Chicago happens to be an exciting city beyond the loop, with something to see and do year-round. From the Sears Tower Skydeck to the Magnificent Mile, there are so many options for Chicago visitors. Did you know that Chicago is home to one of the world’s largest fountain, Buckingham Fountain, in Grant Park? Or perhaps you want to go underground and explore the Chicago Pedway. You can eat, shop and more while underground in the 40-block Pedway.
With all the sights and destinations available, you might need to take more than one trip to the Windy City. Start planning now!
The Skydeck at Sears Tower
233 S. Wacker Drive
Chicago, IL 60606
Phone: (312) 875-9696
On the 103rd floor of the Sears Tower is the Skydeck. It is a sight to behold standing on the deck with the wind rushing by you. With over 40-50 miles of visibility it is a truly awesome sight.
600 E. Grand Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611
Phone: (312) 595-PIER
For lunch or a stroll, shopping, dining or relaxing Navy Pier has everything you need to have a splendid day, including a huge Ferris wheel and an awesome view of the lakefront. There’s a little something to make everyone happy.
Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio
951 Chicago Avenue
Oak Park, IL 60302
Phone: (312) 994-4000
Take a tour of this National Historic Landmark and see where this famous American architect worked and lived. Frank Lloyd Wright and his notable colleagues used this home and studio as the test site for new design concepts; it was here that the Prairie Style of design was born. It took 13 million dollars and 13 years to restore this Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio to it’s best.
North Gate Entrance: 8400 31st street (1st Avenue and 31st street)
South Gate Entrance: 3300 Golf Road
Brookfield, IL 60513
Phone: (708) 688- 8000
There are over 450 species of animals in this fantastic zoo. Make sure to take an entire day to enjoy all the sites the Brookfield Zoo has to offer. It’s complete with a petting zoo, carousel, gift shops and plenty of dining choices.
360° Chicago (Formerly Hancock Observatory)
875 N. Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611
Phone: (312) 654- 5019
Ride up a thousand feet in the air and get ready for the best view of Chicago and the surrounding cities and beyond–actually this skywalk has been voted one of the Best Views in America by Travel & Leisure. Even more thrilling is Tilt, which takes up to 8 visitors at a time and angles them 30° down, allowing for a hair-raising look at the streets below. See all of Illinois as well as Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana.
Chicago Air & Water Show
North Avenue Beach
Since 1959, Chicago hosts a two-day Air and Water Show featuring many acts including daredevil pilots, jets flying in formation, boat jumping, and water-skiing presentations. The free event draws millions of spectators each year; this year, the event will be held August 15th and 16th. Because of its proximity to city beaches and skyline, the demonstrations are visible from almost everywhere along the Chicago lakefront.
Michigan Ave. Chicago River to Oak St
Phone: (312) 409-5560
From Chicago River to Oak Street is a one-mile stretch of land that is called the Magnificent Mile, Chicago’s largest shopping district. It has no less than 460 stores, 275 restaurants and 51 hotels as well as much to see and visit. Time for some serious retail therapy!
201 E Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60602
Phone: (312) 742-1168
Officially opened in 2004, this 11-year old park is home to several pieces of public sculptures that come to symbolize Chicago’s art scene including Cloud Gate, also known as “the Bean.” (see photo below) The Park also houses the Jay Pritzker Pavilion for concerts and shows, the Crown Fountain, and the lush public greenspace, Lurie Garden. Take a stroll or a jog through this 25-acre public space and enjoy the sights.
Chicago Cultural Center
78 E. Washington Street
Chicago, IL 60602
Phone: (312) 744-6630
Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs uses the Chicago Cultural Center for hundreds of programs and shows throughout the year. Known informally as “the people’s palace, the Cultural Center houses the largest Tiffany stained glass dome in the world which features over 30,000 pieces of stained glass and spans 38 feet. An even bigger glass dome can be seen on the north side of the building–a 40-foot Healy & Millet dome featuring 50,000 pieces of stained glass laid in an intricate renaissance pattern. Easily accessible from the Pedway, you can pop in and enjoy the art exhibitions and mosaics, and take in a bit of Chicago history in this century-old building. Check the website for a full list of exhibitions.
301 S Columbus Dr, Chicago, IL 60605
Chicago, IL 60605
Phone: (312) 742-7529
Head to Grant Park and visit Buckingham Fountain, one of the largest fountains in the world. The fountain holds approximately 1.5 million gallons of water which are shot through 193 jets during the many water and light shows throughout April to October. Come for the fountain, and stay for the park–Grant Park is commonly referred to as Chicago’s front yard. Visitors come to the park year-round for ice skating, gardens, public events, and more.
These 10 things to do in Chicago are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. You’ll need to pack good walking shoes and get ready to fall in love with this wonderfully entertaining city!