As one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, Chicago has much to offer visitors with its iconic architecture, museums, art galleries, incredible restaurants, and more! Here are 7 of the best places for you to visit when in Chicago.
1. The Beach
One of the best ways to beat the Chicago cold is by going to The Beach. Located on North Avenue, you can enjoy a variety of activities such as beach volleyball and biking paths. When visiting the best beaches in Chicago, make sure to stop by the Seaside Cafe. Their food and drinks change seasonally, so be sure to try out their famous lobster rolls or oysters. There is also an aquatic center where you can go swimming during warmer months. Visit some local shops or grab a bite to eat at one of the many eateries nearby!
2. Millennium Park
Millennium Park features some amazing art installations and hosts several public events throughout the year such as outdoor concerts and festivals. Make sure to check out Cloud Gate (AKA: “The Bean”), Crown Fountain, and Lurie Garden while you’re there! You can even take a stroll through Frank Gehry’s newest addition to the park: BP Pedestrian Bridge. In Millennium Park, be sure to stop by the Art Institute of Chicago. It features an incredible collection of both modern and classical art.
Overlooking the beautiful city skyline, Navy Pier is one of Chicago’s most popular attractions. You can get amazing views from the Skyline SkyWalk or relax at any one of the cafes surrounding the pier! Be sure to check out Chicago Shakespeare Theater while you’re there. They put on several shows throughout the year that are incredibly exciting, hilarious, and even educational for children! Several other events take place along this stretch of land such as firework displays during Independence Day or Cirque du Soleil performances during summertime. Navy Pier is one of the oldest places in Chicago and also one of the most popular.
4. The Art Institute of Chicago
The Art Institute of Chicago is home to one of the largest art collections in the world. The museum was recently renovated for public enjoyment and now includes additional exhibits that are rotated throughout the year. Some favorites include American Furniture, Monet’s Waterlilies paintings, jewelry by Tiffany & Co., and the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist galleries.
5. Brookfield Zoo and Lincoln Park Zoo
Brookfield Zoo is a great place to visit if you love animals! The zoo features over 150 species of animals from all over the world, including the rare white tiger! Make sure to check out Penguin Palooza in March where you can see penguins dive into their pool, and Red Rooster Days in June when they have special events outside for kids. You can even take a train ride around the zoo which is included with your admission ticket!
While all zoos are great for animal lovers, Lincoln Park Zoo was recently named one of the nation’s best by US News & World Report! Admission is free (there is a small fee if you’d like to ride the train or rent bikes). There are over 1,100 animals and several special exhibits to check out. Some of these include the Farm-in-Zoo where you can see pigs, cows, and more; Regenstein Macaque Forest where you can watch monkeys climb around in an outdoor habitat; and Polar Bear Watch where you can hang out with some arctic buddies!
6. Museum of Science and Industry
The Museum of Science and Industry is located on the south side of Chicago. It features several interactive exhibits that are sure to be fun for everyone, including Kid’s Avenue where kids can play in a pretend city, Kimball Hall of Model Trains which includes over 200 model trains, and the Boeing Gallery where you can check out some actual planes! The museum also hosts special events throughout the year such as robotics competitions and cooking demonstrations. In the museum, you can also watch a 3D IMAX movie for an additional cost.
7. Shedd Aquarium
If you are an animal lover, the Shedd Aquarium is a must-see attraction! It features several permanent exhibits dedicated to marine life along with special shows. Some of these include Dolphin Days where you can watch dolphins show off their skills during a one-hour presentation; Sea Otter Live that allows you to see sea otters feed and play outside in their habitat; and Wild Reef which showcases animals living in tropical reefs. The Shedd also hosts overnight sleepovers for kids grades K-8th grade called Camp Ocean (with shark tagging!).
Chicago is a great place to visit and you’ll have no shortage of things to do. Several professional sports teams play nearby, so it’s a good idea to come here if you’re a fan! Just remember to bring a coat!