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Chicago Must See And Do

Stand Above Chicago At The Willis Tower Skydeck


Take the lightning-quick elevator up to the 103rd floor of the former Sears Tower for views that arguably overshadow those even of the John Hancock Center.

While you wont be able to see the Willis Tower , the scenes are truly remarkable.

Acrophobics, look away now the Skydecks Ledge features four glass cube enclosures that jut out into the thin air. They make for amazing photo opportunities and get the adrenaline pumping.

Visit The Birthplace Of Ernest Hemingway


Just west of Downtown Chicago is the leafy, and fairly fancy, suburb of Oak Park. Its here that on 21st July, 1899 on the second floor of a Queen Anne-style home that Ernest Hemingway was born. Without doubt one of the most iconic American writers, Hemingway spent the first 6 years of his life here.

One of the more unique things to do in Chicago but a must if youre a Hemingway fan you can join a tour of his beautifully restored birthplace once every hour. It takes about 45 minutes and includes various facts about the early life of the young, future Pulitzer and Nobel Prize-winning Hemingway.

Learn About Chicago Architecture

One of the top things Chicago is known for is the diverse and impressive architecture youll find around the city.

Learn about the different styles and time periods on a guided Architecture Tour of Chicago.

Just as there are many diverse bridges, buildings, and structures, there are diverse ways of seeing it all and learning about the architects.

Architecture tours come in multiple forms like river tours, which give an interesting perspective, as well as free walking tours.

The biggest architecture enthusiasts will enjoy the Chicago Architecture Foundations over 3-hour bus tour.

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Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

This child-friendly museum in Lincoln Park presents the natural history of the Chicago region in smart and interactive ways.

During the Critter Connection every day at 11:30 kids can get an up close look at more than a dozen different amphibian species at the Animal House.

Theres also a bird walk, leading to a platform over Lincoln Parks North Pond, as well as hands-on stations where kids can learn about rivers, solve nature-inspired puzzles and explore a beaver lodge.

Make A Mental Health Pilgrimage To The Shit Fountain

10 Things you must see &  do in Chicago, Illinois

If youre in the Ukrainian Village area and looking to do the whole public art thing, you may not find as dense of a concentration of murals as Pilsen or as many fine art sculptures as downtown. But you have one thing those other places cant touch: the one and only Shit Fountain. The human feces-shaped sculpture is located on a residential front lawn just off Augusta and Wolcott, created by a Chicagoan fed up with dog poop. After you get your fill, amble over to some of the citys best dive bars, conveniently located a mere stone’s throw away.

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Watch The Water Show At Buckingham Fountain

Built in 1927 as a donation from the family, the Clarence Buckingham Memorial Fountain is one of the largest in the world. Designed in the period’s iconic Art Deco style, the central fountain is surrounded by four seahorses that represent Lake Michigan’s four bordering states. From 8am to 11pm, the fountain bursts to life hourly, shooting 15,000 gallons of water through nearly 200 nozzles each minute to create an impressive display.

After dusk, the water show is accompanied by lights, a must-see if you are in the neighborhood in the evening. The fountain is the central focal point of Grant Park, Chicago’s expansive public space that contains many attractions and smaller parks like Millennium Park, comparable to Central Park, one of the top attractions in New York City.

One of the park’s main tourist sites is Museum Campus, home to The Field Museum of Natural History, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Adler Planetarium, and Shedd Aquarium. Grant Park is also home to several gardens and recreational facilities, and hosts events, including music and food festivals.

Learn About The Citys Past At The Chicago History Museum

On the southernmost point of the sprawling Lincoln Park, the Chicago History Museum showcases millions of artifacts dedicated to the stories of the citys past.

Its eye-opening exhibitions dive into Chicagos multiculturalism, its history with democracy and womens activism, the Civil Rights movement, and so much more.

Visit on a Tuesday to score free entry!

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Walk Through Millennium Park

Millennium Park is part of the largerGrant Park, located in downtown Chicago bordered by Michigan Avenue to the west, Columbus Drive to the east, Randolph Street to the north, and Monroe Street to the south. Its centerpiece is a 110-ton sculpture name Cloud Gate, which has a polished, mirror-like stainless steel surface that was inspired by liquid mercury. It reflects the surroundings, including buildings, the sky, and the tourists who walk through its central arch.

