Chicago is one of my favorite cities on Earth. It has so much to offer, from cool out-of-the-way joints to world-class amenities. I’ve been here several times, and I find it exciting each and every time. There’s always a new place to visit or a new neighborhood to explore. It has a very real energy to it that I love.
Read on for some of the Best Things to Do in Chicago!
Art Institute of Chicago
One of the nation’s premier art museums.
In a city offered defined by its metropolitan appeal, Lake Michigan provides an incredible backdrop to city life.
The lakefront affords excellent opportunities for walking, running, or biking. Just to find a bench and chill is a nice experience, watching the waves and the lights of the city, as well as people-watching.
Didn’t bring a bike? Rent one from Divvy, Chicago’s bikeshare program.
Architectural River Tours
Put on by the Chicago Architecture Center, a river tour is the defining experience to have in the heart of The Windy City. Lasting about an hour and a half and costing between $45 and $55, it’s worth every penny.
Like Chicago’s backyard. Play a game of ultimate with your friends or catch a show at the pavilion.
The Field Museum of Natural History is among the largest and most visited natural history museums in the world. Founded in 1893 (a pivotal year for Chicago), it is named after local department store magnate Marshall Field, its first patron.
Entering the main hall puts you face-to-face with “Sue,” one of the most complete T-Rex skeletons in the world. The skeleton, 90% intact, was discovered in 1990 by explorer Sue Hendrickson on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation in South Dakota.
Museum of Science and Industry
Now this one is my personal favorite! One of the only surviving buildings from the 1893 World’s Fair, MSI is simply huge. So huge, there is an entire World War II German U-Boat housed within…and that’s just one section. One of the few places that I will honestly and confidently say is as much fun for kids as it is for adults. It’s seriously awesome and definitely worth the trip down south.
National Museum of Mexican-American Art
This is one of those museums that tends to fly under the radar compared to the other big name institutions on this list, but it’s 100% worth a vist. Located in the heavily Latino Pilsen neighborhood, the National Museum of Mexican-American Art is easily navigated in an afternoon and features hundreds of works of art.
An architecturally pleasing aquarium with tanks showcasing sealife and riverlife from all over the world.
For those interested in the cosmos, you can’t miss this one.
Lincoln Park Zoo
One of the premier zoos in the US, found in the North Side’s upscale Lincoln Park neighborhood, which is itself worth a stroll.
The observation deck of the Sears Tower (Willis Tower). While it’s no longer the tallest building in the country, it’s still among the most impressive at 1,454 feet.
Skydeck allows you to see over 50 miles on a clear day. Wanna freak yourself out? Step out onto The Ledge, the glass box jutting out from the building, 1,353 feet above the ground. Don’t worry, it’s extremely strong material and attached very securely.
Pro Tip: The quintessential Chicago skyline photo includes the Sears Tower itself. To get that, head over to the Hancock Tower and go up to their own observation deck, 360 Chicago.