volleyball, and basketball. 63rd Street Beach is a great place to enjoy the breathtaking views of Lake Michigan.

See Related: Best Places to Visit and Things to Do in Illinois

Take in the Chicago Food Truck Scene

Pastrami Sandwich in Chicago

Chicago is a food lover’s paradise, and one of the best ways to experience the city’s culinary scene is to check out the food trucks. Chicago’s food trucks offer a wide variety of cuisines, from hot dogs and pizza to Vietnamese and Mexican. And Chicagoans love their food trucks – you’ll often see long lines at popular trucks like Chicago Dog House and Giordano’s.

If you’re looking to experience the best of Chicago’s food truck scene, be sure to check out the Chicago Food Truck Fest. Held annually, the Fest features some of the city’s best food trucks, as well as live music and entertainment. It’s the perfect way to sample the best of what Chicago has to offer.

Amazing Concerts of Hyde Park

Band Playing in Hyde Park of Chicago

The concerts at Rockefeller Chapels in Hyde Park are not to be missed. The concerts are a part of the campus and student life at the University of Chicago.

The concerts are live and the organ is played by a student. The concerts are a great way to see the campus and get a feel for student life. The concerts are also a great way to see the city of Chicago. The concerts are held in the summer and are free and open to the public.

See Related: Best Holiday Destinations for Couples

Navy Pier

Crowds at Navy Pier in Chicago

Navy Pier is a beautiful landmark located in Chicago, Illinois. It’s a great place to visit for tourists and offers a wonderful view of the city’s skyline. This 3300-foot pier juts out into Lake Michigan and features an array of activities such as carnival rides, fireworks shows, boat tours, and sightseeing cruises. There are also many cultural programs available at Navy Pier, as well as amazing food options, making it one of the most fun things to do in Chicago with kids.

If you want something even more exciting, take a spin on the Centennial Wheel Ferris wheel for panoramic views of downtown Chicago. There are plenty of attractions for both children and adults, as well as delicious food choices. A visit to Navy Pier wouldn’t be complete without a stop at the Miller Lite Beer Garden, which boasts fresh and ice-cold beer, creative food, and an exceptional view of Lake Michigan.

If you’re searching for a romantic destination, Navy Pier is a must-see. While looking at the cityscape, make time to dine with your significant other.

If you’re looking for a place to stay near Navy Pier, the Embassy Suites Chicago Downtown is a great option. It’s located just a few blocks away from the pier and offers a variety of amenities, including free breakfast, free WiFi, and a fitness center. The staff is also friendly and helpful, making your stay more enjoyable.

The Shedd Aquarium

Shedd Aquarium Aerial View

Shedd Aquarium is located on the shores of Lake Michigan and is one of the world’s largest indoor aquariums. It was founded in 1930 and has since become a popular tourist destination, with over 1.5 million visitors each year.

It houses more than 32,000 animals from over 1,500 species that call its tanks home—including sharks, jellyfish, sea horses, penguins, and more. With displays organized by region—from Pacific coral reefs to African rivers—there is something for everyone here.

Plus, visitors can get up close with animals during encounters like Stingray Touch or Penguin Encounters! Children love the thrill of touching live stingrays and who wouldn’t want to meet a penguin?

Check Out Mandy B’s Cupcakes

Inside Mandy B's Cupcakes

Mandy B’s Cupcakes is a must-visit for anyone in the area. The cupcakes are old-fashioned and homemade, and the shop has a bright, colorful décor that is sure to attract children. In addition to the great taste and fun atmosphere, Mandy B’s offers a wide variety of flavors and toppings to choose from.

So whether you’re looking for a classic vanilla cupcake or something more adventurous like a chocolate-covered strawberry, Mandy B’s is sure to have something to satisfy your sweet tooth. Next time you’re in town, be sure to stop by Mandy B’s Cupcakes for an unforgettable treat.

See Related: Chicago CityPASS Review

Check Out the Chicago Diner Scene (Especially the Shakes)

Best Things to Do in Chicago

Many people believe that Chicago is most recognized for its architecture, deep-dish pizza, and meat-heavy cuisine. What many visitors to the Windy City are unaware of, though, is the city’s fantastic diner scene.

And while there are many great options to choose from, the Chicago Diner is a must-visit for anyone looking for a delicious, hearty meal. The Chicago Diner is an all-vegetarian establishment, which may come as a surprise to some.

