54 Best things to do in Chicago, IL

This city is so full of culture, history, architecture, views, music, and sports, it really has it all! But how can you truly get to know the Windy City in a short visit? Find out here.

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Some say Chicago is the best city in America, and we most definitely agree. This city is so full of culture, history, architecture, views, music, and sports, it really has it all! But how can you truly get to know the Windy City in a short visit?

Allow us to introduce you to the major attractions Chicago has to offer. And we will also encourage you to visit some lesser-known destinations throughout the city.

Stroll through beautiful parks and gardens. Visit fascinating museums, both large and small. See historic sites and chill on urban beaches. Explore some of the most interesting neighborhoods. Shop ’til you drop in quirky boutiques throughout the city, and eat, drink, and be entertained like a true local.

You’ll get the chance to do all this and more as you explore the top things to do in Chicago listed below.

1. Start (or end) the day at Millennium Park

Cloud Gate known as "The Bean" | Things to do in Chicago

Photo of the Cloud Gate known as “The Bean” | Photo by Phil via Pexels

Millennium Park is a prime meeting place for Chicago natives and a hub for visitors—a new kind of city square. This 25-acre public space is known for its art installations, sculptures, and free concerts and events. Visit the fascinating place for people-watching and selfies at the art installation Cloud Gate, commonly referred to as “The Bean”, in the serene Lurie Gardens.

Also check out the Crown Fountain, where a changing screen displaying local faces spews out water every five minutes in the summer. Explore art exhibits along Chase Promenades or take in a free concert at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion. Visit Millennium Park in the early morning will give you the opportunity to enjoy the space with somewhat smaller crowds. You’ll find a packed program of events throughout the year.

Millennium Park
201 E. Randolph Street Chicago, IL 60601
Admission: Free
Ph: +1 312-742-1168
Get directions

Best places to eat nearby according to locals and visitors:
• The Gage (4.5/5 stars, American, $$$)
• Cherry Circle Rome (4.7/5 stars, American, $$)
• The Purple Pig (4.6/5 stars, Mediterranean, $$)

See the full list of places to eat near Millennium Park.

The best hotel to stay near Millennium Park based on overall price, location and amenities according to travelers:

Staypineapple, An Iconic Hotel, The Loop Chicago (9.1/10 stars, $$$) – Booking.com

2. Explore Grant Park and Buckingham Fountain

Buckingham Fountain located in Grant Park | Things to do in Chicago

Buckingham Fountain located in Grant Park | Photo by Richie Diesterheft via Flickr

Grant Park is known as “Chicago’s front yard”. This park is huge (319 acres of green space), and it starts at the far east side of the Loop and stretches all the way down to the South Side. Spend a nice morning or afternoon exploring this beautiful park.

Did you know?
Buckingham Fountain is one of the world’s largest fountains? It’s about 278 feet wide and roughly 23 feet tall. It features 133 water jets powered by three pumps, each ejecting water up to a staggering height of more than 148 feet during 20-minute choreographed displays. At night, from April through October, you’ll get to see the Buckingham Fountain light and music show every hour between 9 am and 10:35 pm.

Grant Park
337 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60601
Admission: Free
Ph: +1 (312) 742-7529
Get directions

Best places to eat nearby according to locals and visitors:
• Flo & Santos (4.5/5 stars, Pizza, $$$)
• The Village (4.7/5 stars, American, $$)
• The Purple Pig (4.6/5 stars, Mediterranean, $$)

See the full list of places to eat near Grant Park and Buckingham Fountain .

The best hotel to stay near Grant Park based on overall price, location and amenities according to travelers:

Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel, Chicago (8.9/10 stars, $$$) – Booking.com

3. Enjoy the animals at Lincoln Park Zoo

A Lemur at Lincoln Park Zoo | Things to do in Chicago

Crowned Lemur at Lincoln Park Zoo | Photo by @lincolnparkzoo via Instagram

Lincoln Park is the largest park in Chicago. It stretches along the shore of Lake Michigan for seven miles and boasts a wide range of features and attractions. Head for Lincoln Park Zoo, the bird refuges, the Lincoln Park Conservatory, the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool, and the spectacular Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum to see exotic and native animals and natural wildlife of the area. Be sure to spend some time checking out the ecology of Illinois at the Nature Museum – one of the best museums in the city.

Tip: Visit the major attractions early in the day to avoid large crowds and for the best chance to see amazing wildlife.

Don’t miss: Check out the amazing wildlife marsh habitat at the “Nature Boardwalk” amid the other, more exotic, animal attractions at the zoo.

Lincoln Park Zoo
2001 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614
Admission: Free
Ph: +1 (312) 742-2000
Get directions

Best places to eat nearby Lincoln Park Zoo according to locals and visitors:
• Alinea (4.7/5 stars, New American, $$$)
• Amaru (4.8/5 stars, Latin American, $$)
• Ali Baba Doner (4.9/5 stars, Turkish, $$)

See the full list of places to eat near Lincoln Park.

The best hotel to stay near Lincoln Park Zoo according to travelers based on overall price, location and amenities:

The Ivy Hotel (9/10 stars, $$$) – Booking.com

4. Shop, dine, or drink on The Magnificent Mile

Magnificent Mile buildings city center

Magnificent Mile City Center | Photo by Bert Kaufmann via Flickr

The Magnificent Mile is Chicago’s premier commercial district. The street is home to many of the city’s landmarks, upscale shops, restaurants, and more. Eat, drink, shop, or simply enjoy the lights and the city skyline when you visit the unique area. Check out The Chicago Water Tower, Tribune Tower, Wrigley Skyscraper Building, John Hancock Building, and other staple landmarks. 

Magnificent Mile
625 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611
Admission: Free
Ph: (312) 642-3570
Get directions

Best places to eat nearby Magnificent Mile according to locals and visitors:
• KAI ZAN (4.8/5 stars, Japanese, $$$)
• The Lobby (4.6/5 stars, American, $$)
• Bandera (4.6/5 stars, American, $$)

See the full list of places to eat near Magnificent Mile.

The best hotel to stay based on overall price, location and amenities according to travelers:

Conrad Chicago (9.2/10 stars, $$$) – Booking.com

5. Spark your curiosity at the Museum of Science and Industry

The Museum of Science and Industry is well known for its interactive exhibits. It houses a grand collection of items and exhibits housed within a building that dates back to the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893. Explore the amazing range of interactive exhibits and learn more about the scientific and industrial endeavor as well as the industrial history of the region.

