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What to Do in Chicago: Must See Attractions

Chicago Attractions

People head to the Windy City for more than just pizza , as they should. In the summer you can claim part of the Lake Michigan shoreline, and when temperatures dip Millennium Park opens up an ice skating rink. From fine dining to world-class shopping , there are plenty of fun things to do in Chicago, Illinois. Of course, the Chicago art and culture scene is also quite the draw, bringing in all types of travelers from around the globe. You’re bound to leave Chicago with a full stomach and lots to talk about.

Areas & Neighborhoods in Chicago

Chicago is a city of diverse neighborhoods, each with its own flavor. The heartland sure isn’t bland and cookie-cutter, at least in The Windy City. No, Chicago is teeming with cultures from around the globe and plenty of food to please any palate.

Chinatown — On the south side of Chicago, Chinatown serves up authentic gastronomy and landmarks in near equal measure. This cultural haven is among the top attractions in Chicago; once you enter through the eye-catching Chinatown Gate, savor the sights and sounds of this bustling area and examine the tile mosaic art.

Hyde Park — Hyde Park hosted the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, and it has been welcoming visitors with open arms (and a bounty of good eats) ever since. The historically significant neighborhood is home to architecture designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and the University of Chicago.

Lincoln Park — This north-side neighborhood is a favorite for shoppers and outdoor enthusiasts. Armitage Avenue is characterized by small boutiques, but you can still find upscale stores right around the corner. The area of Lincoln Park also has an actual park by the same name, where you can stroll through the free zoo or picnic somewhere on the 1,200-acre space.

Streeterville — This waterfront is best known as the home of Navy Pier, where you can partake in amusement rides and more. The area has more to offer than the pier, however, so it’s also a good stop if you want to indulge in fine dining or stop by a contemporary art museum.

What to See in Chicago

If you trekked to Chicago with camera in hand, there are plenty of things to see in Chicago. The Willis Tower Skydeck offers stunning views of the city from the glass-bottomed ledge of its 103rd floor. Iconic buildings like the John Hancock Center and Tribune Tower are also worth a photo or two. More than 200 theaters are littered throughout Chicago, including The Chicago Theatre and The Second City comedy club, so you can take in a show any night of the week.

More Attractions in Chicago

From hang-gliding to diving into a Chicago-style pizza , you will never run out of things to do in Chicago. The Magnificent Mile is an impressive stretch of nearly 500 stores and hundreds of restaurants, so you can easily fill a day here. When weather permits, hit the links at local greens like the Jackson Park Golf Course. From the evening until the wee hours of the morning, night owls can burn plenty of calories on the dancefloors of downtown nightclubs. You should also embark on one of the many Chicago tours, which help you see the city by Segway®, bicycle, boat tour, or foot.

Free Things to Do in Chicago

Traveling on a shoestring budget in Chicago? Spend time, not money, on fabulous experiences.

Chicago Fed Visitors Center - Check if there are any special displays or tours on at this fascinating museum.

Miró's Chicago - Feed your arts and culture cravings here and witness local creativity at work.

Northerly Island Park - If you'd love to turn up the dial on fun during your escape, this is a great place to do it.

Kluczynski Building - Drop by this landmark and be wowed by its impressive design.

Marquette Building - If you're intrigued by history, this is one attraction you shouldn't miss.

Chicago Riverwalk - Discover why tourists and locals alike are enchanted by the unique vibe of this place.

Four Seasons - Widely renowned among the locals, this site is worth stopping by.

Chicago Loop Synagogue - Whatever your beliefs, this place is sure to inspire a sense of reverence in you.

Ohio Street Beach - Take a nice, relaxing stroll by the water and perhaps even dip your toes in.

Millennium Park - Cultivate your green thumb and explore the wide range of plants on display.

Explore The Neighborhoods of Chicago

Downtown Chicago

The heart of the Midwest’s glittering metropolis has many offerings, from shopping and dining to parks, museums and exciting contemporary public art.

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The Loop

Bordered roughly by the surrounding elevated train circuit, this Chicago neighborhood has restaurants, galleries, parks and a giant silver bean.

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Magnificent Mile

Shopaholics need look no further this glittering street packed with boutique and luxury shops, famous department stores and cafes.

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River North

Known for its fantastic nightlife, stunning river views, and popular shops, there's plenty to explore in River North. Top attractions like House of Blues Chicago and Chicago Riverwalk are major draws. Catch the metro at Chicago Station (Brown Line) or Merchandise Mart Station to see more of the city.

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Gold Coast

Enjoy upscale shopping, varied dining experiences and waterfront walks at this affluent suburb set on the shores of Lake Michigan.

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Lakeview

Known for its great bars and fantastic lake views, there's plenty to explore in Lakeview. You can visit top attractions like Wrigley Field and Vic Theatre, and jump on the metro at Addison Station (Red Line) or Belmont Station (Red Line) to see more of the city.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What to do in Chicago on a sunny day?

What is Chicago famous for?

Get set to be busy with all of these landmarks to tick off your must-see list:

  • Wrigley Field
  • Millennium Park
  • McCormick Place
  • Willis Tower

What should I not miss in Chicago?

You just can't go home without crossing off the following superb sights:

  • Navy Pier
  • Soldier Field
  • Grant Park
  • John G. Shedd Aquarium

What can you do in Chicago for free?

You'll hardly have time to pull your wallet out of your bag with so many free things to do:

  • Millennium Park
  • University of Chicago
  • John Hancock Center
  • Northwestern University