However, what they lack in the meat they more than make up for in flavor. The menu features a wide variety of classic diner fare, including sandwiches, burgers, and salads. But the real star of the show is the milkshakes.

Shop and Dine on the Magnificent Mile

Magnificent Mile, Chicago City Lights

The Magnificent Mile is home to some of the most recognizable landmarks in Chicago. The stretch of Michigan Avenue along the Chicago River is known for its upscale stores, iconic landmarks, and stunning views. Whether you’re visiting for a day or a weekend, The Magnificent Mile is at the top of Chicago tourist attractions for shoppers.

The Magnificent Mile is a six-block stretch of Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago. Some of the shops you’ll find on the Magnificent Mile include high-end retailers like Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus, as well as more budget-friendly stores like H&M and Uniqlo.

There are plenty of retail stores, banks, hotels, and shopping malls located in the area. You’ll also find a variety of restaurants and cafes. The Magnificent Mile is a great place to spend a day or weekend.

On this amazing stretch in Chicago, you’ll find 275 eateries as well as 460 retail stores, ranging from flagship locations for Nike and Zara to some of the Windy City’s most well-known boutique shops. Take a stroll along the Chicago riverwalk in summer to take in the river scene and grab a bite to eat. You can easily access it at the Michigan Avenue Bridge.

See Related: Best Tourist Destinations in the World

Soldier Field

Soldier Field During a Vikings vs Bears Game

Soldier Field is a football stadium located on the South Side of Chicago. No trip to Chicago would be complete without catching a game with the Chicago Bears. This iconic football team has been playing since 1919 and is one of the oldest teams in NFL history. Head to Soldier Field during football season, and you can get up close and personal with all the action

It’s one of the city’s most famous landmarks and was built to promote sports in the area. The stadium has a capacity of more than 100,000 people and has hosted several concerts, thrill shows, fireworks shows, and other events.

If you’re looking for a fun thing to do in Chicago, take a look at potential events and tickets for a show at Soldier Field. It’s a marvelous stadium that offers excellent views of Windy City. Check ticket pricing on Vivid Seats or Gametime for the cheapest tickets for Soldier Field events.

Buckingham Fountain

Best Things to Do in Chicago

Grant Park’s centerpiece is the Grant Garden, which provides stunning vistas of both north and south. One of Grant Park’s must-see attractions is Buckingham Fountain—a stunning Chicago landmark located at the park’s center.

Built-in 1927, this fountain was designed by Edward Bennett and financed by Kate Sturges Buckingham as a memorial to her brother. It features four sets of sea horses representing Lake Michigan and the four states bordering it—Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Michigan—and an impressive central jet that shoots water up 136 feet into the air every hour.

The Buckingham Fountain was erected in Georgia pink marble in 1928 and is almost 8 meters tall, with more than 200 jet engines measuring 85 meters across. The Rococo form comes from the Latoni Fountain at Versailles, representing Lake Michigan in four pairs. The water fountain contains more than 5,700 million liters of water.

There’s no better way to get an overview of Grant Park than from Buckingham Fountain.

Michigan Avenue Bridge

Michigan Avenue Bridge

Michigan Avenue Bridge is a bascule bridge that links the north and south ends of Chicago over the Chicago River. Michigan Avenue Bridge is also one of the top things to see in Chicago because it provides clearance for boat traffic while also offering a ton of history along the way.

Michigan Avenue Bridge is actually a magnificent piece of structure built by the engineers of its time especially due to its mechanical power. The bridge was built in 1928 and is currently undergoing a $99 million dollar renovation.

The Michigan Avenue Bridge provides amazing views of the Chicago skyline, the river, and the bridges and is a must-see for any traveler to Chicago.

Visit the Book Cellar

Book Cellar in Chicago

Book Cellar is a community-based, independent bookstore in Chicago that has been around for over twenty years. It’s located in the heart of the city’s Lincoln Park neighborhood, and it’s definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area.

The Book Cellar has an extensive selection of both new and used books, and they also host a variety of events, including readings, signings, and discussions.

In addition to being a great place to find your next read, the Book Cellar is also a cozy cafe, so you can enjoy a cup of coffee or tea while you browse the shelves.

Whether you’re a lifelong reader or just looking for a new place to relax, the Book Cellar is definitely worth checking out.