Another top attraction in Millennium Park is Crown Fountain, a fascinating modern interpretation of the ancient gargoyle that gives the appearance of water flowing from the mouths of projected images of Chicago citizens. Other popular things to do here include seeing a performance at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, an outdoor concert venue, and visiting Lurie Garden, which is open to the public at no cost year-round.

Located close to many of the major attractions, as well as great shopping, this area of the city is a convenient place to base yourself. For accommodation suggestions see our list of recommended hotels in this area.

Address: 201 East Randolph Street, Chicago, Illinois

Frequently Asked Questions About Places To Visit In Chicago

20 Must See Works at The Art Institute of Chicago

Is Chicago a good city to visit?

Yes, Chicago is among the most amazing places to visit in the world. The city is home to two major airports and welcomes flight from almost all the major cities of the USA.

Where can I go for free in Chicago?

There are numerous interesting free places to explore in Chicago. Check out the following free places in Chicago: 1. Millennium Park

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Meander Through Millennium Park

Millennium Park is worthy of a visit year-round, whether its for free weekly concerts and films every summer at the Frank Gehry-designed Pritzker Pavilion, or ice skating in the winter. Snap an obligatory selfie in front of Anish Kapoors Cloud Gate stainless steel mirrored art sculpture, nicknamed the Bean before wandering through the blooms in Lurie Garden. This is a great spot for a picnic, and kids will love splashing around in Crown Fountain, a reflecting pool bookended by two interactive video sculptures. Two new public art structures have debuted that will be on display until April 2022.

Stretch Your Legs In The Great Outdoors

The Chicago Lakefront Trail is always a popular choice, but its not the only place to greedily ingest some fresh fall air. Did you know the entire Chicago metro area is surrounded by a 210-mile nature trail complete with campsites and lakes? How about a 2.7-mile urban hiking trail along a former railway corridor? How about one of Americas newest national parks just across the Indiana border? Also be sure to stop by Morton Arboretum to peep its jaw-dropping assemblage of vibrant fall foliage. Need more outdoor ideas? Right this way.

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Stroll Across Navy Pier

Stretching out onto Lake Michigan, with its iconic Ferris wheel, is Chicagos Navy Pier. Here, youll be able to enjoy plenty of little boutique shops, yummy restaurants, gardens, seasonal exhibitions, and age-old attractions as you make your way along the whole pier.

Just over 100 years old, its one of the best things to do in Chicago if you want some time to chill. Plus, over the summer months, the Navy Pier has some epic fireworks to watch and are totally amazing. Check out their schedule for their fireworks nights, here.

Also, for a yummy and totally iconic place to eat, reserve a table at 3 Arts Club Cafe. Its stunning and the food is so delicious.

Detroit: The Rise Fall & Renewal Walking Tour

Things to do in Chicago: Must See Attractions During Your ...

Fly to Detroit, where you can explore the very different American city with a walking tour before setting out on your own. On the tour, youll explore the social and economic upheavals of Detroit through its architectural landmarks, learning all about the city and its complex history!

The tour is a great introduction to the city. Youll see some of the worlds tallest vacant buildings, and most beautiful modern landmarks. Chat with fellow tourists and a knowledgeable local.

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Tour The Frederick C Robie House

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the prairie-style Frederick C. Robie House designed by none other than Frank Lloyd Wright is considered a pivotal stepping stone in the advancement of American architecture.

Tours run Thursday through Monday and include a stroll through the house and the gardens, led by an expert guide.

Explore Pilsen Chicagos Hispanic Neighborhood

Pilsen is known for its colorful street art, and this dynamic neighborhood is worth touring whether you do it independently or with the assistance of the Chicago Greeter program. Check out Pilsen Yards, a bar-centric and music-driven hangout in the heart of Pilsen. Executive chef Armando Gonzalezs affordable menu of inspired Latin street food, from tacos to ceviches, hummus to carne asada is accompanied by a great selection of mezcal, tequila, and whiskey. For a family-operated and locally-owned restaurant in Pilsen, visit El Berrinches. Their New Mexican cuisine and drinks are inspired by Mexico City and Pueblas gastronomy, with extensive vegan and vegetarian options.

