- by Nicola Carey
- Sep 19, 2022
Planning for a Chicago trip here is our guide for best things to do in Chicago. When you visit Chicago, you'll have the opportunity to take in a wide range of cultural activities such as art, music, history, and architecture. Museum-goers can wander through Millennium Park and the Loop and admire outdoor art (including the renowned "Bean"), or they can take a river boat to see the city's modern-day landmarks, like the Chicago Art Institute. There ae also a lot of adventurous things to do in Chicago like indoor skydiving or speedboat ride. So lets make a list of ‘things to do in Chicago’ for your trip.
ADVENTUROUS THINGS TO DO IN CHICAGO
View From 360 Chicago Observation Deck
It was previously known as John Hancock Observatory, and 360 Chicago's 94th floor viewing deck offers an interactive journey through the city's past and present. Tilt—moving glass lookouts that practically tilt you out 1,000 feet (305 meters) over the Magnificent Mile—enhances the panoramic views of the Chicago skyline and Lake Michigan from this perch.
Thrills Of Indoor Skydive
With iFLY Chicago, you can experience skydiving in a safe and controlled environment without having to jump out of a plane yourself. Enjoy the rush of gliding through the air at Chicago-Lincoln Park without having to deal with the nerves that come with other high-adrenaline activities. It's a great introduction to skydiving at a fraction of the price of regular skydiving.
Kayaks On The Chicago Riverwalk
Get an entirely new perspective on the city by taking a cruise. For self-guided explorations, you can hire a kayak from Urban Kayaks on the Chicago Riverwalk. Passing under historic city bridges and towering buildings, you'll pass the lively Chicago Riverwalk on your way to a relaxing day in nature. On Wednesdays and Saturdays during the summer, the lake is lit up by a spectacular fireworks display that may be seen from a kayak.
Beat The Timer In A Escape Room
The Escape Game Chicago at River North brings the action indoors with themed experiences including Gold Rush, Prison Break, The Heist, and Mission: Mars, all with meticulously crafted settings. If you and your friends are up for a challenge, this is the space for you. A few of the most popular escape rooms include Escape Artistry and Fox in a Box.
The Rock Climbing At Maggie Daley Park
Try your hand at outdoor climbing at Maggie Daley Park, Chicago's first and only open-air gym. The unique downtown green space contains two rock climbing structures, one for beginners and one for more seasoned climbers. Between 25 and 100 climbers can be on these surfaces at once. In addition, the views of the Chicago skyline are simply stunning. It is open from April to October and works on a first-come-first served basis.
Fly In The Michigan Lake With Speed-Boat Ride
Thrill to the speed of sound as you soar above Lake Michigan on this thrilling ride. Full-throttle action and sharp twists and turns are promised by Seadog Cruises as you zip over the water. Music, views of the skyline, and a lighthearted narrative about Chicago are all included in your cruise experience. Note that you will be splashing around.
HISTORICAL, ARCHITECTURAL AND CULTURAL VISITS
You may discover all about Chicago's art, history, and magnificent monuments by visiting the following locations.
Art Institute Of Chicago
The Art Institute of Chicago is guarded by an iconic pair of bronze lions, which house a collection of more than 300,000 artworks. The Art Institute of Chicago is home to some of the world's greatest works of art, including Georges Seurat's A Sunday on La Grande Jatte, which appeared in Ferris Bueller's Day Off. "THINKING OF YOU. I MEAN ME. I MEAN YOU," a so-called "anti-retrospective" of conceptual artist Barbara Kruger's eye-catching work, is on display.
There are 68 1:12 size recreations of American, European and Asian architecture and furniture in the Thorne Miniature Room in the bottom level of the Art Institute. That is supposed to be an ultra-detailed, ultra-realistic doll house you always wanted in your childhood.
Chicago Cultural Center
Formerly housing the Chicago Public Library, this beautiful Neoclassical structure in The Loop was transformed in 1991 into the country's first free municipal cultural center. As you might imagine from a city like Chicago, there are more than 1,000 exhibitions and programs held here each year. Theatre, dance, and music performances as well as talks, film screenings, and family-friendly activities are all available to attend for free.
No matter what's going on, don't miss the chance to peek inside this historic structure, constructed in 1897. Fine hardwood, rare imported marble, polished brass, and mother-of-pearl are just some of the high-end materials used in the interiors. The south dome is the world's largest Tiffany stained glass dome, while the north's Renaissance-style dome measures 12 meters in diameter and includes 50,000 glass panels. The two domes are a must-see.
