The windy city is well-known, and it is a popular tourist attraction both within and outside of the United States. Chicago is famed for its incredible food, particularly its unique pizzas, as well as famous structures that represent the city’s turbulent history. And if you are searching for alluring and incredible sites, then there are several places to visit Chicago.
The Windy Metropolis boasts awe-inspiring buildings, mouth-watering cuisine, and culture to rival nearly any city on the planet. But what never fails to astonish me is how much you can do in Chicago for free. Philanthropic gifts have endowed the city with world-class museums and over 700 works of public art by Picasso, Chagall, and Miró, to name a few.
These have transformed the Loop’s skyscraper forest and Millennium Park into one large outdoor gallery. There are other free events, such as Taste of Chicago, the world’s biggest culinary festival, and music festivals to celebrate the city’s illustrious musical legacy.
Chicago is also a fantastic city for walking, whether along the Lakefront Trail or the new Riverwalk or even underground in the complex Pedway system. Let’s look at the Chicago places to visit list.
Top 10 Places To Visit Chicago
There are so many important places to visit during your stay in Chicago. We tried to cover the top 10 places to visit in Chicago out of so many important places:
1. Art Institute Of Chicago
When it comes to the best places to visit in Chicago you can’t complete your list with the Art Institute of Chicago. A vacation to Chicago would be incomplete without a stop at the Art Institute. It is one of the most famous places to visit in Chicago Illinois.
The Art Institute of Chicago, often ranked among the world’s best museums, houses the biggest collection of Impressionist paintings outside of Paris, including works by Monet, Renoir, Seurat, and Van Gogh. Explore the Modern Wing, built by Renzo Piano, and its amazing collection of works by Chagall, Dal, Matisse, Picasso, and Pollock, as well as the Ryan Learning Center, a free area that offers programming and art-making activities for the entire family.
The Art Institute provides something for everyone, with a diverse range of special exhibitions, daily gallery tours, performance events, and more!
The museum is open every day from 10:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Wednesday through Friday to 8:00 p.m., and closes on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. It is one of the best places to visit Chicago.
2. Chicago Riverwalk
When you talk about some of the places to visit Chicago, you can’t get away with this beauty. The Chicago Riverwalk, which is continually growing, adds exhilarating new energy to the river, both within and outside of it. It is one of the best Chicago downtown places to visit.
Take a stroll, get a bite to eat, meet for drinks, join a boat tour, or simply find a shady location to soak in the sun and people-watching. Discover where you can get in on the excitement along with the city’s hottest warm-weather attraction. Begin with the numerous eateries. The Riverwalk’s four districts are available to tourists every day from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.
No one expects to swim in the river, unlike Lake Michigan, but the relatively calm waters make it ideal for river sports. Seadog Cruises is known for its high-speed, wind-in-your-hair, mist-in-your-eyes jaunts around the lake, and its River and Lake Chicago architecture tour includes that, as well as a trip through the river locks and an interesting architectural lecture.
Get some exercise by renting a kayak or stand-up paddleboard from Kayak Chicago, which departs just northwest of downtown, allowing you to admire the city from afar before kayaking through its architectural canyons. It is one of the top 5 places to visit in downtown Chicago.
3. Lincoln Park Zoo
Just minutes from downtown Chicago, you can see roaring lions, lively meerkats, and stately gorillas. Every day of the year, Lincoln Park Zoo is free, open, and beautiful. It is one of the great downtown Chicago places to visit
Visitors may get up and personal with gorillas and chimps, howl with red wolves, gaze into a black bear cave, and immerse themselves in African sights and sounds with wild dogs, pygmy hippos, and black rhinos. Aside from offering a natural habitat for hundreds of species, Lincoln Park Zoo also runs one of the country’s major zoo-based conservation and scientific initiatives.
Chicago’s free zoo is located near Lake Shore Drive and Fullerton Parkway, just minutes from downtown. On Cannon Drive, parking is accessible for a fee. The zoo, which is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., is served by CTA buses 151 and 156.
Most of the zoo’s Covid restrictions have been lifted, which means you don’t need a reservation and the interior displays are open—though masks are recommended. It’s the ideal no-planning-required day out with the kids. Adults may also book into one of the block party-style after-hours adult evenings as a special treat. It is one of the places to visit in Chicago for free.
4. 360 Chicago
When you need to look at the epic view,360 is one of the best places to visit Chicago. Towering structures and magnificent city skylines are best observed from a high vantage point, and a snapshot taken by someone else does not always do the amazing sight justice.
Most large cities feature observation decks from which visitors may gaze out over the city’s highest skyscrapers and beyond. However, 360 Chicago offers more than simply an observation deck. 360 Chicago, which stretches 1,000 feet above Magnificent Mile, is at the top of one of the country’s tallest buildings, boasts the quickest elevators in North America, and is one of the world’s oldest skyscrapers with 100 or more floors.