See Related: Best Family Vacation Spots in the World

Try an Italian Beef Sandwich

Italian Beef Sandwich

Italian beef is a sandwich originating from Chicago, made of thinly sliced roast beef simmered in a seasoned broth and served on an Italian roll or Italian-style bread.

The sandwich’s creation is often attributed to Italian immigrants who settled in Chicago’s Little Italy in the early 1900s. Italian immigrants were known for bringing their culinary traditions with them when they settled in new areas, and the Italian beef sandwich is thought to be a product of this migration.

The sandwich became popular among Italian-American immigrants as a way to stretch their meager food budgets and soon became a favorite among the wider population of Chicago.

Today, the Italian beef sandwich is a staple of the city’s food culture and can be found at most restaurants, cafes, and delis.

Museum of Science and Industry

The Museums of Science and Industry in Chicago from the Lake

The Chicago Museum of Science and Industry is one of the largest science museums in the world. With over 35,000 artifacts on display, it is a veritable feast for the eyes of technology lovers and history buffs alike. The museum is dedicated to inspiring the inventive genius in all of us, and it certainly succeeds in this goal.

From its world-famous Hindenburg exhibit to its hands-on learning labs, the Museum of Science and Industry is a must-visit for any Chicago traveler with a curiosity about the world around them.

So whether you’re looking to explore the inner workings of a steam engine or learn about the latest advances in robotics, be sure to add the Museum of Science and Industry to your Chicago itinerary.

Adler Planetarium

Best Things to Do in Chicago

Adler Planetarium is a world-renowned astronomical museum located on the shores of Lake Michigan. The Adler Planetarium houses three theaters, a vast collection of scientific instruments, and enough exhibit space to accommodate large-scale exhibitions.

Adler Planetarium offers visitors a chance to explore our universe through interactive exhibits and shows in their sky theater. Founded in 1930 by astronomer Max Adler as part of The Century Of Progress International Exposition World’s Fair celebration honoring Chicago’s centennial anniversary (1833-1933), this planetarium has been teaching people about astronomy ever since.

The planetarium is one of the few places where visitors can see planets, stars, and galaxies as if they are real and offers an array of educational programs and events that are sure to enlighten and entertain visitors of all ages. You can explore space topics like black holes and galaxies or take a virtual field trip through our solar system in the Grainger Sky Theater.

This planetarium is a must-see for anyone interested in astronomy or space exploration.

Chicago Cultural Center

Inside the Chicago Cultural Center

Chicago Cultural Center is a hub for all kinds of cultural events, especially high-class weddings and private events. The things which attract most visitors here are the two beautiful stain-glass domes and the galleries, which make the hall look magnificent. If you are planning to organize an event in Chicago, then the Chicago Cultural Center will be the best choice for you.

The center offers a variety of services to make your event a success, including catering, event planning, and audio/visual support. You can also rent space for weddings, receptions, conferences, and other private events. With its convenient location and elegant setting, the Chicago Cultural Center is the perfect place to host your next event.

Chicago Lakefront Trail

Chicago Lakefront Trail on Lake Michigan

Chicago’s Lakefront Trail is one of the city’s most popular attractions, and it’s easy to see why. The 18.5-mile linear park offers stunning views of Lake Michigan, as well as a variety of activities for visitors to enjoy. Whether you’re looking to take a leisurely stroll or go for a jog, the Chicago Lakefront Trail is the perfect place to do it.

And if you’re visiting Chicago during the summer, be sure to cool off with a swim on one of the many beaches along the trail. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, the Chicago Lakefront Trail is sure to provide an enjoyable experience.

Chicago Water Tower

Chicago Water Tower with John Hancock in Background

The Chicago Water Tower is one of the best-known landmarks in the city. Built-in 1869, it was originally designed to house a large water pump that would draw water from Lake Michigan. The Chicago Water Tower was the iconic standing tower after the Great Chicago Fire.

Today, the tower is home to an art gallery and is a popular tourist destination. Visitors can enjoy stunning views of the city from the top of the tower, and the gallery features a rotating selection of artwork from local artists. Together, the Chicago Water Tower and City Gallery are must-see Chicago attractions for anyone visiting.

