Chicago, commonly known as the Windy City, is one of the most recognizable cities in the United States. The city is well known for its fascinating architecture, varied cultural offerings, and mouthwatering cuisine. With many things to do in Chicago, it can be a daunting task to narrow down your list.
To help you with your itinerary, I’ve compiled a list of the top 10 must-visit places in Chicago to make your trip memorable. If you plan on visiting most of the places, it’s best to get a City Pass if you want to save money.
1. Navy Pier
Navy Pier is among Chicago’s most popular tourist destinations. It’s a Lake Michigan pier that’s 3,300 feet long. It has an abundance of entertainment, dining, and shopping options. One of the fun things to do in Chicago is to enjoy a ride on the Ferris wheel or explore the Chicago Children’s Museum.
Navy Pier also has a plethora of restaurants and bars to choose from. Take the chance to visit the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, which showcases world-class performances of Shakespeare’s plays and other classic works. It also offers backstage tours and educational programs for all ages.
2. Field Museum
The Field Museum is a natural history institution situated on the Museum Campus in Chicago. It is a world-renowned museum that houses over 40 million specimens and artifacts. Exploring this museum is one of the fun things to do in Chicago.
You can explore exhibits such as Jurassic World: The Exhibition, The Ancient Americas, and Inside Ancient Egypt. The museum also has a 3D theatre and a gift shop. The Field Museum hosts a variety of lectures, workshops, and events throughout the year, including talks by scientists and authors, family-friendly activities, and more.
3. Millennium Park
Millennium Park is a public place situated in the heart of Chicago. Well-known for its iconic bean-shaped sculpture, officially called the Cloud Gate, the park has become a city symbol. Millennium Park also has a 2.5-acre garden, an outdoor concert venue, and the Crown Fountain. Millennium Park is a great place to relax and enjoy the city lights.
Enjoy a concert or performance at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion – the outdoor music venue hosting various summer events. Take a stroll through the Lurie Garden – this beautifully landscaped garden features abundant native plants and is a great place to relax and probably one of the best things to do in Chicago.
4. Skydeck Chicago
On the 103rd floor of the Willis Tower sits the Skydeck Chicago. It is an observation deck with breathtaking city views. A 4.3-foot-long glass ledge is another feature of the Skydeck. Your heart will race since it is such an extraordinary experience. Make sure to bring your camera to capture the breathtaking views. Snap a photo with the Willis Tower itself as the backdrop. You can take an image from the top or take a picture from a nearby street.
The Chicago Riverwalk is a pedestrian walkway along the Chicago River. It is a great place to take a stroll, grab a bite to eat, or enjoy a drink. The Riverwalk also offers boat tours that will take you through the city and give you a different skyline perspective. The Riverwalk is a must-visit attraction when in Chicago. Get out on the water and rent a kayak or paddle boat to explore the river independently.
6. Garfield Park Conservatory
The Garfield Park Conservatory is a botanical garden in the west of Chicago. It is one of the largest conservatories in the United States and is home to over 2,000 plants worldwide. You can explore the various rooms, such as the Aroid House, Desert House, and Palm House.
The Garfield Park Conservatory is a peaceful oasis in the middle of the city. The conservatory hosts various events throughout the year, including art exhibitions, plant sales, and music performances. You can also join a knowledgeable guide for a tour of the conservatory, where you can learn more about this beautiful space’s history and plant life.
7. Grant Park and Buckingham Fountain
Grant Park is a large urban park located in downtown Chicago. It is home to several iconic landmarks, including Buckingham Fountain. The fountain is one of the largest in the world and is a popular spot for tourists and locals alike. Grant Park also has several gardens, sculptures, and a lakefront trail. It is one of the things to do in Chicago that people do.
8. Chicago Botanic Garden
The Chicago Botanic Garden is a vast field garden in Glencoe, a suburb of Chicago. It is home to 27 display gardens and four natural areas. The Chicago Botanic Garden offers various events and classes throughout the year, such as cooking and photography workshops.
The garden is a great place to escape the city and enjoy the beauty of divine nature. Take the chance to take a bike ride on the garden’s 9.5-mile trail system, which winds through the surrounding forest preserve and provides beautiful views of the garden.
9. Art Institute of Chicago
In the heart of Chicago, there is a renowned art gallery called The Art Institute of Chicago. More than 300,000 works of art, including paintings by Claude Monet, Vincent van Gogh, and Pablo Picasso, are housed there. The museum also has an international collection of armor and weapons.
One of the world’s largest collections of Impressionist paintings, including pieces by Monet, Degas, and Renoir, is housed in the Art Institute of Chicago. Remember to explore this place. It is one of the fantastic things to do in Chicago.
10. Wrigley Field
The Chicago Cubs’ storied home field, Wrigley Field, is a terrific site to enjoy the national sport. Watching a Cubs game is the most obvious thing to do at Wrigley Field. Enjoy the ambiance of the stadium while experiencing the thrill of the game and supporting your favorite team.
Even if you can’t attend a game, you may still see Wrigley Field by taking a tour of the backstage areas. You’ll have the opportunity to visit the clubhouse, press box, and dugout while learning about the development and design of the stadium.
The Windy City is Calling
Chicago is a vibrant city with countless opportunities to explore and have fun. From world-class museums to iconic architecture, delicious food, and exciting sports, there is something for everyone in the Windy City. By following our guide on fun things to do in Chicago, you can ensure that your trip will be one to remember.