Don’t miss: Be sure to check out the recreation of a Chicago street from 1910, the model railroad depicting the route from Chicago to Seattle, and the WWII-era German U-boat on display. Get lost in the mirror maze and experience a simulated tornado.

Museum of Science and Industry
Hyde Park, 5700 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60637
Admission: $21.95 for adults; $12.95 for children (3-11)
Ph: +1 (773) 684-1414
Get directions

Top restaurants to eat nearby Museum of Science and Industry according to locals and visitors:
• El tata restaurant inc. (4.9/5 stars, Mexican, $$$)
• Monteverde Restaurant & Pastificio (4.7/5 stars, Italian, $$)
• Blackbird Restaurant (4.6/5 stars, American, $$)

See the full list of places to eat near Museum of Science and Industry.

The best hotel to stay near Museum of Science and Industry based on overall price, location and amenities according to travelers:

Sophy Hyde Park (9.5/10 stars, $$$) – Booking.com

6. Mooch around at Navy Pier

hand holding a burger in front of chicago navy pier

Navy Pier Chicago “Pierstatic” Tuesday | Photo by @navypierchicago via Instagram

This 3,300-ft.-long pier on the Chicago shoreline of Lake Michigan is a well-known Chicago landmark built in 1916. Between 1946 and 1965, it was home to the University of Illinois at Chicago, and more than 100,000 students attended classes here. Visit Navy Pier for the miniature amusement park, the brilliant Children’s Museum, as well as plenty of great entertainment options, glass-enclosed gardens, and shopping galore.

Don’t miss: A ride on the 200-ft. Ferris wheel, seeing a film at Chicago’s only true IMAX theater, having a cultural experience at the Shakespeare Theatre, or enjoying the beautiful botanicals in Crystal Gardens.

Navy Pier
Streeterville, 600 E Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
Admission: Free to enter, but you will need to buy tickets for each attraction
Ph: +1 (312) 595-7437
Get directions

Best place to eat near Navy Pier according to locals and visitors:
• Volare Ristorante Italiano (4.6/5 stars, Italian, $$$)
• The Capital Grille (4.7/5 stars, Fine dining, $$)
• l’Aventino Forno Romano (4.8/5 stars, Pizza, $$)

Check the full list of places to eat nearby Navy Pier.

The best hotel to stay near Navy Pier based on overall price, location and amenities according to travelers:

Hyatt Centric Chicago Magnificent Mile (8.9/10 stars, $$$) – Booking.com

7. Indulge your artistic side at the Art Institute of Chicago

The First 125 Years | Video by The Art Institute of Chicago via YouTube

The Art Institute of Chicago is another well-known Chicago institution. It’s known for its world-class art collection, housing a huge range of classic and contemporary works. Visit this iconic art museum to enjoy a vast collection of over 300,000 works of art. You can also enjoy a fine meal at the Terzo-Piano Restaurant, which serves Italian/Mediterranean cuisine.

Don’t miss: Classics in the collection include Georges Seurat’s “A Sunday on La Grande Jatte” and Grant Wood’s “American Gothic”.

Art Institute of Chicago
Chicago Loop, 111 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603
Admission: Free for children and members
Ph: +1 (312) 443-3600
Get directions

Best place to eat near Art Institute of Chicago according to locals and visitors:
• The Village (5/5 stars, Italian, $$$)
• Pat’s Pizza Revival Hall (5/5 stars, Pizza, $$)
• Cherry Circle Room (4.7/5 stars, American, $$)

Check the full list of places to eat near Art Institute of Chicago.

The best hotel to stay near Art Institute of Chicago based on overall price, location and amenities according to travelers:

Silversmith Hotel Chicago Downtown (9.2/10 stars, $$$) – Booking.com

8. Find dinosaur bones and much more at The Field Museum

People inside the Field Museum seeing the dinosaurs bones exhibit

Inside The Field Museum | Photo by Travis Wise via Flickr

The Field Museum is a natural history museum that first opened its doors in 1921. It houses the collections that were assembled for the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893. It’s not only Chicago’s best known natural history museum, but it’s also one of the largest such museums found anywhere in the world.

Don’t forget to descend into a replica of an ancient Egyptian tomb, and get ready to be dazzled by sparkling jewels in the Grainger Hall of Gems. Check out the creepy taxidermy displays and be sure to seek out the dinosaur bones and try to imagine what these amazing creatures would have looked like.

The Field Museum
Museum Campus, 1400 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60605
Admission: Adults $26/24; Children (ages 3-11) $19/17; Seniors (65+) & Students (w/ID) $23/21
Ph: +1 (312) 922-9410
Get directions

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Top restaurants near The Field Museum according to locals and visitors:
• Harbor Chicago (4.8/5 stars, American, $$$)
• Memoir Spicy Po (4.9/5 stars, Chinese, $$)
• Vivere (4.7/5 stars, Italian, $$)

Check the full list of places to eat near The Field Museum.

The best hotel to stay based on overall price, location and amenities according to travelers:

Palmer House a Hilton Hotel (8.3/10 stars, $$$) – Booking.com

9. Embrace high-rise adventure at 360 Chicago

Chicago 360 | Video by Viator via YouTube

This observatory on the 94th floor of the John Hancock Building is another amazing viewpoint for the city’s skyline. It has a tilting glass lookout that is approximately 1,000 feet up in the air! Experience Chicago’s newest downtown Thrill Ride. This feature, the first of its kind, will transform the way you see the city as you are lowered to look down through the glass to the city far below.

The Thrill Ride, a stunning tilt attraction, is a must-see, but you should also consider visiting for certain activities, which include Sky Art on Wednesdays, 360 Hoppy Hour on Thursdays, and Saturday Sky Yoga.

Chicago 360
Magnificent Mile, 875 N Michigan Ave 94th Floor, Chicago, IL 60611
Admission: $20 for adults (ages 12+); $13 for youth (3-11); free for children under 3
Ph: +1 (888) 875-8439
Get directions

Top restaurants near Chicago 360 according to locals and visitors:
• Pinched on the River (4.9/5 stars, American, $$$)
• Marisol (4.6/5 stars, American, $$)
• Pierrot Gourmet at The Peninsula (4.7/5 stars, French, $$)

Check the full list of places to eat near Chicago 360.

The best hotel to stay near Chicago 360 according to travelers based on overall price, location and amenities:

Hotel EMC2, Autograph Collection (9.2/10 stars, $$$) – Booking.com

10. Stroll the Chicago Riverwalk

Chicago Riverwalk bridge during the day | best things to do in Chicago

Chicago Riverwalk | Photo by Gautam Krishnan via Unsplash

Chicago is the perfect city for pedestrians, and the Chicago Riverwalk is one of the best places to take a stroll. Along this promenade, which was expanded in 2015, you can enjoy a drink, great views of iconic Chicago buildings, and have access to boat rentals or go on some of the best boat tours in the city.

