The Best Things to Do in Chicago
Collected by AFAR Editors , AFAR Staff
One of Chicago’s 50+ million annual visitors? This list can help you tackle the world-class sights: shop vintage boutiques, conquer your fear of heights at the Willis Tower, stroll an extraordinary garden or museum. Trust us, you won’t be bored.
1300 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60605, USA
It’s difficult to design a museum suitable for both kids and adults, but Adler makes it look easy. Children will love the area known as Planet Explorers, where they can play astronaut with space rovers and rocket-launch simulators, peer...
112 E Upper Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60601, USA
The Chicago River and Lake Michigan are two of the city’s greatest assets, and there’s no better way to experience both than with an architectural boat tour. While there are plenty of reliable options around, go with First Lady...
2001 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614, USA
It's enormous, it's full of animals, it's open all year round, and, best of all, it's (gasp!) free. The Lincoln Park Zoo is one of the single greatest things to do in Chicago. Visit the monkeys in their house of hilarity, or swing past the penguin...
1400 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60605, USA
Dinosaurs, pyramids, cave paintings, sharks—if you don't like the Field Museum then you must never have been a kid. Home to an extensive assortment of magical displays highlighting all facets of natural history from around the world, the...
1600 N Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60613, USA
Chicago has no shortage of beaches, but there are few that boast the views, convenient location, and activities of North Avenue Beach. Located just footsteps away from the Lincoln Park Zoo and the vibrant shopping and nightlife of Old Town, this...
Chicago, IL 60601, USA
Visitors take their best Chicago photographs in front of the iconic Millennium Park sculpture called Cloud Gate (known colloquially as the Bean, for its shape). Conceived by British artist Anish Kapoor and constructed from 168 stainless steel...
233 S Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60606, USA
Willis Tower—originally known as the Sears Tower—was the world's tallest building for 23 years until it was unseated in 1996 by the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur. The 110-story skyscraper is still mighty impressive. Its "bundled...
300 N Central Park Ave, Chicago, IL 60624, USA
Opened in 1908, this urban sanctuary was designed by renowned landscape architect Jens Jensen. The grounds—combining the display houses and outdoor gardens—cover 14 acres and feature more than 5,000 rare and exotic...
1807 S Allport St, Chicago, IL 60608, USA
A visit to Pilsen isn’t complete without a stop at this historic concert hall, a must for national musical acts and local talent—not to mention the spectators that get to enjoy it all. It was John Dusek who originally opened doors here...
2007 W Churchill St, Chicago, IL 60647, USA
Rising nearly 18 feet above street level, the 606 (which takes its name from the common numerals in all Chicago zip codes) serves as a 2.7-mile elevated park and trailway for cyclists and runners, while also connecting neighborhoods...
5535 S Ellis Ave, Chicago, IL 60637, USA
Situated in the city’s Hyde Park neighborhood, this theater opened in 1955 and has been appealing to crowds near and far ever since for its diverse programming and community involvement. Each season focuses on five productions—a range...
111 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603, USA
Just imagine having 264,000 square-feet of modern art at your disposal seven days a week. That is exactly what you have if you visit the Modern Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago. Above is but one example of the funky-cool exhibits that await...
1060 W Addison St, Chicago, IL 60613, USA
Steeped in history, loved my many, loathed by some, and sorely in need of a championship, Wrigley Field is a true cornerstone of the always controversial sporting world. No trip to Chicago is complete without a visit to this monument to to...
Lincoln Park, Chicago, IL, USA
Chicago is one of my favorite cities in the USA. It's bursting at the seams with fantastic restaurants, hole-in-the-wall pubs and bars, world-class stadiums, art galleries, and everything else you'd expect in an Alpha World City, though it retains...
111 E Upper Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60601, USA
The Chicago Architecture Foundation is a must see if you are an architecture fanatic or just love the Chicago skyline. The CAF has a great shop inside the Historic Santa Fe Building in downtown Chicago. They sell informative books about...
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