Chicago is a city that has something for everyone, from world-class museums to beautiful parks and gardens, to vibrant nightlife and shopping. With so many things to do and see, it can be overwhelming to plan a trip to Chicago. That’s why we’ve put together a list of the top 10 attractions in Chicago recommended by TripAdvisor. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a Chicago native, these attractions are sure to make your trip to the Windy City unforgettable.
Millennium Park is one of the most iconic and beloved parks in Chicago. Located in the heart of downtown, it’s a must-visit attraction for anyone coming to the Windy City. The park is home to the famous Cloud Gate sculpture, also known as “The Bean,” which reflects the city’s skyline and provides a great photo opportunity. But there’s so much more to see and do in Millennium Park.
Take a stroll through the Lurie Garden, a beautiful 3.5-acre garden filled with native plants and flowers. The garden is a peaceful oasis in the middle of the city, and it’s a great place to relax and recharge. If you’re visiting during the summer, be sure to check out the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, an outdoor concert venue that hosts free music and dance performances throughout the season.
Another popular attraction in Millennium Park is the Crown Fountain, a unique art installation that features two 50-foot towers with faces that spout water. It’s a fun place to cool off on a hot day and take some fun photos.
Millennium Park is also a great place to enjoy public art. In addition to The Bean and the Crown Fountain, the park features a variety of sculptures and art installations that are worth exploring. And if you’re visiting during the winter, don’t miss the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink, a popular skating destination that offers stunning views of the city skyline.
Whether you’re looking to relax, enjoy some art, or attend a free concert, Millennium Park has something for everyone. It’s a true gem in the heart of Chicago, and it’s definitely worth a visit.
Art Institute of Chicago
The Art Institute of Chicago is one of the oldest and largest art museums in the United States. With over 300,000 works of art, it’s a must-visit attraction for anyone interested in art and culture. The museum’s collection spans thousands of years and includes works from around the world.
One of the museum’s most famous pieces is Grant Wood’s “American Gothic,” a painting that has become an iconic representation of American culture. Other notable works include Edward Hopper’s “Nighthawks” and Georges Seurat’s “A Sunday on La Grande Jette.”
The Art Institute of Chicago also has a strong collection of impressionist and post-impressionist art, with works by artists such as Claude Monet, Vincent van Gogh, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir.
But the museum isn’t just about traditional art. It also features contemporary works and installations, including a wing dedicated to modern and contemporary art. The museum hosts special exhibitions throughout the year, so there’s always something new to see.
In addition to its impressive art collection, the Art Institute of Chicago is also known for its stunning architecture. The museum’s Beaux-Arts building is a work of art in itself, with its grand staircase, vaulted ceilings, and ornate details.
Whether you’re a seasoned art lover or just looking for a fun way to spend an afternoon, the Art Institute of Chicago is a must-visit destination. With its impressive collection and beautiful surroundings, it’s an experience you won’t forget.
Navy Pier is a historic landmark and a must-visit destination in Chicago. Located on the shores of Lake Michigan, it’s home to a variety of attractions that are sure to keep you entertained all day long.
One of the most popular attractions at Navy Pier is the Ferris wheel, a classic ride that offers stunning views of the city and the lake. It’s a great way to see Chicago from a new perspective, especially at sunset.
If you’re traveling with kids, be sure to check out the Chicago Children’s Museum, a hands-on museum that offers interactive exhibits and activities for children of all ages. The museum is a great place for kids to learn and play, and it’s sure to be a hit with the whole family.
Navy Pier also features an IMAX theater that shows the latest blockbuster films, as well as a variety of restaurants and bars. Whether you’re in the mood for a gourmet meal or a casual snack, you’re sure to find something delicious at Navy Pier.
But Navy Pier isn’t just about attractions and entertainment. It’s also a great place to simply take a stroll and enjoy the beauty of Lake Michigan. The pier offers stunning views of the lake and the city skyline, and it’s a popular spot for taking photos and enjoying the fresh air.
With its mix of attractions, dining, and natural beauty, Navy Pier is a must-visit destination in Chicago. Whether you’re traveling with kids or looking for a romantic evening out, you’re sure to find something to love at Navy Pier.
Willis Tower Skydeck
The Willis Tower Skydeck is one of the most iconic attractions in Chicago. Located on the 103rd floor of the Willis Tower, it offers breathtaking views of the city from 1,353 feet above ground level.
One of the highlights of the Skydeck is the Ledge, a glass balcony that extends 4.3 feet out from the building. Visitors can step out onto the balcony and feel like they’re walking on air, with nothing but glass between them and the city below. It’s a thrilling experience that’s not for the faint of heart, but it’s definitely worth it for the incredible views.
