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Things to do in Chicago

Things to do in  Chicago

Welcome to Chicago

Located along the shores of Lake Michigan, Chicago—the largest city in Illinois and the third largest in the United States—offers a wealth of art, music, historical, and architectural experiences. Culture lovers can stroll through Millennium Park and the Loop to view outdoor art (including the iconic “Bean”), tour world-class museums such as the Art Institute of Chicago, or cruise the Chicago River to see modern landmark gems. To meet the locals, buy a ticket for a ball game; catch some live blues or jazz (both of which have deep roots in Chicago) at a club; or laugh at the comedy acts at Second City, where many top comedians launched their careers.

Top 10 attractions in Chicago

#1
Skydeck Chicago at Willis Tower (Sears Tower)

Skydeck Chicago at Willis Tower (Sears Tower)

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Once the world’s tallest building, Willis Tower is still way up in the clouds. Though it functions as an office building, the skyscraper’s 103rd-floor Skydeck Chicago draws 1.7 million annual visitors for a trip out onto The Ledge, an enclosed glass balcony extending 4 feet (1.2 meters) out over the city, as well as panoramic views that—on clear days—extend as far as Indiana, Michigan, Iowa, and Wisconsin.More
#2
Chicago River

Chicago River

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Winding its way through the heart of the Windy City, the Chicago River flows past some of the city’s most notable architecture, including the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower), Wrigley Building, and Navy Pier. The river also offers opportunities for exploration, such as river cruises, kayaking, and canoeing, along a revamped riverfront.More
#3
Navy Pier

Navy Pier

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Navy Pier is one of Chicago’s most popular tourist destinations—and with good reason. The 3,300-foot (1,010-meter) pier jutting into the waters of Lake Michigan, originally constructed in 1916 as a freight dock and public space, encompasses almost 50 acres (20 hectares) of exhibits, rides, parks, and family attractions.More
#4
Millennium Park

Millennium Park

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Located just a block away from Lake Michigan in the heart of downtown Chicago, Millennium Park showcases world-class art, music, architecture, and landscape design. Completed in 2004, the 24.5-acre (10-hectare) park is one of Chicago’s most popular destinations, drawing 25 million visitors per year.More
#5
Chicago Riverwalk

Chicago Riverwalk

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Connecting Lake Michigan to downtown, the Chicago Riverwalk is an open-air pedestrian-friendly walkway that runs along the Chicago River. Composed of six main sections, the Riverwalk is a main hub for entertainment. Head to the Marina Plaza section for restaurants, outdoor seating, and boat access. Take a stroll through a series of piers and floating wetland gardens at the Riverbank, or head to the Water Plaza where the kids can splash in water fountains.More
#6
Grant Park

Grant Park

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Known as “Chicago’s Front Yard,” Grant Park stretches over 300 acres (121 hectares), and is the city’s primary downtown park. Located in the Loop, Grant Park is sandwiched between Lake Michigan and soaring skyscrapers. Its cultural highlights include the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum Campus, and Millennium Park.More
#7
360 Chicago Observation Deck (Formerly John Hancock Observatory)

360 Chicago Observation Deck (Formerly John Hancock Observatory)

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Formerly known as the John Hancock Observatory, 360 Chicago offers an interactive experience of the Windy City’s history and culture on the way up to its 94th-floor observation deck. From here, sweeping views of the Chicago skyline and Lake Michigan are enhanced by Tilt—moving glass lookouts that that literally tilt you out 1,000 feet (305 meters) above the Magnificent Mile.More
#8
Wrigley Building

Wrigley Building

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The 1920s were an important time for Chicago architecture, and when the Wrigley Building opened in 1925, it set the pace for the city’s development. When owner William Wrigley Jr. (of the Wrigley gum company) scouted locations for the building that would become his company’s headquarters, he chose a unique triangle shape of land that eventually became the bustling Magnificent Mile.More
#9
Shedd Aquarium

Shedd Aquarium

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Once the world’s largest indoor aquariums, Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium is home to more than 1,500 species of fish, marine mammals, birds, snakes, and amphibians. The aquarium sits on the shores of Lake Michigan and is part of Chicago’s famous Museum Campus, which includes the Field Museum and Adler Planetarium.More
#10
Chicago Cultural Center

Chicago Cultural Center

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Opened in 1897 as Chicago’s first public library, the Chicago Cultural Center is the city’s hub for arts and cultural events as well as one of the city’s most beloved architectural monuments. The center is among Chicago’s most popular tourist attractions and features more than 1,000 free concerts, films, art exhibits, and other cultural events each year.More

