When it comes to stunning architecture and world-class museums, it’s safe to say that you can find all these in a city as fantastic as Chicago. Chicago is centrally located in the United States and it boasts many impressive spots whether you’re looking to wine and dine, check out art, or learn more about history. This city is a great place to visit any time of the year, that’s for sure. Check out the 10 best things to do in Chicago:
10. 360 Chicago Observation Deck
The best way to appreciate this beautiful city is by drinking in the panoramic views from the 94th floor of the John Hancock Building. Located 1,000 feet above the famed Magnificent Mile, the 360 Chicago Observation Deck brings out the beauty of Chicago’s skyline and Lake Michigan in full display. If you are feeling bold, you can even try the city’s highest thrill ride, 360 Chicago Tilt. This ride lets you enjoy unique, downward facing views from 1,030 feet up. We can pretty much say there is nothing like it in the world! What else can you do here? Ah, drink like a Chicagoan, and take in a view like no other. Chicago’s highest bar serves your favorite selection of beers and other custom cocktails. For the best day ever, you must include the 360 Chicago Observation Deck in your itinerary!
9. Chicago Crime Tour
Once you’re done seeing the city from up high, you might want to join the famous Chicago Crime Tour. It is just about a 3-minute walk from 360 Chicago. Escape into the dark and underworld scene and learn about the world’s most famous criminals, mobsters, and gangsters who bamboozled their way through Chicago. You will see the much talked about crime scenes from the 19th century through modern times, including where Chicago gangsters Hymie Weiss and John Dillinger stood just before their deaths. Before you know it, you are already on the site of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, Chicago’s most notorious murders.
8. The Magnificent Mile
You must be wondering, “Why do I keep hearing about this famous mile?” Well, that’s because this part of Chicago is truly magnificent. The Magnificent Mile, or simply the “Mag Mile” is the best shopping district you could ever ask for!
The place is always so alive with people hanging out, jogging, shopping and generally having a good time. The Mag Mile has over 450 retailers, including flagship shops, major department stores, and international designers and boutiques. You can also find a place to see the latest in technology or a spot to scour timeless jewelry. And if you need to stock up on some home goods and travel necessities, don’t worry! This place has everything.
What else can we say? It’s hard not to “drop” while shopping at the Mag Mile. We’re sure you are also going to love the impressive store facades that add a contemporary flair to the avenue’s classic architecture.
7. Cloud Gate
Almost all tourists have the Cloud Gate in their best things to do in Chicago lists, and for good reason. Aptly nicknamed “The Bean,” the Cloud Gate is a beautiful mirrored sculpture where everyone can build their own image of Chicago. This structure is made up of 168 stainless steel plates welded together and placed on the ground. It achieves the ambition of playing with the light and mixing all the reflections of Chicago and its environment. Depending on where you stand, this giant mirror will let you mix the images as you wish: the city, sky, space above the lake, or even the skyscrapers. If you must know, every image is just so magical whether it’s day or night. Before you go, make sure you snap some photos with your friends!
6. Chicago Riverwalk
Sometimes, a simple stroll along a picturesque river is everything you need to end a perfect day. The Chicago Riverwalk has a little something for everyone, whether you want to eat, play, drink, fish, or just enjoy the beautiful blend of nature and city. The calm river waters are uniquely Chicago. And if you need a little more fun, you can always check out the outdoor gallery. Public art is always on show throughout the pedestrian trail. It’s just uniquely Chicago.
5. Lincoln Park Zoo
A trip to one of the oldest zoos in North America just so happens to be one of the best things to do in Chicago. The Lincoln Park Zoo is a place dedicated to all things wildlife, including all sorts of interesting animals. In a city where skyscrapers are built every day, don’t you think this zoo is quite refreshing? Here, you can rediscover what it’s like to escape to nature and embrace your love for animals. This zoo is part of Chicago’s Park District, so the admission is free. This is definitely a must-see!
4. Field Museum
You can find all the world’s wonders at the Field Museum! This state-of-the-art and nearly half a million square feet destination is the home of many precious gems and historical pieces. It doesn’t matter whether you are young or old, your experience here will definitely be unforgettable. Be in awe of the diverse and wonderful exhibits and ignite your curiosity while looking at the artifact collections. Plus, it’s not everyday you get to see the world’s largest T-Rex, Sue.
3. Navy Pier
Waterfront attractions will never be boring! That is why you need to do a little detour and check out Navy Pier, the 3,300-foot-long pier on the shoreline of Lake Michigan. The iconic destination promises a ton of fun with its events, dining spots, carnival rides, shopping experiences and more. The place is generally perfect if you want to chill out and soak in the sun on a clear day or enjoy a good cool breeze from the lake.
2. Buckingham Fountain
Even from afar, you will surely be amazed by the stunning sculptural fountain in Grant Park, which when on display, shoots water to a height of 150 feet into the air! Buckingham Fountain is a Chicago landmark, and also one of the world’s largest fountains. It was dedicated on August 26, 1927, and has been the centerpiece of Grant Park – Chicago’s “Front Yard” ever since. Before you go, be sure to catch the 3-level rococo fountain’s impressive light and water show that is sure to put you in a trance.
1. Art Institute of Chicago
The Art Institute of Chicago is equal parts museum and academic institution. It boasts and houses over 300,000 works of art from all over the world, spanning many centuries. You will only understand why a lot of people keep saying wonderful things about this place once you see for yourself the sheer caliber of artworks here. We are not biased, but we are pretty positive that this is one of the best museums in the world.
Chicago certainly doesn’t lack in character – there is a shopping district, a beautiful landmark, a world-class-museum, and even a sky-high bar. If you are coming to visit, you better take in a little bit of everything to get the best experience.
What is your favorite destination from our best things to do in Chicago list?
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