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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 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
#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 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
#6
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
#7
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
#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
The Magnificent Mile

The Magnificent Mile

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Fashion, architecture, and history in Chicago come together on this renowned stretch of Michigan Avenue nicknamed the Magnificent Mile. As you walk from the Chicago River to Oak Street, you’ll pass several Windy City landmarks, including the Water Tower, John Hancock Center, and Tribune Tower, as well as numerous luxury brand retailers.More
#10
Marina City

Marina City

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The dueling main columns of Marina City overlook the Chicago River. Its scalloped “corn-on-the-cob” exterior, formed by undulating half-moon balconies, has made it instantly recognizable and a popular setting in movies such as Batman Begins, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and The Blues Brothers. While the historic buildings are largely residential—some 1,400 people call Marina City home today—visitors are welcome to the complex. You can head up to roof decks for 360 degree views of the city skyline, rent boats in the attached marina to explore the Chicago river, dine in restaurants like Smith and Wollensky’s Grill, catch a concert in the House of Blues, and even use the structures’ ice skating rink, swimming pool, and bowling alley.Marina City’s 588-foot towers, designed by great Chicago architect Bertrand Goldberg, were the tallest residential structures and the tallest concrete buildings in the world when they were constructed in the early 1960s. Forty-stories of pie-shaped apartments, designed to emphasize city views, sit atop twenty stories of parking. Designed as a “city within a city,” with shopping, dining, office buildings, recreational spaces, and entertainment for its residents, the then-novel concept was part of a movement encouraging Chicagoans to return to downtown from the suburbs.More

Trip ideas

Don’t-Miss Dishes in Chicago

Don’t-Miss Dishes in Chicago

Recent reviews from experiences in Chicago

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
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
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
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
Worth every penny!!
Abigail_L, Nov 2021
90-Minute Chicago River Architecture Tour
Amazing way to see Chicago from the water!
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
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.
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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
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
Amazing experience!!!
kelly_n, Nov 2021
90-Minute Chicago River Architecture Tour
We also experienced Chicago’s first snow fall on the boat.
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
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.
star-5
Great view
Anna_j, Nov 2021
90-Minute Chicago River Architecture Tour
It is breath taking to see sunset view over Chicago river with the splendid architectures and bridges.
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
Thumbs Way Up
Kirsten_B, Nov 2021
Chicago Architecture River Cruise
It was amazing to see everything from the Chicago River and learn so much about a lot of the buildings.
star-5
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.
star-4
Excellent guide for the...
Eric_W, Sep 2021
Chicago Crime and Mob Bus Tour
Excellent guide for the tour, so much history and interesting facts of Chicago to see on this tour!!!
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A wonderful Summer day in Chicago
Armando_B, Sep 2021
2-Hour Guided Segway Tour of Chicago
At the end, she was proud of her accomplishment and we were able to enjoy Chicago on a beautiful Summer day.

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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