Things to do in

Chicago

The Mecca of the Midwest is famous for its architectural beauty, vibrant culture, and colorful past.

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Top 10 things to do in Chicago

Chicago has it all and enjoys spoiling its visitors and locals alike with a wealth of culture, shopping, dining and entertainment possibilities. As Frank Sinatra sang so many times about this world-class city, "it's one town that won't let you down."

  • Wrigley Building

    1. Wrigley Building

    Built in the 1920s, the two towers of this iconic landmark on Michigan Avenue once housed the headquarters for chewing gum magnate William Wrigley Jr.

  • Michigan Avenue

    2. Michigan Avenue

    The Chicago Water Tower on North Michigan Ave. was one of the few structures to have survived the Chicago Fire of 1871. Today, it's a gallery for local artists and photographers.

  • The Magnificent Mile

    3. The Magnificent Mile

    13-blocks of North Michigan Avenue comprise The Magnificent Mile. It offers retail therapy, a bevy of restaurants with international cuisine and examples of historical buildings.

  • The Loop

    4. The Loop

    It's the district that mixes business with pleasure amid soaring downtown highrises. Take a seat at one of many eateries, stroll along the river or enjoy the nighlife revelry.

  • Chicago Picasso Statue

    5. Chicago Picasso Statue

    Controversy surrounded the unveiling of this 50-foot statue in downtown's Daley Plaza in 1967. Some regarded Picasso's Cubist artwork to that of a baboon or a giant insect.

  • 6. Chicago Pedway

    When the weather and traffic are bad, thousands of locals take advantage of this system of underground corridors and overhead bridges in a 40-block radius in downtown.

  • Chicago Cultural Center

    7. Chicago Cultural Center

    First opened as The Chicago Public Library and Civil War memorial in 1897, the building is famous for its stained-glass domes. Cultural events take place regularly and for free.

  • Chicago Children's Museum

    8. Chicago Children's Museum

    Dig for dinosaur bones, learn how the city's tallest structures stand, and manipulate the power of water. Parents and kids will give this hands-on museum an A+ by the day's end.

  • 9. Chicago History Museum

    From the original days as a fur trading center to what daily life is like today, visitors will learn all there is to know at the "Chicago: Crossroads of America" exhibition.

  • Science and Industry Museum

    10. Science and Industry Museum

    The largest science museum in the Western Hemisphere is the ideal environment for an immersion in science. The Omnimax Theater also shows fantastic films throughout the year.

Planning Your Visit

  • Chicago Children's Museum tickets and hours

    Admission: $14
    Opening hours: Monday-Wednesday from 10:00AM-5:00PM; Thursdays from 10:00AM-8:00PM; Fridays from 10:00AM-6:00PM; Weekends from 10:00AM-7:00PM. Thursdays from 5:00PM-8:00PM is Family Night and free.
    Location: Navy Pier

  • Chicago History Museum tickets and hours

    Admission: $14 with two audio tours. Kids 12 and under are free.
    Opening hours: daily from 9:30AM-4:30PM
    Location: Lincoln Park

  • Science and Industry Museum

    Admission: $18 (adults), $11 (kids 3-11). Three different ticket packages are also available for $27, $32, and $36. Depending on the selected package, visitors may choose up to three extra museum features, such as the Omnimax Theater, which are not included in the general admission price.

    Opening hours: daily from 9:30AM-5:30PM
    Location: 5700 Lake Shore Drive

  • When should I go?

    April through May and September through October are great months to visit. The weather is nice, prices are reasonable, and there are plenty of festivals to enjoy. Plus, the crowds are less than in the peak summer season.

Good to know

  • Language
    English
  • Currency
    USD ($)
  • Time Zone
    UTC (-06:00)
  • Country Code
    +1
  • Best time to visit
    Early summer and early fall tend to have pleasant temperatures, fewer crowds, and a great selection of events on offer.

Other Sightseeing Options in Chicago

Want to discover all there is to do in Chicago? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Chicago

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 9,556 reviews

John, guide, and Wayne, driver, were both excellent at their jobs. Chicago is a beautiful city and your 40+ person bus was clean and comfortable ( only 15 participants). We saw the outside of the theater where Dillinger spent his last night, the alley where he was shot, and the Harry Caray Restaurant where there was a lot of historical news articles and photographs to look at. Everything else was “the building used to be here where... “ or “see that McDonalds, that used to be...” Again, John did an excellent job painting the historical background and telling the stories of the north side and south side gangs. I just wished that Chicago had the foresight to keep/rebuild/remodel some of the 1920s/1930s historical places that defined that era.

It was a modest but very informative walk that encompassed a few blocks around the Architecture Foundation Center. The Center itself has a very interesting miniature of the Chicago Loop and a good array of books and potential gifts in their 'store'. We had been on boat tours before, but this was the first walking tour. We really enjoyed the walk, the information and the questions we got to ask!

Our guide has been narrating the tour for 20 years, and he was excellent! I am sorry I didn't catch his name. I've long wanted to take this tour, and it has been recommended to us many times. I will continue to recommend this to anyone looking for something to do in Chicago.

It still look the same from when I was a little girl. Something have change but I always enjoy come to the museum.

Excellent docent very informative, professional and entertaining. Good value for money and well organized tour.