The Perfect Day in Chicago

Just 24 hours in Chicago is hardly time enough to enjoy the best of Chicago’s best. The stellar museums along the lakefront, the architectural wonders, walking through the Loop, exploring the distinctive neighborhoods—get out early and stay out late!

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 plates with no visible seams, the polished surfaces of this 33-foot-tall sculpture reflect infinite variations of the Chicago skyline. The work’s design was chosen from among more than 30 others commissioned by the city, and it was inspired by liquid mercury.
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 Field Museum is a great way to spend a day getting your culture fix. If you start to lose steam, just pop into the café for a meal to reenergize before continuing to explore the multitude of exhibits that await you. And while the museum is a showcase for natural history, it’s been at this spot since 1893, which makes it a part of history as well.
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 you in this colossal house of creativity. If you need a drink, a snack, or perhaps a fine-cuisine fix to recharge, you can also stop by the Terzo Piano restaurant that is located within the museum. The Modern Wing is a must-see for art lovers while visiting the Windy City.
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 Cruises, which calls upon expert docents provided by the Chicago Architecture Foundation to reveal extensive history, culture, and style insights (for example, how the design of Willis Tower was based on cigarettes, or how the Monadnock Building on Jackson Boulevard was fabricated with 100 different shapes of brick). Book anytime between May and November for these rides, which run every day of the week and last 90 minutes.
3154 W Diversey Ave, Chicago, IL 60647, USA
If there were ever a city where a tiki bar is bound to succeed, it’s Chicago—during warmer months, they can help us embrace our short-lived summers; and during winter months, they help us escape the reality of subzero temps. As such, the seats of this Logan Square hangout are always filled, and bartenders tirelessly mix cocktails like the Bunny’s Banana Daiquiri (with overproof Jamaican rum, overproof demerara rum, spiced rum, banana, coconut, and lime, served with a banana dolphin) and the Tic-Tac-Taxi (a frozen drink with aged multi-island rum, overproof Jamaican rum, coconut, passion fruit, and lime). A recently opened kitchen serves up dishes like pork dumplings with scallion and ginger, and curry udon with summer squash and coconut crème fraîche.
1723 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614, USA
For serious food lovers, a trip to Chicago isn’t complete without a visit to Alinea. For some, a trip to Chicago would be because of Alinea. Chef Grant Achatz’s culinary playground has earned three Michelin stars since opening in 2005, the first restaurant in town to do so. Once inside the sleek, no-tablecloths space, expect the unexpected—Achatz is known for defying all expectations, as evidenced by dishes that include “pearls” of spiced orange juice, balloons made of green apple and helium, and a dessert that uses the entire tabletop as an edible art canvas. Three different dining experiences (and price points) are on offer—the Salon Menu, the Gallery Menu, and the Kitchen Table—ensuring guests can find the option that works best for them. For a totally secluded, front-row seat to the magic, book the latter—it offers an unobstructed view of the kitchen.
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 through the reuse of an old industrial rail line and repurposed bridges. Visitors can access the attraction via 12 points (there’s one approximately every quarter mile), and once you’re on, a collection of temporary and permanent art exhibits, lush greenery, and city sights will make it difficult to exit. When you are finally ready to break away, you’re bound to end up somewhere good—access points serve the neighborhoods of Wicker Park, Bucktown, Logan Square, and Humboldt Park, meaning a post-walk bite and beer at one of the city’s best is just seconds away.
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Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
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