Whatever your hobbies are, this no-nonsense Midwestern metropolis has something for everyone. The top things to do in Chicago range from tremendously entertaining to quite informative. Are you looking for culture? Spend the day visiting museums in Chicago. Hungry? You’ve arrived at the perfect place, for Chicago is known for its delectable cuisine. There are numerous fantastic restaurants in Chicago that showcase the city’s rich and diverse culinary environment.
There are also plenty of uniquely Chicago bars that do the trick. We roamed the city to compile this list of the greatest things to do in Chicago. Follow it, and you’ll never be bored here again.
Chicago has everything you’d expect from a major city, including world-class museums, busy shopping areas, and a plethora of nightlife options. If you’re here to learn, spend some time around Grant Park, which is home to the Art Institute of Chicago and The Field Museum.
Start your visit with an architecture river tour – which can provide context on Chicago’s famed skyscrapers like the Willis Tower and Tribune Tower – before exploring the city’s innovative roots at the Museum of Science and Industry for a more Windy City-centric education. And make time for some of the city’s must-see attractions, such as seeing a game at Wrigley Field and window shopping on The Magnificent Mile.
Go Shopping on Magnificent Mile
Walking around the city’s most famous shopping district is another of the coolest things to do in Chicago.
The Magnificent Mile is a portion of Michigan Avenue that features opulent boutiques, fashion outlets, fine dining, and opulent hotels. The Chicago Water Tower, the Wrigley Building, and, of course, the John Hancock Center can all be found along the Boulevard.
It’s also a great area to go shopping at one of the three big shopping complexes or to participate in interesting activities like an escape room adventure at The Escape Game’s neighboring site.
Get Away from the Hustle and Bustle of City Life
A visit to Chicago would be incomplete without a trip to Millennium Park. This 24.5-acre park in the Loop, just north of the Art Institute of Chicago, is utilized to showcase cutting-edge art, architecture, and landscaping; it also serves as a backdrop for concerts and festivals. The Crown Fountain and Cloud Gate, sometimes known as “The Bean,” attract the majority of tourists to Millennium Park.
The Crown Fountain, designed by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa, consists of two 50-foot towers that face one other at opposite sides of a modest reflecting pool. From May through October, the LED screens on the towers project the faces of 1,000 individual Chicago citizens, which are perfectly coordinated with spouts and appear to spit water on visitors. Cloud Gate is a 110-ton stainless steel bean-shaped sculpture made by British artist Anish Kapoor. The elliptical shape of the Bean echoes the Chicago skyline.
Wander Along the Chicago Riverwalk
Millennium Park isn’t the only wonderful area to take a stroll. The historic Chicago Riverwalk allows you to stroll along the lovely river that runs through the city. The Riverwalk may appear to be just another pedestrian beachfront at first sight, but it is much more. You can drink at several cool outdoor pubs or eat at one of the many restaurants along the waterfront. You may also visit a museum dedicated to the Chicago River or locate some very cool outdoor art galleries along the trail.
Do a Chicago River kayak tour or any other enjoyable boat tours if you’re looking for more adventurous activities.
Discover The Hip West Loop Neighborhood
The next location you should visit is probably not what you expect to find in the city.
West Loop, formerly an industrial zone, is today a fashionable neighborhood noted for its excellent food and nightlife options. Most of the buildings in West Loop were once warehouses and are now home to some of Chicago’s best eateries. Fulton Market, in particular, has become a favorite hangout for many residents due to its cool industrial ambiance.
Sawada Coffee is one of the many restaurants or cafés available, and I highly recommend it. This funky coffee shop inside a graffitied structure is the ideal location for a delicious cup of coffee. If you don’t drink coffee, try their special Matcha Latte named “Military Latte” – you’ll love it!
Noyane Rooftop Bar is a great place to unwind after a long day
To be sure, the LondonHouse rooftop bar and, especially, the scenery from up there is difficult to beat. Noyane on the rooftop of the Conrad Chicago is another fantastic option.
Although it cannot compete with the LondonHouse rooftop vistas, the vibe is at least as wonderful, if not better. Modern furnishings, a pleasant fire pit, and a spacious bar area where you can order practically any type of drink are all available. If you become hungry, don’t be afraid to sample some of the Japanese-Peruvian restaurant’s high-end cuisine.
At Navy Pier, you can ride the Ferris Wheel
It’s time to depart the city center and head toward Lake Michigan for the next site on the itinerary. Navy Pier is a 1-kilometer-long pier on the lake’s edge.
Because there are so many great outdoor attractions, you could easily spend a whole day at this pier. A sensory maze, a botanical garden, a musical carousel, and the Chicago Children’s Museum are just a few examples.
The Chicago Ferris Wheel is located in the heart of the pier and is difficult to miss. While rotating at a leisurely speed, this 60-meter-high structure gives some of the best skyline vistas. Single ride tickets are $12 for youngsters and $19 for adults. It’s not inexpensive, but it’s a lot of fun, and the view of the city skyline from the lake is spectacular.
View of the City from the Willis Tower Skydeck
The following exercise is not for the faint of heart or those afraid of heights.
Tall skyscrapers in Chicago include the John Hancock Center and the Trump Tower. The Willis Tower, though, outperforms them all. This more than 440-meter-high skyscraper was completed in 1973 and remained the highest structure in the world for about 25 years after its construction.
The “Skydeck” observation deck is on the 103rd floor. To get there, you must ride an elevator that takes only 60 seconds to reach the top. You can really feel the change in pressure throughout the ascent, which can be a little unnerving. You’ll quickly realize why the Skydeck is one of Chicago’s most recognized attractions once you reach the 103rd floor. Of course, most people come here to take in the breathtaking scenery, but there’s more to discover.