Don’t miss: Chicago Architecture River Cruise offers one of the best boat ride options in the city if you want to spend time on the water. You should also be sure to stop for a rest at the tiered-seating River Theatre and enjoy the floating gardens in the jetty portion of the Riverwalk between Wells and Franklin Street. The best time to visit is during the summer months when there are plenty of boat tours to choose from and the sun is shining.

Chicago Riverwalk
Chicago Riverwalk, Chicago, IL 60601, United States
Admission: Free
Ph: +1 877-300-6746
Get directions

Best restaurants near Chicago Riverwalk according to locals and visitors:
• Roti Modern Mediterranean (4.5/5 stars, Mediterranean, $$$)
• Heaven on Seven (4.6/5 stars, Cajun, $$)
• Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ (4.6/5 stars, Barbecue, $$)

See the full list of places to eat near Chicago Riverwalk.

The best hotel to stay near Chicago Riverwalk according to travelers based on overall price, location and amenities:

Ambassador Chicago (9.3/10 stars, $$$) – Booking.com

11. Enjoy a show and iconic architecture at The Chicago Theater

People walking by Chicago Theater building at night

Chicago Theater at night, sold-out show | Photo by Alex Powell via Pexels

The Chicago Theatre was built in 1921 and was originally known as the Balaban & Katz Chicago Theater. The iconic marquee, the unofficial emblem of the city, is frequently seen on screen and in photographs of the city. Gaze at the iconic architecture, or attend a stage play, magic show, comedy show, sporting event, or concert. Also note the famous organ known as The Grand Wurlitzer. It’s one of the oldest such organs in existence.

Don’t miss: The architectural features Tiffany window within the grand triumphal arch on the facade. Also, the French Baroque-inspired grandiosity of the lobby.

Chicago Theater
The Loop, 175 N State St, Chicago, IL 60601
Admission: $$
Ph: +1 (312) 462-6300
Get directions

Best restaurants near Chicago Theater according to locals and visitors:
• The Dearborn (4.6/5 stars, American, $$$)
• Harry Caray’s Italian Steakhouse (4.5/5 stars, Italian, $$)
• Fisk & Co. (4.5/5 stars, Seafood, $$)

See the full list of places to eat near Chicago Theater.

The best hotel to stay near Chicago Theater based on overall price, location and amenities according to travelers:

Kimpton Hotel Palomar Chicago (8.9/10 stars, $$$) – Booking.com

12. Visit Maggie Daley Park with friends or family

Visit Maggie Daily Park with friends or family

Aerial view of Maggie Daley Park | Photo by Joe Stoltz from Pixabay

Maggie Daley Park is located on the east side of Millenium Park in downtown Chicago. This place offers many on-site activities for both kids and adults, including wall climbing, ice skating (in the winter), a mini-golf course, tennis facility, a playground, and a free public garden. This park is a great way to spend the day with family and friends. It’s even walking distance to various downtown attractions and hotels, making it even more convenient.

Maggie Daley Park
The Loop, 337 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60601
Admission: Free
Ph: +1 (312) 552-3000
Get directions

Best place to eat near Maggie Daley Park according to locals and visitors:
• Doc B’s Restaurant + Bar (River North) (4.6/5 stars, American, $$$)
• Wildberry Pancakes & Cafe (4.6/5 stars, Cafe, $$)
• RPM Steak (4.7/5 stars, Steak house, $$)

See the full list of places to eat near Maggie Daley Park.

The best hotel to stay near Maggie Daley Park based on overall price, location and amenities according to travelers:

The Langham, Chicago (9.6/10 stars, $$$) – Booking.com

13. Go to the Shedd Aquarium

Shedd Aquarium Sting Ray | Photo by @sheddaquarium via Instagram

Stingray at Shedd Aquarium | Photo by @sheddaquarium via Instagram

This aquarium is considered one of the largest indoor aquariums in the world. As of today, it holds approximately 32,000 creatures! Check out massive stingrays, turtles, sea lions, sharks, beluga whales, penguins, turtles, polar bears, and many more unique creatures. You can also, for an additional fee, feed the animals and go on behind-the-scenes tours.

Shedd Aquarium
Museum Campus, 1200 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60605
Admission: Adult $39.95, Children (3-11) $29.95, 4D Upgrade $4.95
Ph: +1 (312) 939-2438
Get directions

Best place to eat near Shedd Aquarium according to locals and visitors:
• Harbor Chicago (4.8/5 stars, American, $$$)
• Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria (4.5/5 stars, Pizza, $$)
• Sumi Japanese Restaurant (4.6/5 stars, Japanese, $$)

See the full list of places to eat near Shedd Aquarium.

The best hotel to stay near Shedd Aquarium based on overall price, location and amenities according to travelers:

The Talbott Hotel (9/10 stars, $$$) – Booking.com

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14. Ascend to the Willis Tower Skydeck

Person taking photos of the city from the Willis Skydeck Chicago ledge

The Ledge at Willis Skydeck Chicago | Photo by Amit Thakral via Pexels

Willis Tower, formerly known as the Sears Tower, is a 1,450-ft skyscraper offering excellent views over the city. Construction on the tower began in 1970, and it welcomes tons of visitors each year. This tower is the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere and offers an outlook over the city that is second to none. Head up 103 stories to the Skydeck, where you can step out onto The Ledge – a glass balcony that extends four feet beyond the edge of the building. 

Willis Skydeck Chicago
Chicago Loop, 233 S Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60606
Admission: Adult – Ages 12 and up $26.00; Youth – Ages 3 to 11 $18.00; Children under 3 are FREE
Ph: +1 (312) 875-9696
Get directions

Best place to eat near Willis Skydeck Chicago according to locals and visitors:
• Ciccio Mio (4.8/5 stars, Italian, $$$)
• avec Restaurant (4.6/5 stars, Mediterranean, $$)
• Sepia (4.5/5 stars, American, $$)

See the full list of places to eat near Willis Skydeck Chicago.