A Visit To The Chicago Theatre
As a must-see for couples or companions who are interested in the arts, the historic Chicago Theatre is an excellent option. Visit this historic theatre and learn about the history of one of the most storied locations in the art world. In addition to the stunning French Baroque building, Chicago's history of design and architecture is further evidenced by the city's numerous museums and galleries. Not to mention, the backstage walls are covered with signatures from all the superstars who've performed here, and there's an exhibit of old photos. You'll even be able to stroll over the stage!
Museums Of History And Natural Science
This wonderful city's history and culture can be explored in further depth by visiting the Chicago History Museum. Let's take in some culture together by stopping by one of their outstanding temporary exhibitions.
With its handy location in Lincoln Park's south end, the Chicago History Museum is also close to Old Town, a hipster hotspot known for its diverse selections of fine dining and bar grub. Broken English (great tacos and margaritas) and Old Town Pour House are two of our favorite local hangouts (for good apps and craft beer, plus sports tv).
Or, you can visit the Field Museum for a unique look at natural history from throughout the world. A wide variety of items are available, including everything from a famous T. Rex skeleton (SUE) to beautiful jewels and ancient Egyptian antiquities.
Historic Former Wabash Ymca
Known as the birthplace of Black History Month, this Bronzeville structure has a lot to offer. In Bronzeville, Chicago, the Wabash Y served as a hub of cultural and economic advancement for more than half a century. On the 26th of February, you are welcome to take a free tour.
Clarke House Museum
The Clarke House Museum, Chicago's oldest house, was constructed in 1836 for Henry B. Clarke. The house depicts what life was like for a Chicago family in the years leading up to the American Civil War. At the time of Chicago's incorporation, much of the surrounding grassland was still undeveloped, which led to the beginning of its intriguing history.
There were several fires in the house over the years. It was once owned by a church and was transferred twice. The second time it got trapped in midair for two weeks. The Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events operates the house as a museum in the Chicago Women's Park Historic District on Prairie Avenue. It is open to the public on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons for free tours.
FUN AND AMUSEMENT
An Unmissable Chicago Experience!
Lakefront park that includes a Ferris Wheel and an outdoor concert pavilion; projected to be one of the city's most popular attractions. If you take a look at images of Millennium Park, I think it appears to be a large area. When I finally got to see this location for myself, I discovered that it's not nearly as large as many had imagined. There are a plethora of activities to do in the park itself. Various art projects, such as an ice skating rink, can be found. However, the bean is the primary focus. fascinating design and become a landmark in the community. It's impossible to visit Chicago without a stop at Millennium Park.
Cloud Gate, better known as "The Bean," is the first must-see site. There is no other piece of public art quite like the bean. Regardless of age, ethnicity, or gender, the object affectionately referred to as "the bean" has the ability to inspire everybody who sees it because to its shape aberrations. It's hard to believe that a single piece of metal shaped like a bean can create hundreds of different "mirror" views for you and your family, some close, some far, some skinny, some fat; some where you are far, far away; some with the Chicago skyline in the background (although the bean itself might only be a feet above your head.) As public art, it is at its best: it attracts people from all walks of life, sparks conversation, and retains the Chicago flavor in the bean. They are going to have a blast! The best part is that it's completely free!
Located at the point where the Chicago Portage empties into Lake Michigan, the Navy Pier is a diverse tourist destination spanning six city blocks above the water. One cannot adequately summarize such a massive attraction, which is one of the best days out in the Midwest. However, within 50 acres you'll find the Funhouse Maze, the 65-meter Centennial Wheel, and a slew of carnival rides and attractions. There are also monthly fireworks in the summer, an IMAX Theater, the Chicago Children's Museum, and a botanical garden with more than 80 palms. If you're looking for something a little more low-key, the pier may be used as a starting point for lake or river cruises, as well as a place to catch some live music.
Maggie Daley Park Play Garden
Alice in Wonderland and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory are just two of the many stories that have inspired Maggie Daley Park, which is located just east of Millennium Park. Small children and adults will appreciate the miniature lighthouse, the life-size ship, the two rock-climbing towers, the 30-foot suspension bridge, the ice rink, the tennis fields, and the numerous picnic areas.
Run, stroll, ride, or rollerblade alongside Lake Michigan and beautiful green parks on the magnificent Lakefront Trail. There are beaches, gardens, public art, playgrounds, tennis courts, and more along the trail.
Do you both have a deep love for the ocean? As a result, a trip to the Shedd Aquarium is a must-do for visitors of any age. Among the hundreds of sea creatures in this world-class aquarium are both large and little. There will be a variety of species from both fresh and saltwater habitats, including seabirds. We have everything from little penguins to ferocious sharks.
Take a stroll down Chicago's famed Riverwalk, a waterfront walkway that runs the length of the city. If you want to see a bridge lift from inside the bridge house, visit the McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum, which is free on Sundays.
