23 Things To Do In Chicago

Things To Do In Chicago

Welcome to Chicago, a city renowned for its stunning architecture, rich history, and vibrant cultural scene. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned local looking for new experiences, Chicago offers an array of activities that cater to every interest. From exploring world-class museums and enjoying live performances to indulging in culinary delights and embracing outdoor adventures, the Windy City promises memorable experiences around every corner. In this blog post, we’ll dive into an extensive list of things to do in Chicago, ensuring you make the most out of your visit to this bustling metropolis.

Things To Do In Chicago

  1. Explore Millennium Park

Millennium Park is a modern, beautifully landscaped area at the heart of Chicago’s downtown. The park is famous for the Cloud Gate, also known as “The Bean,” a massive, reflective sculpture that has become one of Chicago’s most photographed landmarks. Here, you can catch free concerts at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, a state-of-the-art outdoor music venue designed by Frank Gehry. During the summer, the park’s Lurie Garden bursts into a riot of colors, while winter months turn it into a wonderland with an ice skating rink. Whether it’s snapping a selfie in front of The Bean, enjoying a picnic, or attending an outdoor concert, Millennium Park offers a perfect blend of art, nature, and entertainment.

  1. Visit The Art Institute of Chicago

The Art Institute of Chicago is one of the oldest and largest art museums in the United States. Home to thousands of artworks, the museum boasts an impressive collection ranging from ancient artifacts to contemporary art. Highlights include Georges Seurat’s “A Sunday on La Grande Jatte,” Grant Wood’s “American Gothic,” and an extensive collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings. The museum’s modern wing, designed by Renzo Piano, features cutting-edge exhibitions and installations. A visit here isn’t just about viewing art; it’s an immersive experience that offers deep dives into the world of creativity spanning centuries and continents.

  1. Take a Chicago Riverwalk

The Chicago Riverwalk is a lively and scenic promenade that offers a unique perspective of the city from the banks of the Chicago River. This waterfront walkway is lined with cafes, bars, and shops, making it a favorite spot for both locals and tourists. You can enjoy a variety of activities such as boat tours, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding. The Riverwalk also hosts many public art installations and seasonal activities, which contribute to its vibrant atmosphere. Taking a stroll here provides not only a relaxing break from the bustling city life but also offers picturesque views of Chicago’s famed skyscrapers and bridges.

  1. Discover the Museum of Science and Industry

Located in the Hyde Park neighborhood, the Museum of Science and Industry is one of the largest science museums in the world. It is renowned for its hands-on exhibits that cover everything from space travel to weather phenomena. Highlights include a World War II German submarine, a 40-foot tornado simulation, and the Science Storms exhibit where you can experiment with natural forces. The museum also offers an array of engaging workshops and demonstrations, making it a perfect educational destination for both children and adults. Whether you’re interested in exploring a real submarine or experiencing the thrill of a simulated tornado, this museum promises an exciting day out filled with learning and fun.

  1. Enjoy a Show at The Chicago Theatre

The Chicago Theatre is an iconic venue in the heart of the city known for its dazzling marquee and classic architecture. Originally opened in 1921 as a luxurious movie palace, it now hosts a variety of live performances including concerts, comedy shows, and theatrical productions. The interior of the theatre, with its grand lobby and beautiful auditorium decorated with murals and plush seating, is just as impressive as the performances it hosts. Taking in a show at The Chicago Theatre isn’t just about the entertainment; it’s also about experiencing a piece of Chicago’s rich cultural history.

  1. Walk Through Lincoln Park Zoo

Lincoln Park Zoo is one of the oldest zoos in North America and remains free to the public year-round. It houses an impressive array of animals from around the world, including big cats, polar bears, and reptiles. The zoo is set in the larger Lincoln Park and offers not only animal exhibits but also beautifully landscaped gardens and ponds. It’s a fantastic place for families, providing educational programs and exciting wildlife encounters that are sure to delight visitors of all ages. Whether you’re watching the playful antics of monkeys or enjoying a serene stroll through the park, Lincoln Park Zoo offers a natural retreat from the urban hustle.