Lake Michigan and the metropolitan architecture that surrounds it have never looked more magnificent from this vantage point. 360 Chicago is more than simply a beautiful view of the city; it is also a celebration of Chicago’s heritage. The Chicago Multimedia Exhibit, located on the ground floor of the John Hancock building, uses interactive touch screens to take you on a 360-degree tour of the city’s history, culture, and architecture.
360 Chicago, located on the 94th level of the John Hancock Building, presents a variety of interesting events throughout the week to improve your viewing experience. However, we are certain that there is no incorrect method to see the city from such high altitudes. It is one of the most fun places to visit in Chicago.
5. Millennium Park
Millennium Park is part of Grant Park, which is located in downtown Chicago is one of the best places to visit Chicago and is bounded on the west by Michigan Avenue, on the east by Columbus Drive, on the north by Randolph Street, and on the south by Monroe Street.
Its centerpiece is Cloud Gate, a 110-ton sculpture with a polished, mirror-like stainless steel surface inspired by liquid mercury. It mirrors its surroundings, such as buildings, the sky, and travelers who pass through its central arch.
Crown Fountain, a uniquely modern version of the old gargoyle that creates the illusion of water gushing from the mouths of projected pictures of Chicago residents, is another favorite sight in Millennium Park. Other popular things to do in Chicago include attending a concert at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, an outdoor concert venue, and visiting Lurie Garden, which is free to the public all year. It is one of the best places to visit in Chicago downtown.
This part of the city is a perfect spot to base yourself because it is near to many of the major attractions as well as fantastic shopping. It is one of the best places to visit near Chicago in the summer.
6. Garfield Park Conservatory
The Garfield Park Conservatory is one of the country’s largest and most beautiful conservatories. The conservatory, which is sometimes referred to as “landscape art behind glass,” is roughly two acres in size and houses hundreds of plant species shown in eight rooms. It is one of the best places to visit Chicago.
Visitors may experience lush vegetation and tropical temperatures away from the hustle and bustle of Chicago by traveling through the conservatory. During the summer, don’t forget to explore the 12 acres of beautiful outdoor gardens! The Palm House is home to elegant palms that rise to a vaulted ceiling and are intermingled with a variety of other tropical flora.
The ancient Fern Room in the Conservatory is the most spectacular, with lush ferns, rocky outcroppings, and an indoor lagoon that mimic the marshy nature of prehistoric Chicago. The Fern Room is home to the palm-like cycad, one of the world’s oldest plant species.
Visit the newest exhibit, Sugar from the Sun, to learn about how plants generate energy. The Show House has the greatest rotating flower show of the season. Visit the Elizabeth Morse Genius Children’s Garden for an informative and engaging experience for your children. Dale Chihuly’s 16 golden lily pads are permanently displayed in the “Persian Pool” at the Aroid House.
7. The Field Museum
The Field Museum is not just a location to learn about history, but it is also a part of it. The concept of creating a world-class museum arose from the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893. Several exhibits were quickly acquired, but making the fledgling museum a permanent reality appeared out of reach.
Edward E. Ayer, who subsequently became the Field Museum’s first President, made a phone call to Mr. Marshall Field, a wealthy entrepreneur, and philanthropist who controlled a network of department shops around the city. While The Field Museum provides two dining options, you may bring your lunch to save money; The Field Museum includes an eating space on the ground level.
If you want to attend a 3D movie, arrive at the cinema 30 minutes before your scheduled time. Morning is the ideal time to visit, as with most sites, if you want to avoid crowds, especially on weekends. As the tomb gets more difficult to explore with a larger throng, the Ancient Egypt display is an excellent first visit.
If you want to get the most of your visit, plan to spend at least 4-5 hours in the museum. Undoubtedly the Field Museum is one of the most fun places to visit in Chicago.
8. The Shedd Aquarium
One of Chicago’s most popular attractions is the Shedd Aquarium. It is one of the best places to visit Chicago. The aquarium’s historic architectural importance has gained it the designation of National Historic Landmark. It is essential to organize your visit to Shedd Aquarium due to its tremendous popularity.
The experience is definitely worth the wait, but there are some tips and methods you can take to cut down on wait time and use those hours for more aquatic fun. The Shedd Aquarium has a wide diversity of aquatic species. You might easily spend an entire day at the Shedd and yet not see everything the aquarium has to offer, from the anaconda, piranhas, monkeys, and stingrays of the Amazon to the unique coral of a Philippine reef.
