My visit to Chicago was all strategized before I left. But I was surprised and quite frankly, awed to see how much more this commercial hub had to offer for travelers. There’s History, Culture, Sports, Nightlife, Beach fun, Shopping Extravaganza- it’s an endless list!
But with so much to explore comes all the more confusion. With this ‘City of Big Shoulders’ having these many options to explore, you end up thinking what to see and what to overlook. So with my experience of Chicago, I have compiled a whole list of things that are an absolute must-try.
From what places to see to where to eat and where to party, it’s all in here.
Take a stroll around the Millennium Park
There’s Pritzker Pavilion and Serpentine Bridge, not to mention the epic Cloud Gate and the spewing Crown Fountain- all in one place. Take a walk around the beautifully flowered Lurie Garden. You will get acquainted with the local vibe of the city here at Millennium Park.
Grant Park and Buckingham Fountain
What’s a vacation if you do not visit a city’s front yard. Circumscribing significant touristy spots as the Field Museum, the Shedd Aquarium and Art Institute is this 320 acre of green land. A perfect spot to feel the Chicagoan vibe.
Explore at the ceaseless masterpieces at the Art Institute
This encyclopedic organization can take months to be fully explored! With over 300,000 artifacts collected from across the globe, dating from ancient times to present, you will lose the track of time at the Art Institute of Chicago . I was awed by the Thorne Miniature Rooms and the fragments of local buildings made by Frank Lloyd Wright. The Modern Wing is the perfect place to enjoy this Institute’s design and architecture.
Explore the heart of Chicago at the Navy Pier
An absolute hotspot for tourists and families, you can shop, eat, explore the IMAX cinema and go on a sightseeing Boat ride at Navy Pier, the coastline of Lake Michigan. The place is like one of those old school children’s park with a gigantic Ferris wheel, a swing ride and a mini Golf course. There are parks and gardens sprawled across of acres of land, exhibition facilities besides family attractions- all in all a perfect leisure destination!
Go back in time at the Field Museum
Check out the glowering Dinosaurs, the historic artifacts of the Royal Egyptian Tomb and the Cyrus Tang Hall of China here at the Field Museum. The place hosts 30 permanent exhibitions sprawled across 300,00 square feet of land.
Don’t miss that romantic walk near the Chicago Riverwalk
The River Walk of Chicago is a pedestrian waterfront situated on the southern bank in downtown Chicago. The place is perfect for some gorgeous vistas of Chicagoan architecture. There are a bunch of public walkways and seating areas. You can take a ride around the city in a Boat ride or Water Taxi or may be grab a bite at one of the river walk restaurants and cafes.
Plan a picnic at The Humboldt Park
Take your kids for some evening fun at this vast garden that was once the greatest public park of the nation. There are prairie-styled garden with extensive rose beds, an inland beach, sports fields and bike paths all in one place.
There’s another Museum of Contemporary Art
Chicago is all for museums. This one especially hosts some major touring exhibitions, performing artists and film screenings. Grab a bite at their in-house restro or take a walk in the beautiful Sculpture Garden here at MCA . Buy yourself a souvenir while exiting through the Gift Shop; they have an amazing collection here.
Grab a game at the Wrigley Field
To get a real taste of this city’s culture, catching a game of ‘Da Cubs’ is absolutely mandatory. If you aren’t lucky enough to get a ticket for the game, take a guided tour of the Ballpark.
Get a bird’s eye view of the city from 360 Chicago
Airplanes whiz by so close when you are on that high a building. You can dine, pick an interactive tour or check your guts while stepping out in the Tilt Attraction, an enclosed platform that extends out of the building at a 30 Degree angle.
Get close to nature at The Lincoln Park Museum
This beautifully landscaped museum of natural history interests travelers of all ages. There’s a zoo inside to engage the little ones, along with spectacular river ecosystems and plentiful wildlife.
Laugh your ribs out at the Second City
The birthplace of legendary Improv comedians and theater stars offers you top-notch shows to enjoy. The true stage lovers come to Chicago for this single place only. If you are ready to laugh your ribs out, hear the Second City’
Ride through the city with The 606
This elevated rail track that snakes through Logan Square, Humboldt Park, Wicker Park and Bucktown is a pronto way to go east to west, on the North side of Chicago.
Explore Science at Adler Planetarium
Aspiring astronauts and astrophysicists need not be told about this Scientific Museum. Take your kidos to a virtual trip through time and space on the Sky Theater. The latest addition called ‘Mission Moon’ introduces visitors to the early days of the space journey.
Gawk at the marvel of Willis Tower Skydeck
Perched on the 103rd floor (that’s 9 floors higher than 360 Chicago), the Skydeck offers mesmerizing as well as thrilling vistas of the city. On a bright sunny day, the vision can expand to as far as the Chicago borders. Make sure you experience a moment on the Ledge, the glass platform protruding out from the building.
Check out the amazing aquatic life at the Shedd Aquarium
This most popular cultural attraction of Chicago is easily tractable on the map. It’s one of the largest indoor museums housing 32,000 creatures including gigantic sharks and Beluga Whales!
Music Box Theatre is a must for all the art-film lovers
If you are not so much for the stereotypical Hollywood blockbusters, you need to check this out! This two screen cinema showcases the latest art-houses documentaries and films. Plus, there are weekly midnights screenings for cult classics.
Time for some booze at The J. Parker
The idea of a rooftop bar may be cliché but never boring. Fancy cocktails, seasonal small plates and breathtaking views of the Lincoln Park- it gives you a perfect evening. Make sure you head to this bar before time; the long queues can really wear you off.
Visit The Garfield Park Conservatory
I was amazed to know that one of the largest landscape arts under glass was built more than a century ago. With such a spectacular architecture, this Conservatory hosts a prairie waterfall inside of it. Try visiting the place when one of the 4 Flowers shows are going on.
Attend a concert at The Thalia Hall
The latest jewel to Chicago’s singing scene is this antique concert hall. There is a balcony wrapped around the rooms with an opera box perched above the stage; the seat obviously comes with a price.
Go for a Free Concert at the Chicago Cultural Center
Check out the free classical concerts here at the Cultural Center which was once a Public Library. The Preston Bradley Hall near the Washington Street is more about the classics, while the Claudia Cassidy Theater is all about experimental concerts; all for free!
Go Jazzy at The Green Mill Cocktail Lounge
Earlier a gangsters’ honky-tonk, but now no more. If you are a jazz aficionado, this is just the place to be.
Know the history of the city at The Chicago History Museum
Showcasing the world’s largest costume collections is this history museum, hosting umpteen temporary and permanent exhibits. There’s Giant Chicago Hot dog to swarm the kids around, among other treasure troves of history.
Make use of the Pedal Power
If you are up for some sweating and lot of eating, then go for a Bike, Bite and Brew tour. Rent a bike and cruise around the windy city through the heart of Chicago. Unravel the most amazing street foods and international cuisines.
Splurge around at the Magnificent Mile
This side of Michigan Avenue that stretches between the Chicago River and Lakeshore Drive entices the shopaholics and luxury livers alike. There are impeccable brand stores and top-notch hospices all in one place!
Plan your meals with all these Eateries
What’s a vacation without some mouthwatering memories! Edible art in Chicago is beyond comparison. Places like Alinea, Girl and the Goat, Joe’s Seafood, Gibsons Bar and Steakhouse, Purple Pig..oh it’s an endless list!
Enough said! I am sure that’s pretty much all about Chicago. If you find something better and different than these experiences, we’d love to know!