It’s one thing to gaze at Chicago’s famed skyline, and another altogether to view it on Chicago, Illinois’ popular architecture tour, the Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise aboard Chicago’s First Lady Cruises. See the city’s iconic structures from the perspective of the Chicago River, where the skyline unfolds before you as you learn about each building’s architectural features and place in local history.
Visit the Galapagos, walk through a hall of glittering gems, step inside an earth lodge, or encounter the elaborate masks of the Pacific Islands: There’s so much to see and do at The Field Museum, a world-class natural history museum in the vibrant city of Chicago, Illinois. From temporary exhibits for traveling shows to an extensive collection of artifacts, The Field Museum showcases a variety of habitats, cultures, plants and animals throughout its hallowed halls.
It is at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium, where you can stroll among the winding waters of the Amazon River, the legendary coral reefs of the Caribbean, the coastal beauty of the Pacific Northwest and the icy majesty of the Arctic – all in one visit. Located on the shores of Lake Michigan in the heart of downtown Chicago, Shedd Aquarium will transport you to aquatic wonders from all corners of the globe.
With museums, theaters, parks, gardens and the iconic Centennial Wheel, it’s a perfect complement to the rich history and vibrant energy of Chicago. Navy Pier welcomes new events and features to its beloved location on the Lake Michigan waterfront, reflecting a dynamic city that continues to reinvent itself. There’s something for everyone here, whether you like to shop, ride, sightsee, cruise or stroll.
Although still commonly referred to as Sears Tower, North America's tallest building was renamed Willis Tower in 2009 after Willis Group Holdings, a global insurance broker whose Midwest offices are housed there. In addition to being North America's tallest building, it is the third-tallest building in the entire world. It was constructed in 1974, designed by architect Bruce Graham. The building's Skydeck is a great place to admire a stunning view.
Cloud Gate n Millennium Park is also commonly referred to as "The Bean" because of its bean-like shape. It is one of the largest sculptures of its kind in the world, made from stainless steel plates. The sculpture's surface reflects the city's skyline and people around like a giant mirror.
Grant Park is often referred to as "Chicago’s front yard”, and is popular park among both tourists and locals. It is here that you will find some of the city's most popular attractions, including Buckingham Fountain, Millenium Park and the Art Institute of Chicago. This is also a place where many events take place, like the Chicago Blues Festival and The Taste of Chicago – the largest food festival in the world.
Walking along the lake shore is just one of those things you should not miss when visiting Chicago. Lake Michigan is huge and feels more like a sea (larger in area than Denmark and Croatia). In the summer, people take out boats onto the lake, and go biking, walking or just enjoying the sun along its shore, which creates a beach-like atmosphere. There are lots of activities around, such as sailing, water taxi, early dinner cruises and night cruises.
The Museum of Science and Industry is, at over 37,000 square meters, the largest science museum in the Western Hemisphere, with more than five hectares of exhibits. MSI is a vibrant institution with tons of dynamic displays, interactive exhibits and tours for everyone in your group, both kids and adults.
Chicago Fire Soccer Club is a Major League Soccer (MLS) based in Chicago. The organization is named for the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, and was founded in 1997. In their first league season in 1998, the Fire won the MLS Cup as well as the U.S. Open Cup (the "double"). They have also won U.S. Open Cups in 2000, 2003, and 2006; in addition to the 2003 MLS Supporters' Shield. Toyota Park is the Fire's home stadium. Since the fall of 2011, the Chicago Bliss of the Lingerie Football League have also played in Toyota Park before making the Sears Center their home arena.
Built in 1930, The Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum in Chicago, Illinois, was the first planetarium built in the Western Hemisphere and is the oldest in existence today. From daily programs to exhibitions and special lectures, there are admission passes to fit your individual interests.
Windy City’s extraordinary observatory on the 94th floor of the historic John Hancock Center offers 360-degree views of the iconic Chicago, Illinois skyline and beyond. When the weather is clear, you can see up to 80 kilometers and all the way to four different states. Check out the newly opened TILT experience, which has you step up to a full-length window that slowly tilts from the building right out over the city at a 30-degree angle.
The only public service building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright's prairie period still remaining, Unity Temple is made of reinforced concrete. There are two separates parts to the building: the Unity Temple, for worship, made of high, skylit spaces, and Unity House, an are for congregation social gatherings that is connected by an entry-level foyer. Of the temple, Wright said: "Unity Temple makes an entirely new architecture — and is the first expression of it. That is my contribution to modern architecture". Advanced tickets are recommended.
With over 300,000 works of art in its collection, the museum has something for everyone, and continues to be ranked among the world's best. Look for Edward Hopper’s “Nighthawks” or Georgia O’Keeffe’s “Sky above Clouds” – just a few of the beloved American paintings in the collection. The museum has the largest Impressionist collection outside of Paris, including works by Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet and Georges Seurat, as well as a remarkable international modern and contemporary collections, with art and artifacts spanning 5,000 BC to the present.
