Chicago, IL is the third-largest city in the United States. From north to south, east to west, the city’s 300+ art museums and galleries, more than 7,000 eateries, and 36 annual parades and festivals leaves something for absolutely everyone. This list will get you started with the Top 10 Must Do’s when visiting Chicago! (We’ve also got the scoop on where to find the best deep dish pizza in Chitown).
1. Visit Millennium Park
Millennium Park is one of the most frequented tourist attractions in Chicago and the first stop on this list! Millennium Park is located just east of “The Loop” and is home to the famous Cloud Gate sculpture locally dubbed “The Bean”, Crown Fountain, The Harris Theatre, an ice skating rink, a 2.5-acre garden, and the Jay Pritzker Pavilion.
Millennium Park is jam packed with fun for the entire family and absolutely a must do all year long!
Check out their official Website | 201 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL
2. Explore The Field Museum
The Field Museum, founded in 1893 has been a staple to Chicagoans and Tourists for the last 120 years. The museum features 34 exclusive exhibitions ranging from meteorites to mummies with its most famous exhibit being SUE. Crowned the most complete and best preserved Tyrannosaurus rex ever found, this interactive exhibit gives you a chance to learn all there is to know about this 40.5 foot long, 600 pound wonder.
Make sure to check out their website for exciting upcoming events and free admission days! |1400 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL
3. Take the Train
The Chicago Transit Authority or CTA is the 2nd largest transit authority in the nation! The CTA’s 1,888 buses and 1,492 rail cars make about 21,119 trips each day! Whether commuting or site-seeing, you can literally get anywhere in the city and surrounding suburbs on the bus or train. Trains operate at ground level, underground, and even elevated- which inspired its nickname “The L”. Visit during the holidays and ride the CTA Holiday Train – a unique tradition for Chicago families, or ride for just a penny all night on New Year’s Eve! Taking public transit is an inexpensive and reliable way to explore the city like a local.
For rates and updates in real time check out the website.
4. Tour the City At Night
Between Chicago’s well preserved historic landmarks, and it’s beautifully modern architecture. Walking in the city at night is an experience in itself! Take the stroll next to the lake and watch the city lights glisten atop the lapping waves. It’s a truly serene, and definitely a must do!
Make your midnight stroll down the Chicago Riverwalk. Get all the details on their website.
5. Stop by the Set of your Favorite Show
Many of the most popular tv series and movies out now are filmed in Chicago! Showtime’s Shameless, long running series; The Amazing Race, Netflix originals like Sense8, and action packed hits like Empire, Chicago INK and Chicago Med are all filmed in Chicago! On your next trip you can check out the set and maybe even crash a shoot.
See if your favorite Show made the complete 2017 list below:
- Amazing Race
- Chicago Fire
- Chicago Justice
- Chicago Med
- Chicago PD
- The Exorcist
- Married at First Sight
- The Steve Harvey Show
6. Have Lunch on a Roof
Visiting in the summer months? You absolutely have to stop for lunch or drinks at a rooftop bar or eatery. This unique dining experience combines patio seating and site seeing all in one! From atop many of the most popular downtown rooftop restaurants you can have a clear view of the city’s skyline while sipping a hand crafted cocktail.
Check out The Top 10 Best Rooftop Bars and Restaurants here:
- Aire Rooftop Bar– 100 W Monroe St. Chicago, IL 60603
- Cabana Club– 2018 West North Ave. Chicago, IL 60647
- Cindy’s– 12 S Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60603
- Raised-1 West Upper Wacker Drive, Chicago, IL 60601
- London House Chicago-85 E Wacker Drive,Chicago, Illinois, 60601
- Upstairs at The Gwen – 521 N Rush St. Chicago, IL 60611
- Greenriver– 259 E Erie St Fl 18. Chicago, IL 60611
- Cerise– 203 N. Wabash, 26th Floor, Chicago, Chicago, IL 60601
- The J. Parker-1816 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614
- Noyane– 101 East Erie Street, 21st floor rooftop, Chicago, IL 60611
7. Attend a Music Festival
There’s no doubt Chicago has some of the most popular music festivals in the Nation! People travel from all over to attend annual favorites like Lollapalooza and the Chicago blues festival. Chicago hosts on its many stages live EDM, pop, jazz, rock, country, and house music performances all summer long.
Check out the complete schedule here.
8. Catch a Baseball Game
Whether you’re a die hard Cubbie, loyal Southside White Sox fan, or just a baseball enthusiast you’re sure to catch a good game well into the fall months in Chicago. Take the train to the game and sit next to fans from both sides, grab some peanuts, and enjoy a day or evening game that’s sure to leave you on the edge of your seat. You may even catch that home run hit!
9. Go Shopping
With countless shopping centers in Chicago, you can surely unlock your inner fashionista! From luxury shopping on the Magnificent Mile, State St. favorites like H&M and Macy’s, and a host of outlet, secondhand and consignment shops all throughout the city- a shop ‘till you drop is never out of reach.
The Top 5 Chicago Shopping Malls:
- Water Tower Place– 835 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
- The Shops at Roosevelt Collection-150 W Roosevelt Rd, Chicago, IL 60605 (This one has a movie theatre!)
- 900 North Michigan Shops – 900 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
- Wicker Park – 1360 N. Milwaukee Avenue (start here and walk south!)
- Block 37- 108 N State St, Chicago, IL 60602
What gives Chicago it’s most popular nickname? The City’s pride-Lake Michigan. Whether beach-bumming to catch a tan, renting jet skis or taking an exhilarating boat tour Chicago’s beaches provide all day fun for the entire family.
The Top 5 Chicago Beaches to check out next summer:
- Oak Street Beach– 1000 N Lake Shore Dr.
- 31st Street Beach – 31st Street & Lake Shore Dr.
- North Avenue Beach- 1600 N Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60613
- Oakwood Beach- 4100 S Lake Shore Dr
- 12th Street Beach- 1200 S Linn White Dr, Chicago, IL 60605
Whether your trip is lengthy or quick, this list of Must Do’s will get your next trip to Chicago off to a great start…have fun visiting Chitown!