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Things to do in Chicago

Best attractions to visit in Chicago

1. Art Institute of Chicago - Chicago

Art Institute of Chicago

The Art Institute of Chicago, otherwise known simply as AIC, is a popular ancient, impressionist, post-impressionist, and contemporary art museum in Chicago. Built in 1879, the museum was relocated to South Michigan Avenue in 1893, and is one of the most visited art museums around the globe. In fact, it oversees more than 1.5 million visitors annually, and is the second largest museum in the country after Metropolitan Museum of Art. One of the top things to do in Art Institute of Chicago is to take guided tours of the exhibits which provide a unique look at the fine arts of the world. You can explore exhibits holding permanent collections of American and European decorative arts, Ancient Egyptian and classical art, Islamic art, Asian art, and architecture and graphic design. In addition to being a prestigious art museum, Art Institute of Chicago is also home to Ryerson & Burnham Libraries. The Van Gogh exhibit tour is one of the popular things to do in Art Institute of Chicago. While you can always tour on your own, the tour guides will really make the experience grand. Once you’re done, head down to the onsite restaurant for a lovely lunch!


2. Willis Tower - Chicago

Willis Tower

The Willis Tower, also commonly known as the Sears Tower, is a modern skyscraper in Chicago. At the time of its completion in 1973, the Willis Tower was the tallest building in the world until it was surpassed by the Petronas Towers in Malaysia. The 108-story skyscraper is the second tallest building in the United States and attracts over one million visitors to its observation deck annually. Visiting the observation deck, also known as the Skydeck, at sunset, is definitely one of the top things to do in Willis Tower as you get to soak in magical views of the city while you walk on glass. On windy days, you can actually experience how the building sways thanks to its structural integrity. Within 60 seconds, you get from the ground floor to the Skydeck where retractable glass alleys and balconies give you the best views of Chicago. Other popular things to do in Willis Tower is to visit the ‘The Ledge’, which are basically all glass boxes that let you see through the glass floor 412 meters below. Willis Tower is a family friendly destination and offers a unique view of the city we love.


3. Field Museum of Natural History - Chicago

Field Museum of Natural History

The Field Museum of Natural History is a historic museum in Chicago and one of the largest of its kind in the world. It is a prestigious museum that attracts nearly 2 million visitors every year ranging from tourists to students and researchers. The museum has a mix of topical exhibitions and traveling exhibit shows, giving its visitors and academic faculty a unique cultural and biodiversity site for exploration and research. One of the best things to do in Field Museum of Natural History is to arrive here early so you get a full day to explore all the major exhibits. You get to explore fossils of dinosaurs to remains and artifacts that predate history. The exhibits are easy to find as the museum has signs that are conveniently placed. Dedicated sections to natural history of the earth, mankind, civilization, animal life, and more, will leave you and your family awestruck. A tour of the Native American and Viking exhibits are popular things to do in Field Museum of Natural History. The museum has rich history, beautiful architecture, and efficient staff, from the tour guides to the restaurant waiters that make the visit a delight!


4. Navy Pier - Chicago

Navy Pier

The Navy Pier is one of the most visited landmarks at the shorelines of Lake Michigan in Chicago. The 1,010-mile long pier is located in the Near North Side area along the Streeterville neighborhood, and is the top tourist attraction of Chicago. The Navy Pier was built in 1916 and has become a quintessential tourist destination in Illinois that offers a wide range of shopping spots, restaurants, carnival rides, fireworks, and much more. One of the best things to do in Navy Pier is to explore it on foot. While it will take a lot of hours, especially during the weekends as it is crowded, it will definitely be worth it. The Chicago Flower and Garden Show at Navy Pier is an all-year-long attraction with fairs and expositions. The Pier is also home to the best fireworks in Chicago on Saturday and Wednesday nights and especially the New Year’s Eve. Taking boat rides and water tours are popular things to do in Navy Pier, especially with sightseeing tour providers like Shoreline Sightseeing Cruises and Seadog Ventures. The Pier also has the Chicago Shakespeare Theater as a regular fixture. For kids, the Pier Park boasts some of the best attractions like the Ferris Wheel, miniature golf courses, boat rides, and more!


5. Shedd Aquarium - Chicago

Shedd Aquarium

The Shedd Aquarium is a popular landmark and one of the largest indoor aquariums in the world along the South Lake Shore Drive of Chicago. With more than 2 million annual visitors, it is the most visited aquarium in the United States containing more than 1500 species of marine life, reptiles, birds, amphibians, and insects. The Shedd Aquarium opened its doors in 1930 and is now a U.S. National Historic Landmark. One of the best things to do in Shedd Aquarium is to take the major exhibits that range offer a comprehensive outlook of the aquatic life around the world. The Waters of the World is the oldest gallery featuring ocean, river, lake, and island exhibits. The Caribbean Reef, on the other hand offers a look at the tropical marine life of the world, and is adjacent to Water of the World and the Amazon Rising. A visit to the Amazon Rising exhibit is one of the top things to do in Shedd Aquarium as it beautifully recreates the Amazon River and the rainforest. When you want to catch a breather, the eastern side of the Shedd Aquarium lets you soak in the wonderful views of the Chicago skyline.


6. Museum of Science and Industry - Chicago

Museum of Science and Industry

Recognized for its award winning exhibits that truly bring science to life, the Museum of Science and Industry offers a fun-filled and memorable experience for children and adults alike. The Museum is located in Chicago and is a home to over 35,000 artifacts and more than 400,000 sq/feet of hands on exhibits that is not just amazing to explore but also spark creativity and scientific inquiry. Once you come here you will not be disappointed or bored largely because there is so much to explore and a large variety of things to do in the Museum of Science and Industry. So, if you love science and want to have fun, then a visit to this place is a must. You can start you visit here by stopping at the U-505 Submarine exhibit. This is no ordinary submarine. It is the historic submarine that was blasted by the USS Chatelaine that was prowling under the sea on the hunt for American and its allied ships. Visitors are allowed to step inside this submarine for a hands-on experience. Among the many things to do in the Museum of Science and Industry is exploring the Colleen Moore’s Fairy Castle. This castle houses artifacts and hand crafted miniatures that are a delight to view. So, make sure to visit this place.


Similar destinations to visit

Things to do in Springfield Illinois

Things to do in Springfield, Illinois

Capital of the state of Illinois, Springfield is also its major city with high population and advancements. The city is mostly situated on flat terrain with hills surrounding the place.