Visit the University of Chicago

Library at The University of Chicago

The University of Chicago is one of the world’s premier research universities, offering an education that combines the best of the American and German systems. The University was founded in 1890, and since then it has been at the forefront of intellectual inquiry.

Today, the University offers programs in nearly every field of study, making it one of the best places to get a comprehensive education. If you are planning to study abroad, the University of Chicago should definitely be on your list of schools to consider.

In addition to its academic excellence, the University is also situated in one of the world’s great cities, making it a perfect place to live and learn.

Visit the Willis Tower

Willis Tower and Skyline at NIght

The Willis Tower, formerly known as the Sears Tower, is one of Chicago’s most iconic landmarks. Standing 110 stories tall, it was once the tallest building in the United States but today it still towers tall over the city of Chicago.

The Willis Tower is best known for the Skydeck Chicago, which provides visitors with incredible 360-degree views of the city. On a clear day, you can see up to 50 miles away from the Skydeck.

The Skydeck is also home to the popular Ledge, a glass-enclosed balcony that extends 4 feet outside of the building – offering visitors a truly unique and thrilling experience.

If you’re looking for an unforgettable view of Chicago, be sure to add the Willis Tower to your list of places to visit in the Windy City.

See Related: Things to Do in Old Town Chicago

Chicago History Museum

Chicago History Museum
Thomas Barrat / Shutterstock.com

Chicago’s history is rich and fascinating, and there’s no better place to learn about it than at the Chicago History Museum. The museum features exhibits on a wide range of topics, from the city’s role in the American Revolution to the Great Chicago Fire.

There’s also a large collection of artifacts on display, including pieces from the 1893 World’s Exposition. Whether you’re a resident of Chicago or just visiting, the Chicago History Museum is definitely worth a visit.

See Related: Most Beautiful Cities in the World

Stroll Around Grant Park

Grant Park in Chicago, Illinois

Grant Park is a must-see for any visitors to Chicago. This expansive city park is home to several world-renowned festivals, including Lollapalooza and the Taste of Chicago.

Grant Park is also a great place to simply stroll around and take in the sights and sounds of the city. The park’s lush landscaping and towering skyline provide a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of downtown Chicago.

No matter if you’re looking to enjoy a festive atmosphere or simply want to escape the busyness of the city, Grant Park is sure to please you.

See Related: Most Unique Places to Stay in Chicago

Take a History Tour of the Wrigley Building and Tribune Tower

Wrigley Building at Night with Michigan Avenue Bridge
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Start your journey at the historic Tribune Tower and take a few moments to admire its Gothic architecture. Then move on to the Wrigley Building – look for its two towers connected by an archway. Wrigley Gum is a Chicago success story that’s worth heading the full story.

William Wrigley Jr. started out selling soap and baking powder in 1891. But a year later, Wrigley started packaging gum as a marketing gimmick for its original products – soon, Wrigley Gum made the Wrigley family quite wealthy enough to build Chicago landmarks like Wrigley Field.

Catch a Free Concert at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion

View of Aon Building from Jay Pritzker Pavilion
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

The Jay Pritzker Pavilion is an outdoor music venue located within Millennium Park which borders Grant Park on its northern side. Designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry and opened in 2004. The Pavilion seats 4,100 people under its unique ‘shell’ structure made of stainless steel ribbons lit up at night, creating a stunning visual effect for visitors.

The pavilion hosts free events throughout the summer months and paid ticketed events throughout the year, so there is always something going on here.

See Related: Most Romantic Cities in the World

Head north to Montrose Beach

Aerial View of Montrose Beach in Uptown, Chicago

Montrose Beach is located along the northern shoreline of Lake Michigan near Uptown Chicago. This beautiful beach stretches for nearly two miles and features plenty of space for relaxing or participating in sports such as sand volleyball or soccer.

The beach also features concessions where visitors can purchase food and drinks and restrooms for convenience. Montrose Beach is a great spot for families looking to spend a day outdoors because it also includes playgrounds for kids.

Take an architecture cruise on the Chicago River

Chicago Architecture River Cruise

The architecture of Windy City is one-of-a-kind and truly historic. Take a cruise down the Chicago River to get a unique view of some of the most famous buildings in the city. The cruise will pass by some of the city’s iconic skyscrapers, like the Willis Tower, Trump Tower, and the John Hancock Center.