Trip ideas

Don’t-Miss Dishes in Chicago

Don’t-Miss Dishes in Chicago

Recent reviews from experiences in Chicago

star-5
Beautiful Tour
Nolan_S, Dec 2021
Chicago Architecture River Cruise
My girlfriend had never been to Chicago and got to see an up close view of the magnificent skyline on the river!
star-5
Great way to spend an hour
Monet_S, Dec 2021
45-Minute Chicago River Architecture Tour from Magnificent Mile
Great way to see the buildings from a different perspective.
star-5
Chicago at night
Gustavo_O, Dec 2021
Chicago Architecture River Cruise
It's a whole different experience to see Chicago at night.
star-4
Three sisters’ adventures
RoseMarie_G, Dec 2021
90-Minute Chicago River Architecture Tour
Love to see the history and the guide was informative and friendly.
star-5
Great way to spend a day!
Susan_D, Nov 2021
Chicago in a Day: Food, History and Architecture Combo Tour
It was well worth it to see so many interesting places and learn so much about the beautiful city of Chicago in just a few hours.
star-5
Rich in entertainment!
Deborah_D, Nov 2021
Chicago in a Day: Food, History and Architecture Combo Tour
I'm glad I was not part of a big tour group or else I probably wouldn't have gotten to see all the awesome sights that you took us to.
star-5
Perfect trip
Dragan_L, Nov 2021
90-Minute Chicago River Architecture Tour
My wife’s birthday wish was to come in Chicago to see Magnificent mile and to make a boat trip to see Chicago’s architecture
star-5
Unique and cool experience
Stephanie_E, Nov 2021
Chicago Craft Brewery Barrel Bus Tour
Fun way to travel through Chicago and neat places to visit I would not have known about.
star-5
Recommended at the beginning of your visit to Chicago
kdks496brg, Nov 2021
Gangsters and Ghosts Tour in Chicago
This was a perfect way to start our first day in the city- it allowed us to see the sights at night while learning about Chicago’s history
star-5
Walking Food Tour
Kelly_M, Oct 2021
Chicago Favorites Ultimate Food & Walking Tour
Great time to visit Chicago early fall.
star-4
Perfect day trip
Nicolas_M, Oct 2021
Chicago Favorites Ultimate Food & Walking Tour
We were only in Chicago for the day but it was a productive way to see the core of the city.
star-5
Must do in Chicago!
Wendy_M, Nov 2021
Chicago Architecture River Cruise
We got to see the city from a different perspective & learned so much about Chicago.
star-5
The way to go!
Darnell_S, Oct 2021
Big Bus Chicago Hop-On Hop-Off Tour
This was a fantastic way to see Chicago and learn about the sites!
star-5
Worth every penny!!
Abigail_L, Nov 2021
90-Minute Chicago River Architecture Tour
Amazing way to see Chicago from the water!
star-5
Great walking tour
Deborah_S, Oct 2021
Gangsters and Ghosts Tour in Chicago
Great walking tour to see the city at night
star-5
A tour not to miss
Jim_C, Oct 2021
Full-Day Small-Group Tour of Chicago Neighborhoods with Lunch and Dinner
It was very informative all our guide was wonderful he went out of his way to make sure we had a great time and a good trip couldn’t ask for a better person saw every part of Chicago you could’ve wanted to see had a wonderful time
star-5
Chicago Architectural Cruise
Courtney_S, Nov 2021
Chicago Architecture River Cruise
Just plan to dress warm during the Fall/Winter months
star-5
Amazing experience!!!
kelly_n, Nov 2021
90-Minute Chicago River Architecture Tour
We also experienced Chicago’s first snow fall on the boat.
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Our guide was able to...
James_M, Sep 2021
Chicago Lake and River Architecture Tour
It a great way to see Chicago and get to know the city.
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Great snd very informative
Dara_S, Nov 2021
Chicago Architecture River Cruise
It was a very relaxing way to see Downtown and get some history behind it.

All about Chicago

When to visit

After being cooped up all winter, Chicago is ready to party when the sun comes out (sometime during May). Summer highlights include the annual Taste of Chicago, Chicago Blues Festival, Andersonville’s Midsommarfest, and the Chicago Air and Water Show. Alternatively, fall brings fewer crowds and brisker weather, perfect for exploring neighborhoods on foot and watching the trees turn colors along the quaint neighborhood streets.

Getting around

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) is your best friend when traveling around Chicago. You’ll see many references to “the Loop,” the circle elevated train tracks that define the city’s downtown area. From there, train lines (both underground and elevated) shoot out to the airport and the nearby suburbs. The CTA also has a robust network of bus lines that make all corners of the city easily accessible. The Loop itself is very walkable, and if you’re there in the dead of winter and your toes are frozen, hailing a cab is a cinch.

Traveler tips

The best place for a chargrilled Chicago hot dog after bar closing time (2am) is the Weiner’s Circle in Lincoln Park. The dog is served with a pickle, tomato wedges, chopped onions, sweet peppers, celery salt, and a side of major sass from the counterperson. If you know what’s good for you, never ever ask for ketchup—Chicago is a mustard town.

Frequently Asked Questions
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