In addition to the Ledge, the Skydeck offers a variety of other exhibits and experiences. Visitors can learn about the history of the Willis Tower and the city of Chicago, as well as the engineering behind the building’s construction. The Skydeck also features interactive exhibits that are fun for kids and adults alike.
If you’re visiting the Willis Tower Skydeck, be sure to plan ahead. Lines can be long, especially during peak tourist season, so it’s a good idea to purchase tickets in advance. And if you’re afraid of heights, be prepared to face your fears – but don’t worry, the Skydeck is completely safe and secure.
Overall, the Willis Tower Skydeck is a must-visit attraction for anyone coming to Chicago. It offers a unique perspective on the city and an unforgettable experience that you won’t find anywhere else.
The Shedd Aquarium is one of the largest indoor aquariums in the world and a must-visit attraction in Chicago. Located on the shores of Lake Michigan, it’s home to over 32,000 aquatic animals from around the world.
One of the highlights of the Shedd Aquarium is the Oceanarium, a massive exhibit that features beluga whales, dolphins, sea lions, and other marine animals. Visitors can watch animal feedings, attend animal shows, and even participate in animal encounters. It’s a great way to learn about these fascinating creatures and their natural habitats.
The Shedd Aquarium also features a variety of other exhibits, including the Amazon Rising exhibit, which showcases the diverse and unique ecosystems of the Amazon River. Visitors can also explore the Polar Play Zone, which is designed specifically for kids and features interactive exhibits and play areas.
In addition to its exhibits, the Shedd Aquarium is also known for its commitment to animal conservation and education. The aquarium participates in research and conservation efforts around the world, and its staff is dedicated to educating visitors about the importance of protecting aquatic animals and their habitats.
If you’re visiting the Shedd Aquarium, be sure to plan ahead. Lines can be long, especially during peak tourist season, so it’s a good idea to purchase tickets in advance. And don’t forget to take some time to explore the beautiful lakefront surroundings of the aquarium. It’s a great place to relax and take in the beauty of Lake Michigan.
Overall, the Shedd Aquarium is a must-visit destination in Chicago. Whether you’re a marine life enthusiast or just looking for a fun and educational experience, it’s sure to be a highlight of your trip.
The Field Museum
The Field Museum is a natural history museum that’s home to over 40 million specimens and artifacts. It’s a must-visit destination for anyone interested in dinosaurs, ancient cultures, and natural history.
One of the most famous exhibits at the Field Museum is Sue, the largest and most complete Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton ever discovered. Visitors can stand next to Sue and get a sense of just how massive these creatures were. But the museum isn’t just about dinosaurs – it also features a variety of exhibits on ancient cultures, including the Ancient Egypt exhibit, which showcases the daily life and rituals of ancient Egyptians.
The Field Museum also features a variety of exhibits on natural history and the environment, including the DNA Discovery Center, which explores the science behind genetics and DNA. Visitors can participate in hands-on activities and learn about the role that DNA plays in our lives.
One of the unique aspects of the Field Museum is its commitment to scientific research and conservation. The museum’s staff participates in research and conservation efforts around the world, and they’re dedicated to educating visitors about the importance of protecting our planet and its inhabitants.
If you’re visiting the Field Museum, be sure to give yourself plenty of time to explore. The museum is massive, and there’s so much to see and do. And don’t forget to check out the beautiful architecture of the building itself – it’s a work of art in its own right.
Overall, the Field Museum is a must-visit destination in Chicago. With its impressive collection and commitment to education and conservation, it’s a great place to learn and explore.
Wrigley Field is an iconic baseball stadium located in the heart of Chicago. It’s the home of the Chicago Cubs, and it’s a must-visit destination for any sports fan.
One of the unique aspects of Wrigley Field is its history. The stadium was built in 1914 and has been the home of the Cubs ever since. It’s one of the oldest stadiums in the country, and it’s known for its classic architecture and unique features, such as the ivy-covered outfield walls.
But Wrigley Field isn’t just about baseball. The stadium is also a great place to experience the unique culture and atmosphere of Chicago. Whether you’re enjoying a hot dog and a beer in the stands or taking a stroll through the surrounding neighborhood, there’s something special about the Wrigley Field experience.
In addition to Cubs games, Wrigley Field also hosts a variety of other events throughout the year, including concerts and festivals. And if you’re not able to attend a game, you can still take a tour of the stadium and learn about its history and significance to the city of Chicago.
If you’re visiting Wrigley Field, be sure to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the unique energy of this historic stadium. It’s a must-visit destination for anyone coming to Chicago, whether you’re a die-hard Cubs fan or just looking for a fun and memorable experience.