A visit to Shedd Aquarium will take you through a variety of environments, where you may see creatures such as penguins, piranhas, sharks, and beluga whales. You may also pay extra to engage in special activities like animal interactions, feeding sessions, and behind-the-scenes excursions. It is one of the cool places to visit in Chicago
9. The Green Mill
The Green Mill is said to be the country’s oldest continually operating jazz club. And, while the outside may be gloomy and inconspicuous, entering is a completely other experience. One long, smooth bar stretches down the left side, topped with smoky mirrors and exquisite wooden lamps that emit a warm, golden glow.
The rear of the building is decked out in wood paneling and velvet drapes, providing the perfect backdrop for the main stage, which is slightly raised. Tall beams coated with hundreds of black and white square tiles are placed throughout the booths and tables, adding a touch of glitz and sparkle to the space.
Some pubs try to recreate the past with handmade whiskeys and low lighting, but The Green Mill is a purist, having remained unchanged for almost 100 years. The bar, the lighting, and the booths appear to be built as haphazardly and harmoniously as a mixed cocktail. The Green Mill doesn’t even have a drink menu.
10. Jackson Park
The narrative of Jackson Park began in the late 1860s, just after the Civil War. The Illinois legislature approved legislation asking for the creation of a park and parkway system that would span the whole city of Chicago. To make this idea a reality, three independent park commissioners were established to design these magnificent parks and boulevards in various parts of the city.
The southern part, dubbed South Park, was supposed to be the focal point. Frederick Law Olmsted, best known in Chicago circles as the primary designer of Riverside, Illinois, approached the South Park commissioners to express his interest in creating the park.
Jackson Park is a popular destination for both locals and visitors due to its top attractions, a plethora of activities, and lakefront beach. Put on your walking shoes and explore the park on foot, or do it as part of a Chicago city and riverboat trip. The Museum of Science and Industry and the golf course are ticketed attractions within the park, while the rest of the sites are free to see.
Best Places To Visit Near Chicago
Even with everything that Chicago, Illinois, has to offer, it sometimes feels like a good idea to escape away for a day. Exploring a peaceful river village, fishing on a river flanked by high canyon walls, or satisfying your inner history geek may all leave you feeling calm and rejuvenated.
Here are some of the best day trips from Chicago that can awaken your spirit and improve your well-being. Hours and availability are subject to change. Let’s look at some places to visit outside Chicago
1. Illinois Beach State Park
Distance from Chicago: 47.5 miles north, approximately a 75-minute trip. Do you just have a few moments to take a breather? Beach state park is one of the best places near Chicago to visit. Drive north to this natural beauty near the Wisconsin border, a lakeside sanctuary capable of providing a quiet interlude without the time commitment that more distant places necessitate.
Illinois Beach State Park, located near Zion, is a great place to unwind by strolling along the wide coastline, throwing a line into the lake’s thundering waves, riding the mixed-surface paths, or hiking underneath the soaring oak savannas. It is one of the best places to visit near Chicago in summer.
Driving time from Chicago is 2 hours and 20 minutes. Many Chicagoans wait until the fall to visit western Michigan’s fruit belt. However, there is a persuasive case to be made for visiting the region a couple of months earlier, when the countryside is calm and stone fruits such as peaches and cherries are available for harvesting.
The little hamlet of Fennville is an excellent starting point for sampling the region’s delicious abundance in a variety of forms. Begin with a slice or two of the good stuff at Crane’s Pie Pantry, a 150-year-old bakery, restaurant, and vineyard located in a 150-year-old barn.
3. Frank Lloyd Wright Buildings
More examples of Frank Lloyd Wright’s work may be found at Oak Park than anyplace else in the world. The tourists may observe the progression of Wright’s famous architecture style through one interesting tour of Frank Lloyd Wright sites in Chicago, which includes private houses such as three Queen Anne-style “Bootleg Houses” and public-access assets such as the unique Unity Temple.
Visit his inspirational residence and studio, the low and long Prairie-style Frank W. Thomas House, or the medieval Tudor Revival-style Nathan G. Moore House. Oak Park, Illinois, has several sites.
Best Places To Visit Chicago For Enjoying The Charm Of The City
There are many best places to visit Chicago. Every year, about 57.6 million tourists visit Chicago, and with such a varied selection of attractions, there is an itinerary suitable for every one of them. Art lovers, rejoice; foodies, rejoice; and history buffs, rejoice – because this huge Illinois metropolis has something for everyone — you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to interesting things to do in Chicago.
Admire Lake Michigan’s beautiful waters from 1000 feet above, or sail over them in exquisite luxury. Learn about the history of the mafia or visit world-renowned institutions. Dine in multi-Michelin-starred restaurants or enjoy a slice of deep-dish pizza. Whatever you decide, you will not be disappointed as there are so many places to visit Chicago.