In this no-nonsense Midwestern metropolis, no matter what your interests are, you’ll always find something to feel excited about. The greatest things to do in Chicago range from seriously entertaining to extremely educational. Are you looking for culture? Spend the day visiting museums in Chicago. Hungry? You’ve landed in the right place since Chicago is known for its delectable cuisine.
There are numerous fantastic restaurants in Chicago that showcase the city’s rich and diverse culinary landscape. We scoured the city to compile this list of the top things to do in Chicago. Follow it, and you’ll never be bored here again.
- 1 Take a walk at Chicago Skydeck at Willis Tower (Sears Tower)
- 2 Explore The Navy Pier – Things To Do In Chicago
- 3 Spend time exploring The Chicago River
- 4 Have your mind blown at the Cultural Center of Chicago
- 5 Discover The Magnificent Mile
- 6 Take a stroll at Wrigley Stadium
- 7 Enjoy time at Chicago Hard Rock Cafe
- 8 The bottom line
Take a walk at Chicago Skydeck at Willis Tower (Sears Tower)
Willis Tower, once the tallest building in the world, is still high in the sky. The skyscraper’s 103rd-floor Skydeck Chicago draws 1.7 million tourists for a trip out onto The Ledge, an enclosed balcony going to extend 4 feet (1.2 meters) out over the city, in addition to panoramic views that extend as far as Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, and Wisconsin on clear days.
Willis Tower is visible from all over Chicago and is a must-see on most sightseeing tours as well as Chicago River cruises. To avoid long lines, purchase admission tickets in advance—the 70-second elevator ride to Skydeck Chicago does include a film about the tower’s history. Then, take in the city from above by riding the glass-bottomed Ledge; put another way, reserve an early-access breakfast, and lunch, as well as dinner on the 99th floor or Skydeck.
Navy Pier is a popular tourist destination in Chicago, and for good reason. Visiting here is one of the Things To Do In Chicago. The 3,300-foot (1,010-meter) pier protruding into Lake Michigan, built-in 1916 as a freight dock as well as public space, now includes nearly 50 acres (20 hectares) of exhibits, parks, rides, and family attractions.
The pier also serves as a departure point for Chicago architecture river cruises as well as classic lake tours. Navy Pier has the Chicago Children’s Museum as well as a variety of high-tech rides, kid-focused educational exhibits, hands-on fountains, restaurants, as well as trinket vendors which will transport your child into a world of overstimulated joy. Adults will enjoy the cool breezes, lakefront views, and rides on the massive Ferris wheel or traditional carousel.
Skyline Stage, a 1,500-seat rooftop venue underneath a canopy, hosts a variety of shows throughout the summer, and the pier puts on a spectacular fireworks display on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Spend time exploring The Chicago River
The Chicago River flows through the heart of the Windy City, past some of the city’s most remarkable architecture, such as the Willis Tower (previously called Sears Tower), the Wrigley Building, and Navy Pier. Along the riverfront, there are also chances for exploration, including kayaking, river cruises, and canoeing.
The most popular method of discovering the Chicago River is on a cruise, specifically a Chicago architecture river cruise, which provides an overview of the city’s history and architectural design. You can merge your cruise with a city tour of Chicago, a food tour of the South Side, a speedboat ride on Lake Michigan, or connect directly to the Willis Tower. Kayak tours are also common, including ghosts as well as gangsters tour at night. It is one on the list of Things To Do In Chicago you can’t miss out!
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Have your mind blown at the Cultural Center of Chicago
The Chicago Cultural Center, which opened in 1897 as the city’s first public library, is the city’s hub for culture and art events as well as one of the city’s most adored architectural monuments. Every year, the center hosts over 1,000 free concerts, art exhibits, films, and other cultural events, making it one of Chicago’s most popular tourist attractions.
Many Chicago architecture tours include a stop at the Chicago Cultural Center. You have the option of river cruises and walking tours of Chicago’s architectural gems. You can also take a self-guided tour of the center’s architecture or join the center’s free afternoon tour. Year-round art exhibits are spotlighted in the center’s four galleries, and weekday lunchtime concerts are popular.
Discover The Magnificent Mile
The Magnificent Mile, a famed stretch of Michigan Avenue in Chicago, brings together fashion, architecture, and history. You’ll pass a few Windy City landmarks, including the John Hancock Center, Water Tower, and Tribune Tower, in addition to numerous luxury brand retailers, as you walk from the Chicago River to Oak Street.
The Magnificent Mile is one of the prestigious stretches of pavement in the country—a must-see in Chicago, even if you only go window shopping. Because of its central location and prominence in the city’s cultural landscape, it is included on almost every city tour, whether by bicycle, foot, trolley, bus, or Segway. Head up to 360 Chicago, a viewing platform inside the John Hancock building, for a panoramic view of the Magnificent Mile.
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Take a stroll at Wrigley Stadium
Chicagoans take baseball seriously, and Wrigley Field, the ivy-covered shelter of the Chicago Cubs, is one of the best places in the United States to see a Major League Baseball game. Wrigley Field, also known as the “Friendly Confines,” was built in 1914 and is the oldest major league park in the National League. It should be on any baseball fan’s bucket list.
Wrigley Field is full of legends and curses, in addition to a team that once had the longest long drought in US sports history. Tourists can purchase a ticket to one of the Cubs’ 81 home matches between April and September, as well as serious baseball fans could really take a 90-minute guided tour through Wrigley Field on non-game days during the season, which includes the clubhouse, dugouts, and press box.
Take a helicopter tour of Chicago to get a bird’s-eye view of Wrigley Field, or merge a visit with stops at other Chicago sports monuments as part of a sports tour.
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Enjoy time at Chicago Hard Rock Cafe
Since its inception in 1986, the Hard Rock Cafe Chicago has served the Chicago River North neighborhood. River North is adjacent to the Magnificent Mile, just across the street from the Loop, as well as a few blocks west of Michigan Avenue, a lively and common dining and nightlife district.
Make sure that you order Hard Rock’s signature foods, such as the Legendary Burger, and drinks, such as the Rockarita. Check out the menu for house-made local entrees with a hint of Chicago flavor.
The Hard Rock Cafe Chicago, like some other Hard Rock Cafes around the globe, has music souvenirs on the walls, with a focus on funky styles. Tour the restaurant to see various platinum records, guitars, and other items.
Throughout the year, the cafe hosts a variety of concerts and events, so be sure to visit the Hard Rock Cafe Chicago activities page for more information and reservations.
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There are many Things To Do In Chicago. Don’t forget to let us know if you highly recommend any place to visit and things to do in Chicago in the comment box below.