Lincoln Park Zoo
The Lincoln Park Zoo is a beloved attraction in Chicago that’s perfect for visitors of all ages. Located in the heart of the city, it’s home to over 1,000 animals from around the world.
One of the best things about the Lincoln Park Zoo is that it’s completely free to visit. You can spend the whole day exploring the exhibits and seeing the animals without spending a dime. And there’s plenty to see and do – from the big cats in the Regenstein Cat House to the penguins in the Kovler Penguin-Seabird House, there’s a wide variety of animals to discover.
The Lincoln Park Zoo also offers a variety of educational programs and events throughout the year. You can attend a talk or presentation by one of the zoo’s experts, or participate in a hands-on activity that’s fun for kids and adults alike. And if you’re visiting during the holiday season, don’t miss the ZooLights event, where the entire zoo is decorated with festive lights and displays.
But the Lincoln Park Zoo isn’t just about the animals. It’s also a beautiful park with stunning gardens, sculptures, and historic buildings. It’s a great place to take a stroll and enjoy the beauty of nature. And if you’re visiting during the summer, be sure to check out the Farm-in-the-Zoo exhibit, where you can see farm animals and learn about sustainable agriculture.
Overall, the Lincoln Park Zoo is a must-visit destination in Chicago. Whether you’re a nature lover, an animal enthusiast, or just looking for a fun and free activity, it’s sure to be a highlight of your trip.
The Magnificent Mile
The Magnificent Mile is a bustling shopping and dining destination located in the heart of downtown Chicago. It’s a must-visit destination for anyone looking to experience the best of the city’s shopping and dining scene.
The Magnificent Mile is home to a variety of high-end and boutique stores, including designer clothing, luxury jewelry, and unique home goods. Whether you’re looking for a new outfit or a special gift, you’re sure to find something special on the Magnificent Mile. And if you’re a foodie, you’re in luck – the Magnificent Mile is also home to some of the city’s best restaurants and cafes.
But the Magnificent Mile isn’t just about shopping and dining. It’s also a great place to experience the beauty and architecture of downtown Chicago. You can take a stroll along the tree-lined streets and admire the historic buildings, or take in the stunning views of Lake Michigan from one of the many rooftop bars and restaurants.
In addition to its shops and restaurants, the Magnificent Mile also features a variety of events and festivals throughout the year. From the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival during the holiday season to the Chicago Food and Wine Festival in the summer, there’s always something happening on the Magnificent Mile.
Whether you’re a shopaholic or just looking for a fun and lively atmosphere, the Magnificent Mile is a must-visit destination in Chicago. With its mix of shopping, dining, and entertainment, it’s sure to be a highlight of your trip.
Chicago is a vibrant and exciting city with so much to offer, and the top attractions recommended by TripAdvisor are just the tip of the iceberg. From the stunning views at the Willis Tower Skydeck to the amazing animals at the Shedd Aquarium, there’s something for everyone in Chicago.
Whether you’re a history buff, an art lover, a foodie, or a sports fan, Chicago has it all. And the best part is that many of these top attractions are located in or near downtown, making them easy to visit and explore.
So if you’re planning a trip to Chicago, be sure to add these top attractions to your itinerary. And don’t forget to take some time to explore the city’s neighborhoods, parks, and local culture – you never know what hidden gems you might discover.
- What’s the best time to visit these top attractions in Chicago?
- There’s no one answer to this question, as it depends on what you’re interested in seeing and experiencing. Generally, the summer months are the most popular for tourism in Chicago, as the weather is warm and there are plenty of outdoor events and activities. But if you’re looking to avoid crowds and get better deals on accommodations, you might want to consider visiting during the shoulder seasons in the spring or fall.
- Are these top attractions family-friendly?
- Absolutely! Many of these attractions, such as the Shedd Aquarium and the Lincoln Park Zoo, are specifically designed with families in mind. And even attractions like the Willis Tower Skydeck and the Magnificent Mile can be enjoyed by visitors of all ages.
- Can I purchase tickets in advance for these top attractions?
- Yes, many of these attractions offer the option to purchase tickets online in advance. This can be a great way to save time and avoid long lines, especially during peak tourist season.
- Are these top attractions accessible for visitors with disabilities?
- Yes, many of these attractions offer accommodations for visitors with disabilities, such as wheelchair ramps and accessible exhibits. Be sure to check each attraction’s website or contact them directly for more information on their accessibility options.
- Can I visit all of these top attractions in one day?
- While it’s certainly possible to visit multiple attractions in one day, it might be difficult to fully appreciate and enjoy everything that each attraction has to offer. We recommend taking your time and planning to visit a few attractions each day, or spreading out your visits over the course of several days. This will allow you to fully experience all that these top attractions have to offer.