The best hotel to stay near Willis Skydeck Chicago based on overall price, location and amenities according to travelers:

The Gwen, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Michigan Avenue Chicago (9.3/10 stars, $$$) – Booking.com

15. See a ball game at Wrigley Field

Cubs players celebrating at Wrigley Field

Chicago Cubs players at Wrigley Field | Photo by @cubs via Instagram

Wrigley Field was built in 1914 and has been home to the Chicago Cubs for more than a century. Watch a Major League Baseball game at one of the oldest and most iconic ballparks in the US. You can also tour the Friendly Confines, explore the park at Wrigley, or grab a bite to eat, even when baseball is not in season. Catch a game in April, when the season opens, or visit year-round to be a part of Chicago’s iconic baseball history. Enjoy a varied program of cultural events and concerts in the stadium throughout the year, especially during the summer months.

Wrigley Field
Wrigleyville, 1060 W Addison St, Chicago, IL 60613
Admission: $6
Ph: +1 (773) 404-2827
Get directions

Best place to eat near Wrigley Field according to locals and visitors:
• Ella Elli (4.7/5 stars, Italian-Mediterranean, $$$)
• Tango Sur (4.6/5 stars, Argentinian, $$)
• La Mexicana Grill (4.5/5 stars, Mexican, $$)

See the full list of places to eat near Wrigley Field.

The best hotel to stay near Wrigley Field based on overall price, location and amenities according to travelers:

Hotel Zachary, Chicago, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel (9.1/10 stars, $$$) – Booking.com

16. Have a laugh at Second City

People laughing and enjoying a show at The Second City while having drinks

Live comedy at The Second City | Photo by @thesecondcity via Instagram

Famous comedians like Bill Murray, Tina Fey, Keegan-Michael Key, Steve Carell, and Stephen Colbert have all appeared at this comedy improve theater. Have a laugh and enjoy live comedy and improve with your friends. Shows typically last 1-2 hours and cost between $20-$50 depending on the date, seating, and availability.

The Second City
Pipers Alley Mall, 1616 N Wells St, Chicago, IL 60614
Admission: $5.25 per ticket
Ph: +1 (312) 337-3992
Get directions

Best place to eat near The Second City according to locals and visitors:
•Twin Anchors Restaurant & Tavern (4.7/5 stars, Old-school tavern, $$$)
• Forastero Restaurant (4.7/5 stars, Taco, $$)
• Two Lights Seafood & Oyster (4.5/5 stars, Seafood, $$)

See the full list of places to eat near The Second City.

The best hotel to stay near The Second City based on overall price, location and amenities according to travelers:

Chicago Guest House (9.9/10 stars, $$$) – Booking.com

17. Enjoy the views at North Avenue Beach

People playing volleyball on a sunny day at North Avenue Beach

People playing volleyball at North Avenue Beach | Photo by Payton Chung via Flickr

If you’re going to Chicago in the summer, North Avenue Beach is an extraordinary urban beach to take a dip or soak up the sun. Come for the sun, lake, and sand, and stay for the stunning views. The beach offers not only coastal recreation, but it also has one of the best views of the city’s skyline.

Don’t miss: The informal beach dining options, the chance to watch (or play) a game of beach volleyball, and the beach house with city views.

North Avenue Beach
Near North Side, 1600 N Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60613
Admission: Free
Ph: +1 (312) 742-3224
Get directions

Best place to eat near North Avenue Beach according to locals and visitors:
• Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder Company (4.6/5 stars, Pizza, $$$)
• Willow Room (4.7/5 stars, American, $$)
• Matisse Tavern & Grill (4.5/5 stars, Gastropub, $$)

See the full list of places to eat near North Avenue Beach.

The best hotel to stay near North Avenue Beach based on overall price, location and amenities according to travelers:

Four Seasons Hotel Chicago (9.2/10 stars, $$$) – Booking.com

18. Or chill out on Oak Street Beach

People laying down and enjoying Oak Street Beach

Oak Street Beach in July | Photo by Chris6d via Wikimedia Commons

Oak Street Beach is often counted as one of the world’s best urban beaches, and it’s an excellent spot to spend some time along the shoreline of Lake Michigan. The best time to visit Oak Street Beach is during the summer months when the sun is shining and you can enjoy the water.

Oak Street Beach
1000 North Lake Shore Drive Chicago, IL 60611
Admission: Free
Ph: 312-742-3224
Get directions

Best place to eat near Oak Street Beach according to locals and visitors:
• Rosebud Steakhouse (4.6/5 stars, Steak house, $$$)
• Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse (4.7/5 stars, Steak house, $$)
• Ditka’s Restaurant Chicago (4.6/5 stars, Traditional American, $$)

See the full list of places to eat near Oak Street Beach.

The best hotel to stay near Oak Street Beach based on overall price, location and amenities according to travelers:

Viceroy Chicago ( 9.4/10 stars, $$$) – Booking.com

19. Grab a brew at the Goose Island Beer Company

Beer tasting at Goose Island Beer Company event

Goose Island Beer Company | Photo by Marco Verch via Flickr

This brewery began as a single brewpub in Lincoln Park in 1988 and is named after a nearby island. A larger production brewery opened in 1995 and a second brewpub opened in Wrigleyville in 1999. Sample some of the iconic Chicago craft beers, or check out the brewery and learn more about the processes involved in creating the beverages.

Don’t miss the one-hour special tour that will allow you to discover how the beer is uniquely brewed and how the Goose Island Beer operates. Visit the brewery and taproom Wednesday to Friday, from noon until 8 pm, 10 pm Friday and Saturday, and 6 pm on Sunday.

Goose Island Beer Company
1800 W Fulton St, Chicago, IL 60612
Tours cost: $12
Ph: +1 (800) 466-7363
Get directions

Best place to eat near Goose Island Beer Company according to locals and visitors:
• Farmer’s Fridge (5/5 stars, Self service restaurant, $$$)
• Cafe La Cave (4.6/5 stars, Fine dining, $$)
• Sunrise Grill & Catering (4.5/5 stars, American, $$)

See the full list of places to eat near Goose Island Beer Company.

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The best hotel to stay near Goose Island Beer Company based on overall price, location and amenities according to travelers:

Virgin Hotels Chicago (9.4/10 stars, $$$) – Booking.com

20. Walk the Elevated Greenway of the 606 Bloomingdale Trail

The 606 is a new bike path that winds through Chicago’s neighborhoods — Photo courtesy of The 606

The 606 is a new bike path that winds through Chicago’s neighborhoods | Photo by The 606

The 606 Bloomingdale Trail Map

The 606 Bloomingdale Trail Map

The 606 was once an elevated railway line running for 2.7 miles on the northwest side of Chicago. In 2015, it was turned into an elevated greenway called the Bloomingdale Trail, part of a longer trail called the 606. It’s a pleasant linear parkway offering a different perspective of Logan Square, Humboldt Park, and West Town. Visit any time between 6 am and 11 pm throughout the year, early or late in the day if you want a quieter experience with more locals and fewer tourists.