You’ll also get an up-close look at some of Chicago’s beautiful bridges and other architectural gems along the way. Enjoy learning about the history and stories behind these structures while you take in this incredible view from the water.

Spend a rainy day at Garfield Park Conservatory

Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago

Visiting Garfield Park Conservatory is a great way to spend your day. Whether you just want to take a leisurely stroll or explore the many attractions and exhibits, there’s something for everyone. This botanic garden is full of lush greenery, colorful flowers, and exotic plants from around the world. The conservatory also features seasonal displays, such as the Orchid Show or holiday-themed decorations that make it a popular attraction throughout the year.

There are plenty of activities to keep visitors entertained, such as educational programs, art exhibits, and other special events. With its unique architecture and beautiful gardens, Garfield Park Conservatory provides an unforgettable experience that no one should miss out on.

Spend an afternoon at the Chicago Children’s Museum

Entrance to the Chicago Children's Museum

The Chicago Children’s Museum is one of the coolest museums to visit with kids. Located at Navy Pier, the museum offers many interesting exhibits for children and adults alike. From interactive play areas to educational activities, there’s so much to explore and experience at the Chicago Children’s Museum.

The museum also offers a range of special events throughout the year, such as family workshops and kid-friendly movie screenings. With so many things to do with kids, the Chicago Children’s Museum is sure to be a great day out for all ages.

Bring your kids to Maggie Daley Park

Aerial View of Maggie Daley Park

Maggie Daley Park is a great place to bring your kids for some outdoor activities. It is part of the larger Millennium Park and has many recreational opportunities. Kids can explore the park’s unique features such as an ice-skating ribbon, a climbing wall, two playgrounds, and more.

There are also plenty of picnic areas for families to enjoy together. The park also offers educational programs that teach about nature, science, and more. Maggie Daley Park is a great way to spend time with your family while enjoying all that Chicago has to offer.

See a show at Chicago Theatre

Chicago Sign Lit Up at Night

The Chicago Theatre is one of the city’s most iconic landmarks and a great place to visit for anyone looking for things to do at night. Built-in 1921, this historic theatre is still a popular destination for locals and tourists alike looking to see a show.

From concerts and comedy shows to plays and musicals, the Chicago Theatre regularly hosts performances from some of the world’s best-known entertainers. The interior design of the theatre is also something special to experience – with its ornate ceiling, grand chandeliers, and luxurious decor, it’s easy to feel transported back in time when you step inside.

Check the schedule of tickets before you venture to downtown Chicago to grab tickets for a show. There’s likely going to be a top act in town while you are visiting.

What is Chicago Known For?

Aerial View of Chicago Skyline in Summer
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

The city of Chicago is renowned for its sports, and there’s no forgetting how Michael Jordan put the Chicago Bulls on the map for an entire decade.

In addition, Chicago, also known as the Second City, is well-known across the world for its tourism, as millions of visitors from all over the world arrive each year. It’s a wonderful location to explore since every time you turn around, there’s something new to discover.

Final Thoughts

Chicago is a city to explore in all categories – art, music, theater, sports, and more, offering endless opportunities for adventure. It’s home to the Chicago Cubs and has some pretty amazing beaches nearby if you have time for a day trip, or even if you live just outside of Chicago.

There are so many things to do that it would be impossible to list them all here, but we hope this gives you a good start on planning your trip. Have fun and be safe.

FAQs

How do I get around Chicago?

The best way to get around Chicago is by using public transportation. The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) operates the city’s bus and train system. You can purchase a Ventra Card, which allows you to use the CTA buses and trains, at any CTA station. If you’re planning on taking the train frequently, you may want to purchase a 7-day or 30-day pass.

What are some of the most popular tourist attractions in Chicago?

Some of the most popular tourist attractions in Chicago include Millennium Park, Navy Pier, The Art Institute of Chicago, The Field Museum, and Shedd Aquarium.

What are some good places to eat in Chicago?

Some good places to eat in Chicago include Al’s Beef, Portillo’s, Giordano’s, Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria, and The Purple Pig.

What are some good shopping areas in Chicago?

Some of the best shopping areas in Chicago include The Magnificent Mile, State Street, Wicker Park, and Logan Square.

What are some good hotels in Chicago?

Some of the best hotels in Chicago include The Drake Hotel, Hilton Chicago, Sheraton Grand Chicago, and The Palmer House Hilton.

Related Resources