With a flexible hop-on, hop-off policy, engaging guides and comfortable, open-top buses, exploring Chicago’s best attractions and sights is as easy as it gets with Big Bus Tours. Choose a one-, or multi-day ticket, and you’ll get the time and the insider’s knowledge to size up the city on your own schedule. Big Bus Tours also offers handicap accessibility, pre-recorded Spanish audio tours and even a free cup of hand-roasted coffee from one of Chicago’s finest, Corner Bakery. No worries if you want to spend hours at landmark attractions such as Navy Pier or Millennium Park; stops are frequent and many, making it possible for you to experience the key destinations in Chicago on your own terms.
Bordering Chicago, north along the shores of Lake Michigan, find numerous attractions including the Chicago Botanic Garden, the Baha’i House of Worship and the Illinois Holocaust Museum. Chicago’s elevated train brings you to Evanston, a lively city that’s home to Northwestern University.
Travel back in time on Route 66, nicknamed ‘America’s Main Street’. Revisit history along the Illinois & Michigan Canal, which is lined with state parks, historic sites and landscapes from rolling hills to bluffs. Discover the steep sandstone canyons and wooded trails of Starved Rock State Park.
Uno first started in Chicago in 1943, when Ike Sewell developed deep dish pizza and opened a new type of restaurant at the corner of Ohio & Wabash. It was here that Ike served a pizza unlike any other that had been served before. When people tasted it, they wanted more of the same, and lines have been forming ever since.
In 1994, Frontera Grill was ranked the world's third-best casual dining restaurant by the International Herald Tribune. In 2007, Frontera Grill won the James Beard Foundation's "Outstanding Restaurant" award, designating it the best restaurant in the U.S. In 2011, the Chicago Sun-Times called it "a study in the art of Mexican cookery". Frontera Grill uses beautiful ingredients, often organic and custom-grown, to bring diners the bold flavors and immediate freshness that jump off the tongue–just as they do in Mexico.
Named after the famous football player and coach Mike Ditka, Ditka's is a restaurant and steakhouse like no other. Their portions are large enough to satisfy a linebacker but have a fresh and unique American flair. Handcrafted drinks and unique beers are the perfect opener to your meal; make sure to try their crab cakes and Da Pork Chop, a six-point Berkshire pork chop that is melt-in-your-mouth delicious. Reservations are recommended - and who knows, you just might see the Coach while dining there.
Indulge in authentic Spanish tapas at Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba. The menu also offers other traditional dishes like paella, and, to wash it all down, try the Spanish drink sangria. Every Saturday and Sunday, a Spanish brunch is served. This is a restaurant where you can enjoy quality food for a reasonable price.
Located in the Wicker Park / Bucktown neighborhood of Chicago, this locally-owned coffee shop roasts all of its own coffee beans. Affordable breakfasts and lunches are made to order, with vegetarian options available. The cafe also displays works by local artists. Free Wi-Fi available.
Bridgeport Coffee Company was founded in 2004. They roast their own coffee beans, which are sold to coffee bars and restaurants in Chicago and throughout the U.S. With a commitment to providing organic, fair trade products, Bridgeport Coffee Company has been named the Best Coffee Shop in Chicago by TimeOut Chicago. Also serves breakfast and lunch.
Julius Meinl brings the atmosphere of a Viennese coffee house to Chicago. A well-known brand in Vienna, Austria and Central Europe, Julius Meinl Coffee is served in many leading cafes in Vienna. They also offer delicious Viennese dishes and pastries from the Julius Meinl Patisserie.
Indulgence and variety are the key words to define Grand Lux Cafe. Their menu features dishes from across the globe, including Thai, Malaysian, Caribbean, European, and classic American. Aside from ample portions that are perfect for sharing, Grand Lux Cafe also features several signature drinks and a wide selection of spirits to enhance your meal.
The Cubby Bear is located right across the street from Wrigley Field, and anyone hanging out in one of the club's private rooms has a view of the field. This is the place to be to catch all of the action after a Cubs game. Live bands perform regularly. Check the club's website for a list of performances. This late-night venue also serves lunch.
This is the place to go for live blues music. Kingston Mines has been around since 1968, and this is one blues locale that really delivers. Stay all night, since the music doesn't stop, with bands rotating on two stages until 3:30 a.m. Kingston Mines also has a late-night kitchen serving a full menu. Make sure to try the BBQ ribs.
With nearly nightly live shows, Metro has been a staple of the Chicago music scene since it first opened in 1982, and has hosted major acts as well as promoted up-and-coming artists from the Chicago area and all over the nation. Smart Bar is located on the basement floor of Metro and follows the same principle of promoting artists on the rise. Come here Wednesday through Sunday nights to dance to some of the hottest DJs Chicago has to offer.
Owner of Three Dots and a Dash Paul McGee is one of Chicago's favorite mixologist. His newest bar centers around a 16 drink menu, focusing on eight classics and eight new creations, and has a Hawaiian tiki bar feel. Make sure to try the famous Painkiller No. 3 and enjoy some snacks. It's a great place to mingle with Chicagoans. You must be 21 years old or older to enter.