The 606
1805 N Ridgeway Ave, Chicago, IL 60647, United States
Admission: Free 
Ph: +1 (312) 742-4622
Get directions

Best place to eat near The 606 according to locals and visitors:
• Taqueria El Heredero (4.6/5 stars, Mexican, $$$)
• Punta Cana Restaurant (4.6/5 stars, Dominican, $$)
• Osteria Langhe (4.7/5 stars, Italian, $$)

See the full list of places to eat near The 606.

The best hotel to stay near The 606 based on overall price, location and amenities according to travelers:

The Hotel at Midtown (8.6/10 stars, $$$) – Booking.com

21. Stargaze at the Adler Planetarium

Girl looking at starts thru large telescope

Looking at the stars through a telescope at Adler Planetarium | Photo by @adlerplanet via Instagram

This public museum and study site was founded in 1930 by a Chicago businessman, Max Adler. It’s dedicated to the study of space and the night skies, and it was also the first planetarium to be built in the United States. Why should you go? The Adler Planetarium is the best place in the city to learn about astronomy, astrophysics, and the history of space exploration in the United States.

Don’t miss: Be sure to take a peek inside the Gemini 12 space capsule, which took two astronauts into space and back, before heading to the immersive Grainger Sky Theatre to take in a show.

Adler Planetarium
Museum Campus, 1300 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60605
Admission: $8–19
Ph: +1 (312) 922-7827
Get directions

Best place to eat near Adler Planetarium according to locals and visitors:
• Kim & Carlo’s Chicago Style Hot Dog Store (4.6/5 stars, Hot dog stand, $$$)
• Kai Sushi (4.5/5 stars, Sushi, $$)
• Go 4 Food (4.7/5 stars, Chinese, $$)

See the full list of places to eat near Adler Planetarium.

The best hotel to stay near Adler Planetarium based on overall price, location and amenities according to travelers:

The Blackstone, Autograph Collection ( 8.9/10 stars, $$$) – Booking.com

22. Marvel at the Money Museum at the Federal Reserve Bank

Federal Reserve Building of Chicago | Best things to do in Chicago

Federal Reserve Building of Chicago | Photo by TonyTheTiger Wikimedia Commons

A paean to the almighty dollar, this museum located within the massive currency storage and processing center of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago is known for representing the lighter side of cold, hard cash. The real reason to come here is for the exhibits, and since visitors leave the museum with torn-up money, it could be said to be the only museum that actually pays people to visit. Visit any Mon-Fri (except bank holidays) 8:30 am – 5 pm.

Don’t miss: Be sure to catch the money-shredding machine. (The bank shreds around $10 million of old unusable bills each year.) Guests are given the “mon-fetti” as a souvenir. You can also get your picture taken with $1 million displays and see a unused elevator shaft filled with over $50,000 in coins.

Federal Reserve Bank
Chicago Loop, 230 S LaSalle St, Chicago, IL 60604
Admision: Free
Ph: +1 (312) 322-2400
Get directions

Best place to eat near Federal Reserve Bank according to locals and visitors:
• Cafecito (4.6/5 stars, Cuban, $$$)
• Table Host (5/5 stars, Sushi, $$)
• Brown Bag Seafood Co. (4.7/5 stars, Seafood, $$)

See the full list of places to eat near Federal Reserve Bank.

The best hotel to stay near Federal Reserve Bank based on overall price, location and amenities according to travelers:

Kinzie Hotel (8.9/10 stars, $$$) – Booking.com

23. Take a breather at Garfield Park Conservatory

Garfield Park Conservatory

Garfield Park Conservatory | Photo by Garfield Park Conservatory via Facebook

Chicago is blessed with some wonderful green spaces, and this is one of the very best, with a huge undercover growing area and over ten acres of outdoor gardens to explore. This is another of the city’s top free attractions (although donations are appreciated). Here, visitors can enjoy nature at its best right in the heart of the city. Check out the palm house, fern house, desert house, and aroid house for their specific plant displays. If you have kids, check out the children’s garden – a place for them to play and learn. 

Garfield Park Conservatory
Garfield Park, 300 N Central Park Ave, Chicago, IL 60624
Admission: Free
Ph: +1 (312) 746-5100
Get directions

Best place to eat near Garfield Park Conservatory according to locals and visitors:
• Inspiration Kitchens (4.7/5 stars, American, $$$)
• LiFE (4.5/5 stars, American, $$)
• Bridge Cafe (4.7/5 stars, Cafe, $$)

See the full list of places to eat near Garfield Park Conservatory.

The best hotel to stay near Garfield Park Conservatory based on overall price, location and amenities according to travelers:

The Robey ( 8.9/10 stars, $$$) – Booking.com

24. See cutting edge creativity at The Museum of Contemporary Art

group of people performing to create visual art

Art dance performance at the MCA Chicago | Photo by @mcachicago via Instagram

The Museum of Contemporary Art is another important Chicago institution. It hosts one of the largest collections of contemporary art in the whole country. It is a must-see for any art lover visiting Chicago. It’s also a cutting edge destination for those who wish to enjoy contemporary art exhibitions and an enticing program of cultural events and traveling exhibits.

Don’t miss the exciting touring exhibitions that complement the core collection. You might want to catch shows from the likes of Takashi Murakami and Kerry James Marshall. You should also consider a visit to the in-house restaurant, Marisol, where an inventive menu is served. Visit early or late during peak times if you wish for a more relaxed experience.

Museum of Contemporary Art
Streeterville, 220 E Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
Admission: $8–15
Ph: +1 (312) 280-2660
Get directions

Best place to eat near Museum of Contemporary Art according to locals and visitors:
• Tzuco (4.6/5 stars, Mexican, $$$)
• RL Restaurant (4.5/5 stars, American, $$)
• Sabroso! Mexican Grill (4.9/5 stars, Mexican, $$)

See the full list of places to eat near Museum of Contemporary Art.

The best hotel to stay near Museum of Contemporary Art based on overall price, location and amenities according to travelers:

Waldorf Astoria Chicago ( 8.9/10 stars, $$$) – Booking.com

25. Visit Wicker Park and do a Walking Food Tour

Beer Piece Taps

3-1 Chew Food Tour for Bucktown and Wicker Park | Photo by Chicago Food Planet

Wicker Park has been a residential enclave since the city was incorporated way back in 1837. Today, it is known for its hip vibe and creativity, with a vibrant cultural and music scene, quirky shops, specialty stores, and excellent dining venues. Best time to go? Visit any time of the year. Come early and enjoy breakfast at a quirky cafe, enjoy mid-day shopping at unusual boutiques, or visit later in the evening to dine and enjoy a lively evening of entertainment, drinks, live music, clubbing, and more.