  1. Experience Navy Pier

Navy Pier extends over Lake Michigan and offers a variety of attractions suitable for all ages. It’s home to the iconic Centennial Wheel, which provides stunning views of the city skyline and lake. The pier also features a children’s museum, a beautiful botanical garden, and an array of shops, restaurants, and seasonal outdoor entertainment. From catching a wave on a boat tour to enjoying live music and international cuisine, Navy Pier is a hub of excitement and entertainment. This landmark is particularly vibrant during the summer when fireworks light up the sky twice a week.

  1. Admire the Views from Willis Tower Skydeck

The Willis Tower Skydeck offers breathtaking views from the 103rd floor of one of the tallest buildings in the Western Hemisphere. Step onto The Ledge, a glass box that extends four feet from the building, if you dare to look straight down 1,353 feet. This experience is not only about the thrill but also offers a panoramic view of up to four states on a clear day. It’s a perfect opportunity for photography enthusiasts and anyone who wants to get a bird’s eye view of the entire city layout.

  1. Visit the Field Museum

The Field Museum is a premier natural history museum and a treasure trove of ancient artifacts and biological specimens. Famous for housing Sue, the largest and most complete Tyrannosaurus rex ever discovered, the museum also features extensive anthropological collections, such as Ancient Egyptian tombs and the cultures of the Americas. The Field Museum provides a fascinating glimpse into the natural world and ancient civilizations, making it an enlightening visit for anyone interested in the past and the environmental challenges of the future.

  1. Catch a Game at Wrigley Field

Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs, is one of the oldest ballparks in the United States and a sacred site for baseball fans. Catching a game here is a quintessential Chicago experience, complete with traditional ballpark food and spirited cheers. Even when games aren’t being played, you can tour the historic stadium to learn about its past and get a behind-the-scenes look at the Friendly Confines. Whether you’re a sports fan or just curious about American culture, a visit to Wrigley Field is not to be missed.

  1. Tour the Chicago Cultural Center

The Chicago Cultural Center is a stunning architectural landmark, known for its dazzling stained glass domes — one of which is the largest Tiffany glass dome in the world. The center hosts free cultural events, including music, dance, and theater performances, as well as art exhibitions. It’s a hub of artistic activity and a testament to the city’s commitment to cultural enrichment. Exploring the Chicago Cultural Center gives visitors a chance to see the vibrant local arts scene and engage with the community in a meaningful way.

  1. Stroll Through the Garfield Park Conservatory

Garfield Park Conservatory, one of the largest and most stunning botanical conservatories in the nation, offers visitors a lush tropical environment year-round. Its several rooms are dedicated to different climates, featuring everything from desert plants to ancient ferns. The conservatory also hosts educational programs and seasonal flower shows, making it a vibrant center for natural beauty. Walking through this green oasis, especially in the colder months, can be a rejuvenating escape from the urban chill.

  1. Experience the Magic at the Chicago Magic Lounge

Chicago Magic Lounge brings a touch of mystery and delight with its magician acts and sleight-of-hand performances. Hidden behind a laundromat, this venue revives the city’s historical connection to the art of magic. Guests can enjoy a night of cocktails and illusions, where magicians perform both on stage and up-close, offering a personal and engaging experience. The ambiance, reminiscent of a 1920s speakeasy, makes this an ideal spot for an evening out with a twist of enchantment.

  1. Take a Bite of History with a Chicago Food Tour

Chicago is renowned for its culinary scene, which includes iconic dishes like deep-dish pizza, Italian beef sandwiches, and Chicago-style hot dogs. A Chicago food tour can take you through the city’s best eateries, from historic diners to trendy restaurants. Tours often focus on specific neighborhoods, offering a taste of local culture along with delicious bites. This is a fantastic way to learn about the city’s diverse culinary landscape and history while indulging in some of its best flavors.

  1. Ride the Ferris Wheel at Maggie Daley Park

Maggie Daley Park is a modern recreational area connected to Millennium Park via the BP Pedestrian Bridge. The park features a climbing wall, mini-golf, and an ice skating ribbon that winds through winter wonderland scenery. Its centerpiece, however, is a whimsical Ferris wheel that offers scenic views of the lakefront and city skyline. This park is especially popular with families but offers fun and relaxation for visitors of all ages, making it a lively spot for outdoor activities in the heart of the city.