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Uncover The Mexican Culture Of Chicago

Tim Marklew

Just a 15 minute train ride from central Chicago is Pilsen. With its murals popping with colour, Spanish signs and plentiful Mexican cuisine on offer, it honestly feels more like youre in Mexico than in the city limits of Chicago. Youll even find the National Museum of Mexican Art here.

So if youre looking for off the beaten track things to do in Chicago, then we would highly recommend a trip to Pilsen. Forbes recently named it as one of the coolest Mexican neighbourhoods in the world. Seriously though, it really is cool here.

Days In Chicago What To Do

Millennium Park Must-See Attractions for Chicago First-Timers

Due to its large size and the big variety of things to do, it is extremely important to have a well-thought-out touring plan when visiting Chicago. Even more so if you only have two days in Chicago and want to see all the best places in a short time!

Our tips below should help you get a better idea of what you can see and do in Chicago in just a few days and how to best plan your time. Find out!

The location of your accommodations is of utmost importance, in order to be able to conveniently walk to and from each attraction. Therefore, we also included some of the best suggestions on where to stay in Chicago. You can jump straight to our hotel recommendations or scroll to the bottom of this article, where youll also find the suggested 2-day Chicago itinerary and practical tips for your trip to Chicago.

TIP: If you are wondering, this is one of our favorite hotels in Chicago The Palmer House.

But first the best things to do in Chicago. Take a look!

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Take The Kids To Navy Pier

With its many family-friendly attractions and even amusement rides like a Ferris wheel and carousel, this is probably one of the most perfect locations in Chicago for children and their families.

In addition to all the traditional waterfront activities, there is also an IMAX Theatre, Funhouse Maze, the Chicago Childrens Museum, and more fun things to see and do at Navy Pier.

Feel The Vibe At The Millennium Park Summer Music Series

Every year come rain, hail or shine the city of Chicago puts on an exciting lineup of outdoor concerts at the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park from June through August.

Past performers have spannel the entire genre spectrum, from jazz and orchestral music to dance vibes, indie rock, and country. Best of all, its totally free.

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Pay A Visit To The Actually Beautiful International Museum Of Surgical Science

A trip International Museum of Surgical Science may be of the more unusual things to do in Chicago, but its actually a pretty fascinating place. Its filled with strange things like preserved heart valves in jars and graphic depictions of surgery from back in the day well, actually 600 historic paintings so if youre squeamish look away.

Luckily for the less strong of stomach, the museum is set in a lakefront, early 20th-century mansion. Its stunning. Think wood panelling and leather chairs, marble floors and gilded staircases. Its worth a visit for the building alone. At the end you can even pick up kooky souvenirs from the gift shop. Plushie microbe, anyone?

Watch The Chicago Bulls Play At The United Center

Chicago: Must See Places &  Things To Do

With the legacy of Michael Jordan etched into NBA and sporting folklore, the Chicago locals absolutely adore their Bulls.

The teams regular home games are played at the United Center and run from October to April presenting a fantastic opportunity to escape the wind and the cold.

In terms of getting there, the Blue Line which stretches through Downtown drops you off within walking distance.

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Greet The Animals At The Lincoln Park Zoo

Since its opening in 1868, Lincoln Park Zoo has developed a reputation for excitement and prestige.

One of the most established zoos in the country , the 35-acre complex houses animals of all shapes, sizes, colors, and origins amphibians, birds, mammals, reptiles, and more.

Its a fantastic excursion for the whole family just remember to wear comfortable shoes.

Books To Read In Chicago

The Backpacker Bible Learn how to ditch your desk and travel the world on just $10 a day whilst building an online income.

Sometimes a Great Notion A tale of a hardheaded Oregonian logging family that goes on strike, leading the town to drama and tragedy. Written by PNW legend, Ken Kesey.

Walden The transcendental masterpiece by Henry David Thoreau that helped modern Americans rediscover nature and her beauty.

To Have and To Have Not A family man gets involved with the drug smuggling business in the Key West and ends up in a strange affair. Written by the great Ernest Hemingway.

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