Wicker Park
Wicker Park, 1425 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
Admission: Free 
Get directions

Best place to eat near Wicker Park according to locals and visitors:
• Mott St (4.6/5 stars, Asian, $$$)
• 1492 Cuban Fusion Café (4.7/5 stars, Cuban, $$)
• En Hakkore Bibimbap & Taco (4.6/5 stars, Korean, $$)

See the full list of places to eat near Wicker Park.

The best hotel to stay near Wicker Park based on overall price, location and amenities according to travelers:

Silversmith Hotel Chicago Downtown (9.4/10 stars, $$$) – Booking.com

26. Find food, fun, and more in Chinatown

Man preparing food in the restaurant kitchen

Chinatown Food Walking Tour | Photo by Getyourguide.com

Chicago’s lively Chinatown was first settled in 1912 and is yet another interesting neighborhood that you should consider taking the time to explore. It is the second-largest Chinatown in the nation. Head for the heart of Chinatown’s lively business district on Cermak and Wentworth to discover a wealth of Chinese ships, cafes, dim sum restaurants, and tea houses.

Head for the Chinese-American Museum to find out more about the history of the area. See Nine-Dragon Wall – a reproduction of a 15th century mural in Beijing.

Don’t miss: Enjoy some authentic Chinese-American food and drink and learn more about the culture at one of the museums in the area. Head on over to Ping Tom Memorial Park to relax in green surroundings, or perhaps to rent a kayak to explore the water.

Chinatown
Chinatown, 2216 S Wentworth Ave, Chicago, IL 60616
Admission: Free
Get directions

Best place to eat near Chinatown according to locals and visitors:
• 岩茶食屋Elitery (4.8/5 stars, Ramen, $$$)
• LEE KUM KEE (5/5 stars, Barbecue, $$)
• Il Culaccino – Chicago Italian Restaurant (4.5/5 stars, Italian, $$)

See the full list of places to eat near Chinatown.

The best hotel to stay near Chinatown based on overall price, location and amenities according to travelers:

Loews Chicago Hotel (9.3/10 stars, $$$) – Booking.com

27. Make new friends at The Empty Bottle

Drinks at the Empty Bottle

The Empty Bottle | Photo by @emptybottle via Instagram

The Empty Bottle is one of the most entertaining music venues that offers cold beer, tasty cocktails, and a friendly, welcoming vibe. Visit for a brew and to make new friends and take in the live music. Check out their website to see which innovative acts are playing (and to check for ticket giveaways). Don’t miss the chance to dance the night away in a friendly venue with a top-notch sound system.

The Empty Bottle
Ukrainian Village, 1035 N Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
Admission: $12
Ph: +1 (773) 276-3600
Get directions

Best place to eat near The Empty Bottle according to locals and visitors:
• Joey G’s Mac n Cheese (4.6/5 stars, American, $$$)
• Lao Peng You (4.6/5 stars, Chinese, $$)
• Border Taco (4.7/5 stars, Mexican-Indian, $$)

See the full list of places to eat near The Empty Bottle.

The best hotel to stay near The Empty Bottle based on overall price, location and amenities according to travelers:

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LondonHouse Chicago, Curio Collection by Hilton (8.9/10 stars, $$$) – Booking.com

28. Party at the famous Rainbo Club

The Rainbo Club Outside Sign

Outside Rainbo Club | Photo by Joel Mann via Flickr

This beloved bar has lured entire generations of hipsters to this part of Wicker Park. The interior has changed little since the 1940’s. Why go? Mingle with members of Chicago’s close-knit musical community. Though lively, avoid weekends when this place is packed to the brim. Consider a weekday visit instead. The Tamale Man will come around later to serve tamales and help you satisfy those post-drink cravings.

Rainbo Club
Ukrainian Village, 1150 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
Average cocktail: $3.75
Ph: +1 (773) 489-5999
Get directions

Best place to eat near Rainbo Club according to locals and visitors:
• Takorea Cocina (4.6/5 stars, Mexican-Korean, $$$)
• BoeufHaus (4.7/5 stars, Steak house, $$)
• Thai Basil (5/5 stars, Rice restaurant, $$)

See the full list of places to eat near Rainbo Club.

The best hotel to stay near Rainbo Club based on overall price, location and amenities according to travelers:

Ace Hotel Chicago (8.9/10 stars, $$$) – Booking.com

29. Enjoy beauty and culture at the Chicago Cultural Center

The Tiffany Dome of Chicago Cultural Center

The Tiffany Dome of Chicago Cultural Center | Photo by @erinbenoit17 via Instagram

The Chicago Cultural Center was built in 1897 as Chicago’s first central library. It was built to impress and made of fine materials and skilled craftsmanship. It is best known not as an event venue, but as the location for the world’s largest Tiffany Dome, 38 feet in diameter and was created with some 30,000 pieces of glass, and for a second glass dome designed by Healy and Millet, as well as other architectural wonders.

This cultural center is well known as a creative hub within the city. People are drawn here for the enticing program of free cultural events, but also by the attractiveness of the building itself. Visit throughout the year but see it at its best on a sunny day, when the sunlight streams through the breathtaking glass domes.

Chicago Cultural Center
78 E Washington St, Chicago, IL 60602, United States
Admission: Free
Ph: +1 (312) 744-6630
Get directions

Best place to eat near Chicago Cultural Center according to locals and visitors:
• Catch 35 (4.5/5 stars, Seafood, $$$)
• U.B. Dogs (4.7/5 stars, Hot dog, $$)
• Rawabi grill (5/5 stars, Middle Eastern, $$)

See the full list of places to eat near Chicago Cultural Center.

The best hotel to stay near Chicago Cultural Center based on overall price, location and amenities according to travelers:

Staypineapple, The Loop (9.1/10 stars, $$$) – Booking.com

30. Explore Chicago’s past at the Chicago History Museum

1929: a bird's-eye view of Milwaukee, North, and Damen Avenues in Wicker Park

1929: A bird’s-eye view of Milwaukee, North, and Damen Avenues in Wicker Park | Photo by @chicagomuseum via Instagram

Founded as the Chicago Historical Society in 1856, the institution was renamed the Chicago History Museum in 2006. History buffs should be sure to visit this museum to delve deeper into the city’s history and find out more about what’s made Chicago the place it is today. Discover more about the city’s fascinating past as you wander through the amazing building.