When mixologist Alex Bachman and Yusho eatery chef Matthias Merges joined forces, they created Billy Sunday, a cozy, high concept cocktail bar. Their drink menu features unique ingredients such as quince, grenadine, and ambergris-laced palm sugar; their food menu has items like pig ears and a chicken liver spread. Each of their 10 signature drinks feature different spirits. If you prefer more straight up beverages, they are able to accommodate all tastes.
Located in the Acme Hotel, the Berkshire Room is a popular night spot for Chicagoans. Benjamin Schiller’s Blue Collar Lagers menu has become famous for its variety and delicious offers. Executive Chef Chris Curren offers delicious food to complement the fantastic drink menu. Try the the Dealer’s Choice: you choose the liquor, flavor, and glassware, and the bartender crafts your drink from there.
Parson's Chicken & Fish is a delightful bar that features a friendly outdoor atmosphere (weather and season permitting) and a great mix of food and drinks. Signature Negroni Slushies are a popular item. If you don't try a Negroni Slushie, then opt for a Smoky Paloma; its ingredients include tequila, St. Germain, lime juice, San Pellegrino Pompelmo, mezcal, and salt.
An assortment of chic, funky shops extend for several blocks west on Broadway, and north and south on Clark Street. Vintage clothing shops, stylish one-of-a-kind boutiques, and edgy shops with motorcycle gear inspired clothes and accessories all converge in these few blocks.
Having undergone several renovations over the years, this four-story mall located in historical Old Town Chicago was originally built in the 1970s. In addition to containing restaurants and shops, it is also the home to Second City, the renowned improvisational comedy group that has launched the careers of several famous comedians, such as SNL stars Chris Farley, John Belushi, Dan Akroyd and Tina Fey as well as "The Office" star Steve Carell. Catch a show today to glimpse tomorrow's comedy stars.
Part gallery, part boutique mall, find virtually everything at one of the nearly 100 locally-owned shops located at Andersonville Galleria. Located in Chicago's Andersonville neighborhood, it features deli, clothing, accessories, and home furnishings at some of its unique stores.
This seven-level vertical shopping center was originally built as a 3,000-seat theater in the 1920s. It now houses a seven-screen theater complex housed on the center's upper floors as well as the Aveda Institute of Chicago, a CVS pharmacy and shops offering personal services. Parking is available in the garage adjacent to the mall.
Surround yourself with fashion, food, and fun with the most distinctive collection of shopping, dining and entertainment. Woodfield has the finest collection of department stores and specialty shops in the Great Lakes region including Nordstrom, Macy's, Lord & Taylor, JCPenney, Sears and nearly 300 stores and restaurants.
What makes Garrett Popcorn special? They hot air pop their signature blend of kernels, which they then mix into their secret family recipes. Every batch is handmade daily and the result is an irresistible snacking sensation, which has generated lines of historic proportions outside of their retail locations for decades.
If you have a daughter, niece, or relative who is a fan of dolls, you must stop and visit the American Girl Place while in Chicago. Specializing in custom dolls to fit given physical descriptions as well as story-centric dolls, American Girl has the perfect gift for any little girl. Choose from hundreds of options including skin color, hair color and style, outfit, eye color, and a plethora of other options. Also on-site is a restaurant, photo studio, doll hair salon, and plenty of souvenirs. Check their website before visiting for special offers.
Dive headfirst into some of the best shopping in town at the Fashion Outlets of Chicago, located only 24 kilometers from downtown Chicago. This expansive, indoor outlet destination is packed with over 130 designer stores featuring savings of up to 75% off. Anchored by Bloomingdale’s The Outlet Store, Neiman Marcus Last Call, Nordstrom Rack, Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th and Forever 21, the Fashion Outlets stands apart as the only multi-level shopping outlet in the U.S. Midwest.
Citizens of the Schengen countries, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the Kingdom of Brunei can visit the United States for up to 90 days without applying for a visa (as well as citizens of Andorra, Lichtenstein, Monaco and San Marino). Citizens of these countries must obtain an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) before traveling. All other travelers must obtain a visa before visiting the United States. International travelers need a passport that is valid for at least 3 months after the end of their intended trip in order to enter the country.
Chicago has two airports: O’Hare International Airport and Midway Airport. O’Hare is approximately 18 miles (30 km) northwest of the city center. Midway Airport is 6.5 miles (10 km) southwest of the city center. The Blue Line train takes passengers to and from O’Hare and downtown Chicago and runs 24 hours a day. The Orange Line train takes passengers to and from Midway airport and downtown Chicago and also runs 24 hours. Taxis take about 20-30 minutes to get to the city center.
Contrary to what its nickname – "Windy City" – implies, winds aren't too much of a concern of a concern, and the nickname itself ties in with Chicago's political history more than its climate. The best times to visit are around Christmas season (for the festive lights and holiday atmosphere), or, if higher temperatures are what you prefer, any time from late spring (April) to early fall.
Chicago has an excellent system of trains, buses and a commuter rail. Pay in cash on the bus and in exact change. Transit cards may be purchased at selected outlets, which eliminates the hassle of needing exact change. You may also call and get exact directions on public transport to and from any destination in the city. RTA Travel Information service is available seven days a week, including holidays, 04.45-1.00 for travel information on CTA, PACE, and Metra.