Whether you’re looking to soak up some soul drifting out of brick-walled jazz clubs, examine the masterpieces of the world’s greatest artists, or test the merits of a blustery nickname while standing on the shores of Lake Michigan, Chicago packs something for everyone between its skyscraper-lined streets. Here are the top 10 things to do in Chicago.
People Watch in Picture Perfect Parks
Explore the legacy of forward thinking Chicagoans who made the city’s official motto Urbs en Horto, or “City in a Garden” in 1830. Strolling along the waters of Lake Michigan in the 1,200 acre Lincoln Park or look for your reflection in Millennium Park‘s legume-like modern art, nicknamed “The Bean”
Examine Exceptional Exhibitions
Meet Sue – the most complete T-Rex skeleton in the world – at the Field Museum. Check out everything from a replica coal mine to a German U-boat at the Museum of Science and Industry, or ponder the secrets of the universe at the Adler Planetarium.
Retreat to the River
Snaking between glass-and-steel skyscrapers, the Chicago River offers a unique perspective of the Windy City. Scope out iconic landmarks like the Willis Tower on an entertaining cruise, get an active start to your day with a kayak rental, or follow the bends on foot with an experienced guide.
Meet the Music
As the birthplace of some of the most innovative jazz and blues movements in the world, Chicago’s soul is found in its historic clubs and landmark venues. Catch a live show at institutions like the Marquee Theater, take a behind-the-scenes look at the most happening joints in town, or grab dinner with a show as you explore the city’s musical character.
Panorama of Public Art
Chicago is home to some of the largest collections of public art in the world. Sculptures are dotted throughout the urban landscapes in city squares, public parks and steets. Some noteworthy landmarks are The Bean in Millennium Park, Lincoln in Grant Park, the Copernicus Statue outside the Adler Planetarium and the Lions outside the Art Institute of Chicago.
Cheer on the Home Team
From the iconic Cubs to the Championship-chugging Blackhawks, there’s no shortage of things to see for sports lovers. Grab a seat above the ivy-covered outfield walls at historic Wrigley Field, get an insider’s look at the city’s beloved stadiums, or catch a pickup game of volleyball on the sands of Oak Street Beach.
Watch the Curtain Rise
Head to the Chicago Shakespeare Theater to see updated performances and remixes of your favorite tales, tickle your ribs with an improv act at Second City – where comedic greats like Tina Fay got their start – or catch Broadway performances in the Theater District.
Immerse yourself in Art
Browse the works of impressionist masters at the second largest art museum in the country, see Picasso’s metallic cubist sculpture at the Daly Center, or scope out the rotating and often experimental exhibits at the Museum of Contemporary Art.
Crane your Neck to the Sky
When the World’s Columbian Exposition hit the city in 1893, it catalyzed an architectural revolution just two decades after the Great Fire in 1871. From the neo-Gothic style of Tribune Tower to the once-record-breaking Willis Tower, this Midwestern metropolis is filled with skyscraping legends. Catch the most notable features with a walk down the Magnificent Mile, or team up with a local to learn about the turn-of-the-century architects who helped make it all possible.
Lounge on the Lake
Over a hundred miles wide and more than 300 miles long, Lake Michigan acts more like a small sea than a big lake, which means you can look forward to soaking up some sun on golden sand beaches, taking elegant cruises in open water, or bundling up to watch storms roll in toward the city’s waterfront parks.
You can’t leave the Windy City without these ten activities. Come see what Chicago has to offer. Book your next flight to Chicago soon.