Don’t miss the treasure trove of artifacts in the permanent exhibitions, the biggest of which is the exhibit entitled Chicago: Crossroads of America.

Chicago History Museum
Old Town Triangle, 1601 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614
Admission: Free to members; $$17–19
Ph: +1 (312) 642-4600
Get directions

Best place to eat near Chicago History Museum according to locals and visitors:
• mfk. restaurant (4.6/5 stars, Seafood, $$$)
• Del Seoul (4.6/5 stars, Korean, $$)
• Green Tea Japanese Restaurant (4.6/5 stars, Japanese, $$)

See the full list of places to eat near Chicago History Museum.

The best hotel to stay near Chicago History Museum based on overall price, location and amenities according to travelers:

Villa D’ Citta Bed & Breakfast (9.2/10 stars, $$$) – Booking.com

31. See the Art Deco splendor of Merchandise Mart

Merchandise Mart light show at night - Things to do in Chicago

Merchandise Mart light show at night | Photo by James Brayvia Pexels

Opened in 1930, this commercial building is one of the city’s iconic buildings. It was the largest building in the world when it was built and has over 4 million square feet of office space. The art deco features of the exterior of the building are a highlight to the cityscape. You should also consider paying a visit to the high-end home design and furniture showrooms inside.

View the iconic art deco architecture, or head inside to shop ‘til you drop. Visit weekdays from 9 am to 6 pm, or Saturdays from 10 am to 3 pm.

Merchandise Mart
River North, 222 W Merchandise Mart Plaza, Chicago, IL 60654
Admission: Free
Ph: +1 (800) 677-6278
Get directions

Best place to eat near Merchandise Mart according to locals and visitors:
• Somerset (4.6/5 stars, Seafood, $$$)
• Mogadishu Restaurant (4.7/5 stars, East African, $$)
• Cira (4.6/5 stars, Modern Mediterranean, $$)

See the full list of places to eat near Merchandise Mart.

The best hotel to stay near Merchandise Mart based on overall price, location and amenities according to travelers:

Hotel Julian (8.8/10 stars, $$$) – Booking.com

32. Visit Holy Name Cathedral

Interior of the newly restored Holy Name Cathedra

Interior of the newly restored Holy Name Cathedral | Photo by Eric Chan Wiki Media

Built in 1874, this is one of the most famous Catholic Cathedrals in the United States. In the majestic silence of this fascinating landmark, you can pray, worship, or simply enjoy the ecclesiastical Gothic Revival architecture. The cathedral is open to the non-religious general public when religious observances are not taking place, though of course, you are also welcome to attend mass with the local congregation. You can also do a tour.

Holy Name Cathedral
730 N Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
Admission: Free
Ph: +1 (312) 787-8040
Get directions

Best place to eat near Holy Name Cathedral according to locals and visitors:
• EuroAsia Restaurant (4.5/5 stars, Eastern European, $$$)
• Mastro’s Steakhouse (4.5/5 stars, Fine dining, $$)
• Eggoholic Chicago (4.5/5 stars, Indian, $$)

See the full list of places to eat near Holy Name Cathedral.

The best hotel to stay near Holy Name Cathedral based on overall price, location and amenities according to travelers:

Claridge House (8.4/10 stars, $$$) – Booking.com

33. Ascend to the Chicago Temple

Chicago Temple Building | best things to do in Chicago

Chicago Temple Building | Photo by Antoine Taveneaux via Wikimedia Commons

Dating back to 1831, this is the oldest church in the city, but it is best known for its unusual location – at the top of a skyscraper. Visit this iconic building to enjoy the oxymoron of a Gothic, traditional church perched high above the city streets below. Tours of the Sky Chapel are offered Mon-Sat 2 pm or Sunday at 9:45 am or 12:15 pm. The intricate stain glass windows in the sanctuary depict traditional biblical scenes and the Chicago skyline.

Chicago Temple Building
The Loop, 77 W. Washington St. Chicago, IL 60602
Admission: Free
Ph: +1 (312) 236-4548
Get directions

Best place to eat near Chicago Temple Building according to locals and visitors:
• Siena Tavern (4.5/5 stars, Italian, $$$)
• Next Restaurant (4.7/5 stars, Fine dining, $$)
• Greek Islands (4.6/5 stars, Greek, $$)

See the full list of places to eat near Chicago Temple Building.

The best hotel to stay near Chicago Temple Building based on overall price, location and amenities according to travelers:

theWit Chicago – a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel (8.9/10 stars, $$$) – Booking.com

34. Browse the Busy Beaver Button Company

Unique Customized Buttons

Unique Customized Buttons | Photo by @busybeaverbuttoncovia Instagram

This is the only museum in the world solely dedicated to pin-back buttons. The company was founded in 1995 and the museum opened in 2010. Come here to see the quirky, interesting displays of buttons made and worn to denote political affiliations, to celebrate bands, holidays, life events, and more. Pop in throughout the year to discover a wide range of interesting, limited-edition buttons. Many quirky buttons date back to the 1800’s.

Busy Beaver Button
3407 W Armitage Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
Admission: Free
Ph: +1 (773) 645-3359
Get directions

Best place to eat near Busy Beaver Button according to locals and visitors:
• Lula Cafe (4.7/5 stars, New American, $$$)
• Owen & Engine (4.7/5 stars, British, $$)
• Penumbra Restaurant & Wine Bar (4.8/5 stars, Wine bar, $$)

See the full list of places to eat near Busy Beaver Button.

The best hotel to stay near Busy Beaver Button based on overall price, location and amenities according to travelers:

The Robey (8.9/10 stars, $$$) – Booking.com

35. Marvel at Merz Apothecary

Merz Apothecary front entrance

Merz Apothecary | Merz Apothecary via Bizjournal

Around 20 years after aspirin was invented and 80 years before polio was eradicated from the US, a pharmacist named Peter Merz opened this apothecary in 1875. Experience the look, feel, and smell of a 19th-century apothecary and shop for skincare and hygiene products, herbal remedies, vitamins, and other natural products.

Be sure to note the beautiful wooden, hand-carved facade, tin ceiling, and oak cabinets, as well as the traditional glass bottles that were used to store herbs. This Lincoln Avenue shop is open Mon-Sat from 9 am to 6 pm and is closed on Sundays.

Merz Apothecary
4716 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60625
Admission: Free
Ph: +1 (773) 989-0900
Get directions

Best place to eat near Merz Apothecary according to locals and visitors:
• Campesino Restaurant (4.6/5 stars, Mexican, $$$)
• Jibek Jolu Chicago (4.6/5 stars, British, $$)
• Kabobi – Persian and Mediterranean Grill (4.6/5 stars, Wine bar, $$)

See the full list of places to eat near Merz Apothecary.