Ice Rink At The Mccormick Tribune
Skating on one of Chicago's ice skating rinks is the perfect way to celebrate winter in the Windy City. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in downtown Chicago. One of Chicago's best-known landmarks, "The Bean," can be seen from the skating rink at Millennium Park. There are skate rentals available, but you must make a reservation in advance online.
Lincoln Park Zoo
This free zoo in Chicago is one of the country's oldest and most venerable. It's open year-round, even throughout the winter. You can see polar bears, penguins, and snow monkeys playing in the snow as you go about the icy landscape. The animal homes are a great place to stay warm and see animals like penguins, gorillas, lions, and many more.
Replay Lincoln Park
There are no age restrictions on the free arcade games in Replay Lincoln Park if you're over 21 years old (sorry, kiddies). It's all free play, from the NBA Jam cabinet to the Lord of the Rings pinball table. There are no tokens or quarters to put in. At one of Replay's bars, you may blow all the money you saved on a craft beer or a At one of Replay's bars, you may blow all the money you saved on a craft beer or a
Winter Garden At Harold Washington Library
Located in the heart of Chicago's Loop neighborhood, Harold Washington Library is home to more than 13 million books, making it one of the world's largest public libraries. Get your vitamin D fix in the Winter Garden, which is awash with sunlight.
DINING AND SHOPPING
The Magnificent Mile
Magnificent Mile is a posh stretch of Chicago's Michigan Avenue between the Chicago River and Oak Street on the Near North Side, sometimes known as The Mag Mile. On Rush Street, one block east of the district's western border, The Magnificent Mile connects Chicago's downtown commercial center with the city's Gold Coast. As a result, it serves as a natural barrier between Streeter Ville to the west and River North to the east.
Around 3.1 million square feet (290,000 m2) of space is dedicated to retail, restaurants, museums, and hotels, making it Chicago's largest shopping center right now. As of right now, rent on Chicago's Magnificent Mile is third most expensive in the country, only behind New York's Fifth Avenue and Los Angeles' Rodeo Drive. 875 North Michigan Avenue (previously known as the "John Hancock Center") is one of the district's tallest skyscrapers. The Wrigley Building, Tribune Tower, the Chicago Water Tower, and the Allerton, Drake, and Intercontinental Hotels are all located on the Magnificent Mile. The atmosphere along The Magnificent Mile changes with the seasons. Several official events are a sign of this change. Remember to enjoy the festivities of the season, as well.
Besides the Mag Mile, Chicago has a lot to offer. Outlying areas offer some of the city's top restaurants. Whether you're looking for a fun night out at a trendy bar or a delicious meal, Old Town is the place to be. Try Little Italy and University Village if you're in the mood for Italian, or Portage Park if you're looking to learn more about Chicago's Polish heritage. Ukrainian Village is an excellent place to dine and drink, with a lively brewery, a top sushi restaurant, and a plethora of unique boutiques.
First-time visitors and long-time residents alike can always find something new to discover in Chicago regardless of their previous experience. Tours led by friendly locals who will show you the landmarks, hotspots, and hidden gems of each Chicago neighborhood are an excellent way to get to know a new part of the city.
Chicago Sightseeing Highlights
Top Must Do Visits
The top five must do visits in Chicago are:
- The Art Institute of Chicago
- An Observation Deck with a 360-Degree View of Chicago
- the Millennium Park
- Chicago river walk
- Chicago Greeter tours
Free Things To Do In Chicago
No matter how limited your Chicago travel budget, there are still plenty of exciting things to do in the city that won't break the bank. Here is the list of this month's free festivities , including ice skating, outdoor experiences, free museum days, and more. Your budget-friendly Chicago vacation plans should begin now. The following locations are free to visit.
- Chicago cultural center (every Thursday and Friday)
- Millennium Park
- McCormick Tribune Ice Rink
- Historic Former Wabash YMCA (Free visit on 26th Feb)
- Clarke House Museum (Free tours on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons)
- History & Natural History Museums
- Maggie Daley Park Play Garden
- Navy pier
- Lincoln zoo
- Replay Lincoln Park
- Chicago Riverwalk
- McCormick Bridge house & Chicago River Museum (Free on Sundays)
- Lakefront Trail
- Winter garden at Harold Washington Library
- A visit to the Conservatory in Garfield Park (Free Spring Flower Show on 26th Feb)
- Every Wednesday, visitors to the DuSable Museum of African American History are given free entrance.
- Free Chicago greeter tour
- Also check out one of the city's free museums, such as the Museum of Contemporary Photography, National Mexican Art Museum or Hyde Park Art Center.