Located on Lake Michigan, Illinois, Chicago represents one of the largest cities in the United States. Known for the bold architecture, Chicago has a skyline marked by iconic skyscrapers like the John Hancock Center. It’s 1,451 feet.
Along comes the neo-Gothic Tribune Tower and the Willis Tower, formerly known as the Sears Tower.
Chicago is also known for the excellent museum like the Art Institute of Chicago, the Field Museum, and many others you will read about in our list of best places to visit in Chicago today.
Another impressive landmark of the city represents the Millennium Park. It features a famous sculpture named “Cloud Gate.”
However, besides Millenium Park, there’s a wide range of parks to choose from and enjoy many nature’s beauties and some fresh air.
However, buildings and parks aren’t everything Chicago has to offer to visitors. The food is also amazing. You can visit some of the fancy restaurants and grab a delicious meal.
Shopping in the Magnificent Mile is also recommended if you like to buy yourself some nice stuff. And don’t forget to visit between June and August as most visitors do.
Popular events like St. Patrick’s Day occur in March, so feel free to visit on March 17 if you want to be a part of this celebration. If you’re going to attend the Jazz Festival, visit in September, while the Pride Parade occurs in June.
Now, let’s take a look at some of the best places in Chicago you must visit. I promise you will love this short list.
10. Chicago History Museum
If you want to learn about the history of the city, visit the Chicago History Museum. It was founded back in 1856 to research and present the history of Chicago.
You can find it at 1601 North Clark Street in Lincoln Park. It’s a fantastic place to visit with amazing exhibits. You will love the Chicago Blues display.
And if you visit with children, they will be able to learn history in a fun way. You’ll come across thought-provoking exhibits too. There’s a cute gift shop you can visit and a cafe to have a cup of coffee on your stay.
9. Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
Another must-visit on your stay is the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. It’s a nature museum that was founded back in 1857, just a year after the foundation of the History Museum we just talked about.
You can easily find it at the crossing of Cannon Drive and Fullerton Parkway in Lincoln Park. If you plan to visit, keep in mind that free parking isn’t available.
But you can look around to find a spot and hit the museum after. It’s a great place to introduce to kids all the wonders of nature, like small and big animals of different kinds.
There’s also a river area for children and a toddler play spot too. If you visit, you can observe colorful butterflies in the butterfly garden.
However, if you accidentally spot someone touching the butterflies, tell the staff because they’re not allowed to move. You will notice some with damaged or broken wings because of people’s recklessness and lack of compassion. Signs on tanks clearly say “Don’t touch.”
8. Old Town
Old Town is a famous part of the city with a rich historical background. Inhabited by German immigrants back in 1850, today the district is known for the architecture that attracts a lot of admirers.
It’s filled with buildings in the Victorian style, surrounded by shops and quaint streets.
On Wells Street, best known for the countless trees, you can see the respected comedy club, Second City, unusual boutiques, artisanal cafes, welcoming eateries and old-fashioned pubs. You can also visit the St. Michael’s Church.
It’s one of the few buildings to survive the Great Fire that occurred in 1871.
7. Museum Campus
Now, you will probably think that we’ve got a lot of museums on the list, but this one’s different. It’s a 57-acre land located in Grant Park, close by Lake Michigan.
It’s also home to Chicago’s most renowned attractions like America’s very first planetarium, the Adler Planetarium and the Shedd Aquarium we’re going to talk about later in detail.
It’s also home of the Chicago Bears, the Field Museum of Natural History, the Lakeside Center, and the Soldier Field. They’re places worth your visit on your stay to Chicago.
Now, this place has a lot to offer, from walkways to jogging paths, to diverse flora, to greenery. If you plan to visit with family, know that boredom won’t join you.
However, if you want to explore it better and get the best experience, you have to plan your travel.
6. Lurie Garden
A Chicago garden that deserves your attention is the beautiful Lurie Garden. It’s a 2.5-acre piece of land you can find in Cook County, Illinois, in the southern part of the lovely Millenium Park.
By the way, Millenium Park is one of the most popular attractions to see in Chicago, so don’t hesitate to visit this place too.
Lurie Garden, on the other hand, is a must. It’s a mix of shrub, grasses, perennials, bulbs, and trees. Nature enthusiasts will love this place. It’s the heart of the center of Chicago, and it’s worth a visit.
5. Magnificent Mile
We’ve mentioned it before, but now we’ll introduce Magnificent Mile in detail for those interested in visiting this commercial district.
It’s a place with a vibrant atmosphere and represents home to expensive fashion shops, fine restaurants, and upscale hotels. If you visit, don’t forget to see the Chicago Water Tower, the John Hancock Center, or the neo-Gothic Tribune Towel and enjoy the panoramic views.
If you plan to visit, don’t worry about traveling to different parts of Chicago because the place is connected to every part of the city with the North Michigan Avenue and the Chicago public buses.
4. Art Institute of Chicago
If you’re an artist, or just like art, the Art Institute of Chicago is the place to go. It was founded back in 1879, and you can easily find it in Grant Park.
It’s practically one of the biggest and oldest art museums in the country. The place has over 1.5 million guests per year.
It’s famous for the entrance guarded by two bronze lion statues on Michigan Avenue. But it’s also known for the large selection of European art and house exhibits in the basement.
It has an impressive overall design and offers an incredible view of the city. It will take you hours to explore the entire place, but you won’t regret it.
3. Shedd Aquarium
We’ve mentioned it before. However, we wanted to put it on the list because the Shedd Aquarium is a public indoor aquarium opened in 1930.
It features 32,000 animals, and it’s one of the biggest aquariums in the entire world with about 5,000,000 gallons of water. If you plan to visit with your family, know that your children will have much fun.
But it’s a pretty crowded place, so make sure to get your ticket on time. You can learn a lot of interesting information from the coral reef experience and admire a lot of sculptures around the aquarium that are made out of recycled materials.
The place offers the best scenery for making a great family photo. Also, your kids can learn a lot of fun information about animals and nature by reading on tablets.
There’s a whale and dolphin show you can attend and 3D films to watch. If you feel like you need a break, there’s a Starbucks where you can enjoy a drink or grab a snack at the little food place nearby.
2. 875 North Michigan Avenue
If you’re looking for a place that offers the best panoramic views of the city, look no further than 875 North Michigan Avenue.
It’s a 1,000 feet tall skyscraper that can be found in the Magnificent Mile we previously mentioned. We’ve said it as the John Hancock Center because it’s the official name of the building.
However, it was changed to 875 North Michigan Avenue in 2018. The building is open to tourists from 9 am to 11 pm, Monday through Thursday.
You’ll love the entrance foyer and the views this place has to offer are to die for. You can sit in the sky lounge or grab a drink while admiring the landscape of the city. It’s definitely worth your attention and visit.
1. Navy Pier
If you come to the popular Streeterville neighborhood, don’t forget to stop by Navy Pier. It’s a 3,000-foot extended platform on the Lake Michigan’s shoreline that features a lot of shops, carnival rides, excellent restaurants, and fireworks.
You visit the Shakespeare theater, of course, if there’s a play for you to watch at the time. Visiting the place is never a bad idea because boredom doesn’t live here anymore since the renovation.
If you visit during the summer, you can experience a boat ride. Or have a drink and relax at some of the restaurants and cafes.
There’s also a kids museum to explore. It’s a beautiful family attraction. A parking spot will cost you $30. You can use public transportation to come instead of using your car. There’re also souvenirs shops to buy something from.