Chicago's Best Attractions: Iconic, Must-See Places around the City

Megy Karydes

By , Local Expert, Chicago
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One of the best ways to see Chicago’s many attractions is by boat. The Chicago Architecture Foundation’s River Cruise takes visitors along the Chicago River while knowledgeable docents share the history of Chicago, its architecture and how it became one of the world's most important crossroads of today.

Another option to see the sites from the museums located on the Museum Campus, including Adler Planetarium, the Shedd Aquarium and the Field Museum to the Lincoln Park Zoo, is to rent a Divvy bike for just $7 which gives you 24 hour bike sharing access.

Using Chicago’s Lakefront Trail, it’s easily possible to stop along the...  Read more »

  • 1

    Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise

    CAF River Cruise tours takes visitors along the north and south shores of Lake Michigan and learn the significance of more than 50 buildings.

    Local Expert Tip: "Tickets sell out fast so book them as soon as you can."

  • 2

    Millennium Park

    Chicago's crown jewel next to Lake Michigan, listen to free concerts, take a photo with 'The Bean' or meander through beautiful Lurie Garden.

    Local Expert Tip: "The ice skating rink is open to the public and is free if you have your own skates. Rentals are available at the rink for a $10 charge."

  • 3

    Lincoln Park Zoo

    The free zoo is set within the heart of Chicago and is open 365 days. Visitors can enjoy seeing the animals in award-winning habitats.

    Local Expert Tip: "Check the website for announcements on new arrivals. Everyone loves those newborns!"

  • 4

    Chicago Lakefront Trail

    One of Chicago's best free attractions, the 18.5 mile linear path stretches from one part of the city to the other.

    Local Expert Tip: "Metered parking is available at almost all of the parks along the trail."

  • 5

    Second City

    The Second City has launched some of the biggest names in the business including Tina Fey and Dan Aykroyd.

    Local Expert Tip: "Laughter is the best medicine."

  • 6

    John Hancock Center

    Visitors can enjoy views up to 80 miles from Chicago on a clear day and get to experience TILT, Chicago's newest viewing attraction.

    Local Expert Tip: "For an unbeatable view of Chicago at night, visit the Signature Lounge."

  • 7

    John G. Shedd Aquarium

    Animal encounter experiences allow guests visiting the Shedd Aquarium to get close to belugas and penguins.

    Local Expert Tip: "Avoid waiting in line by getting there early on weekdays or using CityPASS."

  • 8

    Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum

    On family-friendly Far Out Fridays, visitors get to see shows, view the night sky and learn how to set up and use a telescope.

    Local Expert Tip: "Fly your own spaceship."

  • 9

    Art Institute of Chicago

    Visitors to the Art Institute of Chicago can view the haunting "American Gothic" and Seurat's groundbreaking Pointillist work.

    Local Expert Tip: "Check out the world's largest Monet collection."

  • 10

    Chicago Food Planet Tours

    Chicago Food Planet Tours takes visitors to one of three neighborhoods where you'll learn about both food...  Read more »

    Local Expert Tip: "Go on an empty stomach because you'll be full by the end of the tour!"



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