Whether you’re looking for a cultural experience or a taste of local life, Chicago has something for everyone. Take in a world-class show, cheer on a sports team or shop ’til you drop.
If you’re a fan of theater, the city’s five Tony Award-winning theaters have a wide range of shows to choose from. Plus, there’s a thriving comedy scene.
Located along Lake Michigan’s shoreline, Navy Pier is the ultimate playground for families. It’s filled with fun attractions, restaurants, historical museums, parks and exhibition facilities.
One of the most popular attractions on the pier is the 196-foot-tall Ferris wheel. It’s the perfect way to get a picture-perfect view of Chicago and Lake Michigan.
Opened in 1930, the Adler Planetarium is Chicago’s first planetarium and one of its most unique attractions. Visitors can see a show under America’s first dome, explore space science exhibitions and delve into one of the world’s most significant collections of astronomical artifacts.
The Adler also features several community design labs where guests can learn through play, test ideas and reflect on their experience. The Community PlayLab is great for children six and under, while the Community Star Studio is for all ages!
If you’re looking for a building that’s home to businesses, trade shows, and events, look no further than the Merchandise Mart. Originally built in 1930, this Art Deco structure is one of the world’s largest commercial buildings.
The Merchandise Mart was designed by the Chicago architectural firm Graham, Anderson, Probst & White. It’s a 25-story building with 4,200,000 square feet of space.
Maggie Daley Park
A welcoming, urban retreat for children and adults of all ages, Maggie Daley Park is on Chicago’s lakefront. Open year-round, the free and interactive park offers children’s play areas, rock climbing, a Skating Ribbon, tennis courts, fieldhouse and picnic groves.
Landscape architects Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates created Maggie Daley Park as a design that balances active recreation and passive relaxation spaces. The design splits the park into an “active axis” with new interactive features and a “passive axis” that harkens back to the idea of a park as a place of rest.
If you’re a baseball fan, Wrigley Field is a must-see attraction. It’s home to the Chicago Cubs and is known for its ivy-lined outfield wall, which no other major-league park has.
It’s also a popular venue for concerts. A number of bands have played here, including Jimmy Buffet.
Shedd Aquarium is one of the most popular attractions in Chicago. It opened in 1930 and has been a favorite for both locals and visitors ever since.
It’s a great place to learn about the world’s aquatic animals and their habitats. Shedd also focuses on animal conservation and rehabilitating and releasing injured species.
Shedd Aquarium is open daily from 9am to 5pm, with the exception of Christmas and New Year’s Day. It’s best to buy tickets in advance to avoid long lines.
Museum of Science & Industry
The Museum of Science & Industry is one of Chicago’s top attractions and a must-see for everyone. This expansive museum is one of the largest science museums in the world and boasts a variety of interactive exhibits and displays for all types of curious minds.
The building originally served as the Palace of Fine Arts from the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, and its Neo-Classical architecture with Ionic columns communicates an air of formality and importance. Its conversion into the MSI was backed by Julius Rosenwald, Sears, Roebuck and Company president and philanthropist.
In the mid-19th century, a Persian teacher named Baha’u’llah began to spread the seeds of a new religion that would become one of the world’s fastest-growing. He based his teachings on the principles of peace, equality and fundamental unity of humankind.
Today, Baha’i adherents number 5 million worldwide. Their global community includes Houses of Worship that serve as gathering places for all humanity.
Garden of the Phoenix
The Garden of the Phoenix is a small botanic garden that feels like a little bit of zen. With cool architecture and artwork, this is one of the more hidden treasures in Jackson Park.
This tranquil space is a place to get away from the hustle and bustle of Chicago. It is a popular spot for tourists to come and take in the scenery of a quiet, peaceful garden.