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30 best Chicago attractions you need to see

Chicago is arguably one of the best tourist attractions in the world. It boasts of beautiful museums, vast city parks, sightseeing venues, soaring skyscrapers, and more. Here is a quick guide on the 30 best Chicago attractions you need to see.

Millennium Park

This is a 24.5-acre park that offers public art and free concerts. You can take a selfie at the cloud gate (the Bean) or stroll through Lucie gardens. During winter, you can skate at McCormick Ice Rink or catch a free concert at Frank Jay Pavilion. 

Art Institute of Chicago

This is a world-class museum that contains thousands of artworks. The pieces include photography, paints, decorative arts, sculptures, textiles, and architectural drawings. This building was built in 1893 and has stood the test of time. 

Buckingham Fountain

Buckingham is the largest fountain in the world. It was built in 1927 using the iconic art deco style. The fountain has four seahorses that represent the bordering states of Lake Michigan. After dusk, the fountain is accompanied by lights. 

Navy Pier

This is an amusement area and one of the best Chicago attractions. It consists of concert venues, attractions, shops, gardens, and restaurants. Visitors can catch a live performance at Chicago Shakespeare Theater or watch a film at 3D IMAX Theater. The Navy Pier hosts year-round festivities and offers sightseeing excursions. 

John Hancock Center

The Hancock is a 344-foot skyscraper that appears in almost every movie shot in Chicago. On the 94th floor, you can view almost every corner of the city. 

Museum of Science and Industry

This museum is devoted to industrial and technological development. Visitors can interact with thousands of exhibits that date back to the 19th century. Some of the popular exhibits include extreme ice, Moore’s Fairy Castle, coal mine, etc. 

Lincoln Park Zoo

Lincoln Park Zoo consists of 35-acre houses with more than 1000 animals. You’ll find cute African penguins, reptiles, and majestic cats. If you’re an animal lover, the zoo will meet and exceed your expectations. No matter the time of the year you visit, you’ll see adorable baby animals. 

Maggie Daley Park

This park was laid out by Michael Van Valkenburgh and shines for its family-friendly activities. There’s a giant whale, picnic grove, ice skating ribbon, and whimsical play garden for kids. 

Visit Shedd Aquarium 

The Shedd Aquarium houses 32,000 animals including penguins, sharks, frogs, and beluga whales. It’s divided into different geographical exhibits and daily schedules for various species. You’ll also find different fish species. 

Oak Street Beach

Oak Beach consists of a mile-long stretch that offers beach lovers plenty of amenities. There are many food and beverage options, chair rentals, bike rentals, etc. You’ll also find volleyball tournaments in summer. 

The Green Mill

The Green Mill is an uptown cocktail lounge where gangsters used to hang out in the 1920s. Once you get the picture of the iconic green mill marquee, you can order a cocktail as you enjoy the top jazz musicians. 

The 606

This is a 2.7-mile stretch of an abandoned rail line. Today, it’s used as a pedestrian path that connects to Bucktown, Humboldt, Logan Square, and Wicker Park. If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, this is a great place to zip around with your bicycle or jog. 

Chicago Riverwalk

The Riverwalk is a pedestrian path lined up with bars, restaurants, and gathering spaces. It allows you to watch the city’s architecture. The clever design ensures that you watch the city from a stellar angle. This is also the perfect place to grab some lunch. 

National Museum of Mexican Art

The National Museum of Mexican Art has over 6000 collections, performing arts, and rotating exhibits that show the illustrious Mexican culture. You’ll find the works of Miguel Cabrera and Jose de Paez. 

Adler Planetarium

History buffs can learn more about US space exploration and the universe that explains different theories on how the galaxy started. Outside the museum, you can see Chicago’s skylines. 

Music Box Theater

If you’re a movie lover, you can catch your favorite show at Music Box Theater - the latest films and documentaries. The main theater hosts cult classics. After the show, you can check the adjacent lounge and order popcorn topped with real butter. 

Magnificent Mile

It opens a whole new world of shopping, dining, entertainment, and dazzling architecture. There’re 275 restaurants, boutiques, and many attractions. 

Garfield Park Conservatory

This conservatory boasts of eight indoor display gardens. The moment you step inside, you’ll see 80 varieties of palm trees, ferns, and cycads. During the summer, you’ll enjoy gardening demonstrations. Garfield Park allows kids to get up-close to animals like goats. 

Chicago Picasso

Picasso is a monumental public art that weighs 147 metric tons. It was unveiled in 1967 and remains to be an iconic landmark

North Avenue Beach

It runs a few hundred meters to Diversey Harbor and grants access to the lakeshore. On the beachfront, you’ll find companies that offer standup paddleboarding and kayaking. 

Holy Name Cathedral

On arrival, you’ll be amazed by the bronze doors and sculptures depicting the evangelists in the Holy Name Cathedral. Also, you should take a closer look at the cross in Rocco Alicante Marble. Outside, there’s an inscription of Al Capone rival Hymie Weiss. 

Robie House

You’d never guess that this house was built in 1910. It was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and is considered the pinnacle of the 20th-century prairie style. Robie House had brad balconies and long cantilevered eaves. 

Symphony Center

Symphony Center is one of the most prestigious ensembles on the planet. The complex consists of a 2522-seater capacity hall and Grainger Ballroom. 

Tribune Tower

The Tribune Tower is an iconic skyscraper built in the mid-1920s. At night, you’ll get a clear view of tracery and buttress. 

Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool

This is a landscape architecture located in Lincoln Park. It’s named after the designer, Alfred Caldwell. The pool has stepping stone paths, circular benches, stratified slabs, waterfalls, and waterside pavilion.

Chicago Pedway

Spanning more than 40 blocks, Chicago Pedway is a network of pedestrian tunnels that provide links to `L’ stations. There’s lots of public art as well as restaurants and shops. 

Brookfield Zoo

Brookfield Zoo consists of 216 acres of green parkland. This is the first zoo to have giant pandas. Here, you’ll find the big cats, giraffes, rhinos, and giraffes. 

American Writers Museum

If you’re a literature lover, you must visit the American Writers Museum. Its collection consists of drama, poetry, fiction, etc. 

Graceland Cemetery

This is 119-acre of land that feels more like an arboretum. Graceland Cemetery is the final resting place of prominent individuals like George Pullman, Daniel Burnham, and Marshal Fields. 

Wicker Park

Wicker Park was the hub for the immigrant community during the late 19-20th century. It’s a resurgent hotspot for artists, local hipsters, and young professionals. 

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