Often called the Windy City, Chicago is known for its cultural attractions, interesting architecture, towering skyscrapers, and sports arenas. It is the third-largest city in North America and features hundreds of must-see tourist attractions. If you are planning to spend a couple of days in this amazing city, check out our list of top 10 things to do in Chicago.
- Visit the Art Institute of Chicago
The Art Institute of Chicago is a well-known museum that houses a diverse collection of artworks including paintings, sculptures, textiles, prints, architectural drawings, and decorative arts. Check out some of the most treasurable paintings at the institute like “A Sunday Afternoon on La Grand Jatte” by George Seurat and several paintings from the famous artist, Claude Monet. The main building of the Art Institute of Chicago was built at the end of the 19th century, while other buildings were added over the years.
- Take a Walk through the Millennium Park
One of the newest parks in Chicago, Millennium Park shortly after opening up its gates became a hotspot for both tourist and locals. Besides plenty of open space and walking trails, it also features a number of modern sculptures in glass and steel. Make sure to visit the Jay Pritzker Pavilion where hundreds of concerts and performances are held each year. There is also an ice rink that attracts skaters in winter and is used as an outdoor restaurant in summer.
- See the Chicago Skyline from the Cloud Gate
Often called “The Bean”, Cloud Gate is a giant bean that creates distorted reflections in the recently opened Millennium Park. This iconic sculpture attracts a lot of tourists who come to take pictures and enjoy the Chicago skyline. The best time to come and see the Cloud Gate is in the evening when the bean goes black and you can see how the city lights define its shape.
- Watch a Game at Wrigley Field
Residents of Chicago love sports and one of their favorite places in the city is definitely Wrigley Field, the home of “da Cubs”. Most of the tourists who had a chance to watch a game here say that the experience is quite unique, mostly because of the fans who cheer like crazy for their local team. If you are not in the city on the match day, you can sign up for a tour of the ballpark. The tour consists of stories about the team and the fans, a visit to the merchandise booths, and access to the restrooms. These guided tours cost around $25 for adults and last for 90 minutes.
- Explore the Museum of Science and Industry
Located on the north side of the Jackson Park, the Museum of Science and Industry was built in 1933 and is one of the most popular museums in the city. It focuses on the industrial and technological development and features hands-on exhibits including a large hamster wheel, a WW2 German Submarine, and the Science Storms where you will see a 30-foot avalanche disc and a 40-foot tornado. Most of the exhibits at the Museum of Science and Industry are permanent and the complex also features an OMNIMAX theater.
- Take a Multimedia Sky Tour at the 360 Chicago Observation Deck
Want to check out one of the fastest elevators in the world that transfers passengers from the ground floor to the 94th floor in less than a minute? Come to the 360 Chicago Observation Deck and experience this amazing open-air skywalk. Visitors can take a multimedia Sky Tour and learn about the culture and history of the city. This observatory is located in the heart of the tourist district and is one of the most visited attractions in Chicago, so make sure to book tickets in advance.
- Visit the Field Museum
Founded in 1893, The Field Museum features over 20 million specimens and artifacts including disciplines such as anthropology, geology, zoology, and botany. This is a perfect museum for families with children and for everyone who loves those Indiana Jones movies. Check out an Egyptian Tomb, see the Tyrannosaurus Rex, and don’t forget to visit the Abbott Hall of Conservation. If you purchase a Chicago CityPass, which includes a free ticket to the museum. General admission to the Field Museum will cost you $22 for adults and $15 for children. Access to the 3-D theater will cost you some extra cash.
- Head out to the Lakefront Trail
No visit to Chicago is complete without a morning walk on Lakefront Trail that is full of gardens, beaches, parks, and bars. There is a running linear path and a biking path that stretches along Lake Michigan. If you decide to go on this 18-mile path, you will see a number of Chicago’s attractions on the way including Soldier Field, the Museum Campus, Lincoln Park Zoo, South Shore Cultural Center, and the Buckingham Fountain. Near every path entrance, you will find bikes for rent.
- Go Shopping to the Magnificent Mile
Visitors who are wondering where to shop in Chicago should definitely visit one of the best shopping districts in the North America, the Magnificent Mile. Stretching between Oak Street and the Chicago River, this place is home to a number of department stores including Neiman Marcus, Lord and Taylor, and Macy’s. Of course, you will also find several hotels like the InterContinental Chicago and the Four Seasons Hotel, as well as many world-class restaurants and bars.
- Visit the Navy Pier
Originally opened in 1916, the Navy Pier is an amusement area with a number of concert venues, parks, 50 acres of gardens, and restaurants. There is also a giant Ferris wheel on which visitors can take rides throughout the day and a 3D IMAX Theater for those who want catch the newest Hollywood blockbusters. Some of the other attractions at the Navy Pier include the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Crystal Gardens, Chicago Children’s Museum, and the Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows.