Take your family on the ultimate adventure in Chicago! Discover the top ten must-see destinations, perfect for an unforgettable getaway.
Chicago is one of the most vibrant and diverse cities in the United States, and it offers a plethora of attractions for tourists. From its beautiful architecture and art to its delicious food and unique culture, there is something for everyone in Chicago. Founded in 1837 and formerly inhabited by the Ojibwe and Miami-Illinois indigenous groups, the hundreds of years since its founding have left it with a ton of history and culture that is uniquely Chicago. In this article, we’ll explore some of the best destinations in Chicago that you won’t want to miss.
1. Millennium Park
Millennium Park is a must-visit destination for anyone visiting Chicago. It’s home to the famous Cloud Gate sculpture, also known as “The Bean,” which has become a symbol of the city. Created by the controversial artist Anish Kapoor, of vantablack fame, “The Bean” is probably the single most iconic Chicagoan attraction. The park also has beautiful gardens, public art installations, and an outdoor concert venue, making it a great place to spend a sunny day. Exploring Millennium Park is a must-do for families because it gives kids time to explore, and adults plenty of attractions and art to wander through.
2. Navy Pier
Navy Pier is a popular destination for families and tourists alike. It’s a 3,300-foot-long pier on Lake Michigan that offers stunning views of the city skyline. The pier has a variety of attractions, including a Ferris wheel, an IMAX theater, and a children’s museum. With plenty to do for the whole family, from a handful of fair rides for the kids to shopping, food, and drinks for the parents, Navy Pier should be at the top of any family’s Chicago vacation.
3. Art Institute of Chicago
Well-known around the world for its extensive gallery of art from around the world and through various time periods. The Art Institute of Chicago is one of the oldest and largest art museums in the United States. It has an extensive collection of over 300,000 works of art from around the world, including famous pieces like Grant Wood’s “American Gothic” and Vincent van Gogh’s “The Bedroom.” They are currently hosting a large exhibit of the famous Spanish surrealist artist Salvador Dali until June 2023. If you are heading to Chicago this summer, make sure to check out the Art Institute of Chicago.
4. Magnificent Mile
The Magnificent Mile is a shopping and dining destination that stretches for 13 blocks along Michigan Avenue. It’s home to high-end retailers like Louis Vuitton and Gucci, as well as popular restaurants like The Cheesecake Factory and Shake Shack. This is the modern High Street of Chicago, where famous Chicagoans congregate to eat, shop, and play. Whether you are a high-roller or balling on a budget, the Magnificent Mile has plenty to do and see for all.
5. Willis Tower
Formerly known as the Sears Tower, the Willis Tower is an iconic skyscraper in Chicago’s skyline. You can’t miss it when flying into either O’Hare or Midway; its foreboding yet fascinating architecture is a symbol of Chicago’s identity. It’s 1,450 feet tall and has a skydeck on the 103rd floor that offers breathtaking views of the city. Not for the faint of heart, the skydeck also has a glass ledge that extends four feet out from the building, giving visitors a thrilling experience.
6. Wrigley Field
Take your family out to a baseball game at Wrigley Field! Wrigley Field is a historic baseball stadium that’s home to the National League’s Chicago Cubs. It opened in 1914 and has been home to the Cubs since 1916. If you are visiting from March 30 to October 1, make sure to add a Cubs game to your trip itinerary to get an authentic Chicago experience. Even if you’re not a baseball fan, it’s worth visiting Wrigley Field to experience the historic charm of the stadium and the surrounding neighborhood.
7. Lincoln Park Zoo
Lincoln Park Zoo is an amazing zoo located in the heart of Chicago. It’s home to over 1,000 animals from around the world, including lions, tigers, and bears. The zoo also has a children’s zoo and a variety of events and programs throughout the year. The best part about it? It’s 100% free all year round! If you are on a budget, this is a great place to take the whole family for a fun day out to explore the exotic and diverse animals at the Lincoln Park Zoo.
8. Chicago Riverwalk
The Chicago Riverwalk is a pedestrian path that runs along the Chicago River. Every year, thousands gather from around the nation at the Riverwalk to watch the Chicago River turn green on St. Patrick’s Day. It is a fun tradition that harkens back to Chicago’s earliest history with Irish immigrants. It’s also a great place to take a stroll and enjoy the city’s beautiful architecture both during the day and the dazzling lights of the city at night. The Riverwalk also has restaurants, bars, and outdoor seating areas, making it a popular spot for locals and tourists alike.
9. Second City
Founded in 1959 Second City is a world-famous comedy club that has been a launching pad for some of the biggest names in comedy, including Tina Fey, Bill Murray, Joan Rivers, Mike Meyers, and so many more famous actors. It offers improv and sketch comedy shows that are sure to make you laugh. Make sure to check as some shows can be 21+ or not appropriate for all ages.
10. Garfield Park Conservatory
Exploring the hustle and bustle of the city can get a bit overwhelming. If you need a break, make sure to check out the Garfield Park Conservatory. It is a beautiful indoor botanical garden that is home to thousands of plants from around the world. Exploring the awesome biodiversity that the Conservatory offers can be fun for those with green thumbs or anyone who appreciates a slice of nature in the big city.
A Few Final Safety Tips
Chicago is a huge city, home to over 2.6 million people. With its rich and diverse history stretching back from the days of the pioneers to today, there is plenty for everyone to enjoy in Chicago. Just because everyone is having fun doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be cautious. While the people are friendly and warm, there are always a few bad apples out there ready to ruin a vacation.
- Make sure that you don’t leave your valuables in your car, not even the trunk.
- Look left and then right when crossing the street, as it may be different in your country. If you are injured in an accident on the street, contact an attorney in Chicago immediately after getting medical attention to avoid getting hassled by an insurance company.
- Don’t go out alone at night. Always make sure that you know where your group is.
- Watch out for common scams. Make sure to use your common sense when accepting anything from a stranger
Chicago sometimes gets a bad rap, but it is not a dangerous place. Taking simple safety precautions can ensure your trip is fun, safe, and exciting when you visit the Windy City.