  1. Discover Contemporary Art at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago is a premier venue for cutting-edge art, hosting an impressive collection of modern works. The museum not only displays art from around the world but also offers performances, film screenings, and artist talks. It’s a place where contemporary life meets contemporary art, providing visitors with new ways of seeing and thinking about the world around them. The museum’s dynamic exhibitions and public programs make it a key destination for art lovers and cultural explorers alike.

  1. Enjoy Jazz at the Green Mill Cocktail Lounge

Green Mill Cocktail Lounge is a historic jazz club that harks back to the days of Prohibition and Al Capone. Today, it hosts some of the best jazz performances in the city, ranging from big band to bebop. The atmosphere here is truly vintage, complete with an old-school decor and a buzzing vibe. Whether you’re a jazz aficionado or just looking for a night out with a difference, the Green Mill offers a deep dive into Chicago’s rich musical heritage.

  1. Attend the Chicago Architecture Biennial

The Chicago Architecture Biennial provides a platform for innovative architectural ideas and showcases projects by some of the world’s leading designers and architects. Held every two years, it includes exhibitions, full-scale installations, and talks that take place across various venues, including the Chicago Cultural Center. This event not only highlights global architectural trends but also explores social, environmental, and historical issues through the lens of design. For anyone interested in architecture and urban planning, this biennial is a must-visit for its thought-provoking content and creative inspiration.

  1. Explore the International Museum of Surgical Science

The International Museum of Surgical Science, a lesser-known gem located in a historic mansion on Lake Shore Drive, houses an extensive collection of medical artifacts, including ancient surgical instruments and paintings that depict the history of medicine. The museum’s exhibits cover a range of topics from anatomy to pharmacology, providing insights into the evolution of medical sciences. This unique museum offers a compelling look at the history and advancements in surgery and medical technology, making it a fascinating stop for those with an interest in science and medicine.

  1. Watch a Show at the Second City

The Second City is an iconic comedy club known as the birthplace of many famous comedians and actors, including Bill Murray, Tina Fey, and Steve Carell. Located in the Old Town neighborhood, this venue offers nightly shows featuring improv, sketch comedy, and stand-up performances. Attending a show at The Second City gives you a taste of cutting-edge comedy and perhaps a glimpse of future stars. The energetic atmosphere and constant laughter make for an unforgettable night out.

  1. Visit the National Museum of Mexican Art

Located in the heart of the Pilsen neighborhood, the National Museum of Mexican Art showcases 3,000 years of Mexican art and culture, from ancient artifacts to contemporary installations. It’s the largest museum of its kind in the U.S. and is committed to preserving and presenting the richness of Mexican art and culture with free admission year-round. The museum’s vibrant exhibitions and community events, such as the annual Day of the Dead celebration, offer visitors a deep dive into the traditions and artistic expressions of Mexican heritage.

  1. Kayak on the Chicago River

Kayaking on the Chicago River offers an active and refreshing way to see the city from a new perspective. Several outfitters along the river rent kayaks and offer guided tours that navigate through the heart of the city’s stunning skyline. Paddling along the river, you’ll see famous landmarks from the water and learn about the city’s architectural history while getting a bit of exercise. This activity is perfect for those looking to combine adventure with sightseeing.

  1. Unwind at the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool

The Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool, located in Lincoln Park, is a hidden oasis designed in the Prairie School style. This tranquil spot is perfect for those seeking a quiet retreat from the city’s hustle and bustle. The pool features native plants, a picturesque stone pavilion, and a meandering path around the pond, which is often dotted with blooming lilies. It’s a favorite spot for nature lovers, photographers, and anyone looking to relax amidst natural beauty.


Chicago is a city that never fails to impress, with its eclectic mix of cultural attractions, historical sites, and dynamic entertainment options. Whether you’ve spent your day marveling at art in a museum, laughing at a comedy show, or kayaking down the Chicago River, the city offers countless ways to create lasting memories. We hope this guide to the top things to do in Chicago helps you plan an itinerary as exciting and diverse as the city itself. Remember, every corner of Chicago holds something unique to discover, so don’t hesitate to explore and let the Windy City charm you in every possible way.

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