The best hotel to stay near Merz Apothecary based on overall price, location and amenities according to travelers:

Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel, Chicago (8.7/10 stars, $$$) – Booking.com

36. Wonder at Woolly Mammoth Antiques and Oddities

Frame of contortionists at Woolly Mammoth Chicago

Frame of contortionists at Woolly Mammoth Chicago | Photo by @woollymammothchicago via Instagram

This weird, morbid curiosity shop is a Wicker Park institution filled with antiques and oddities. Find everything from animal bones to human teeth and all sorts of other bizarre ephemera in this strange setting. An alligator turned into a lamp with a bulb in its mouth, a Boy Scout’s hand-made wooden journal, outdated medical equipment, and countless bones and skulls are just some of the weird highlights you’ll find in this unusual store.

The store is open from 1 pm to 7 pm on Mondays, from 3 pm to 7 pm on Tuesdays, and noon to 7 pm for the rest of the week.

Woolly Mammoth Chicago
Anderson Ville, 1513 W Foster Ave, Chicago, IL 60640
Admission: Free
Ph: +1 (773) 989-3294
Get directions

Best place to eat near Woolly Mammoth Chicago according to locals and visitors:
• Taste of Lebanon Restaurant (4.9/5 stars, Lebanese, $$$)
• Laschet’s Inn (4.9/5 stars, German, $$)
• Band of Bohemia (4.6/5 stars, New American, $$)

See the full list of places to eat near Woolly Mammoth Chicago.

The best hotel to stay near Woolly Mammoth Chicago based on overall price, location and amenities according to travelers:

Chicago Guest House (9.9/10 stars, $$$) – Booking.com

37. Browse the Shelves at the Best Bookstore in Chicago: Myopic Books

Myopic Bookstore window one of the best things to do in Chicago

Myopic Bookstore | Photo by @mypoicbookstore via Instagram

The bookstore hosts plenty of poetry readings and experimental music events, so try to catch one if you can while you are in the area.

Don’t miss the events that bring important, cutting-edge artists and writers to the mainstream.

Myopic Bookstore
Wicker Park, 1564 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
Admission: Free
Ph: +1 (773) 862-4882
Get directions

Best place to eat near Myopic Bookstore according to locals and visitors:
• Handlebar (4.6/5 stars, Vegetarian, $$$)
• Wynwood (4.5/5 stars, American, $$)
• Gracie O’ Malley’s-Wicker Park (4.9/5 stars, Pub, $$)

See the full list of places to eat near Myopic Bookstore.

The best hotel to stay near Myopic Bookstore based on overall price, location and amenities according to travelers:

Renaissance Chicago Downtown Hotel (8.9/10 stars, $$$) – Booking.com

38. Drink or Dance at Phyllis’ Musical Inn

Phyllis Musical Inn

Phyllis Musical Inn | Photo by @theemptypockets via Instagram

This place is another highlight of Wicker Park’s vibrant nightlife— a bar with a beer garden that also boasts the fact that it was the area’s first live-music venue. Why go? To enjoy the authentic interior charm, live music, and drink outdoors, or have fun sinking a few hoops in the adjoining beer garden.

Don’t miss: Live music most nights, and open-mic night on Tuesdays.

Phyllis Musical Inn
Wicker Park, 1800 W Division St, Chicago, IL 60622
Admission: $-$$
Ph: +1 (773) 486-9862
Get directions

Best place to eat near Phyllis Musical Inn according to locals and visitors:
• Dante’s Tavern (4.6/5 stars, Pizza, $$$)
• Temporis (4.8/5 stars, American, $$)
• BIG & little’s Restaurant (4.6/5 stars, American, $$)

See the full list of places to eat near Phyllis Musical Inn.

The best hotel to stay near Phyllis Musical Inn based on overall price, location and amenities according to travelers:

Kimpton Hotel Palomar Chicago (8.9/10 stars, $$$) – Booking.com

39. Learn about African American History at the DuSable

The Art and Influence of Dr. Margaret T. Burroughs, 1960–1980 at the DuSable

“South Side Stories” exhibit at The Dusable | Photo by @dusablemuseum via Instagram

The DuSable Museum of African American History is well known for being a major site in the study and dissemination of information relating to African American history, culture, and art. It was founded in 1961. Learn more about African American history, culture, and art – a fascinating experience for all, not only for those with a particular interest in the subject matter.  Highlights includes a new, permanent Washington exhibit, the desk of activist Ida B. Wells, a violin that belonged to the poet Paul Laurence Dunbar, and the Charles Dawson papers.

DuSable Museum
Washington Park, 740 E 56th Pl, Chicago, IL 60637
Admission: US$3–10
Ph: +1 (773) 947-0600
Get directions

Best place to eat near DuSable Museum according to locals and visitors:
• La Charreada Sports Bar & Restaurant (4.5/5 stars, Bar & grill, $$$)
• Virtue Restaurant (4.6/5 stars, Southern, $$)
• Lou Mitchell’s (4.6/5 stars, Breakfast, $$)

See the full list of places to eat near DuSable Museum.

The best hotel to stay near DuSable Museum based on overall price, location and amenities according to travelers:

Ivy Boutique Hotel (9/10 stars, $$$) – Booking.com

40. Explore the Middle East at the Oriental Institute Museum

photograph of Achaemenid reliefs at the site of Persepolis

Achaemenid reliefs at the site of Persepolis | Photo by @theorientalinstitute via Instagram

The Oriental Institute was founded for the University of Chicago by Professor James Henry Breasted with funds donated by John D. Rockefeller Jr. in 1919. The museum opened to the public in 1931 and is now the center for Near-Eastern studies as well as an archaeological museum. Why go? Explore a fascinating collection of some 350,000 objects related to the Middle East.

Don’t miss: There are collections that include the famous Megiddo Ivories, treasures from Persepolis, Luristan Bronzes, a massive Lamassu from Khorsabad, and a large statue of King Tutankhamun.

The Oriental Institute Museum
Hyde Park, 1155 E 58th St, Chicago, IL 60637
Admission: Free; $ – $$ for selected tours
Ph: +1 (773) 702-9514
Get directions

Best place to eat near The Oriental Institute Museum according to locals and visitors:
• La Charreada Sports Bar & Restaurant (4.5/5 stars, Bar & grill, $$$)
• EL ideas (4.8/5 stars, American, $$)
• S.K.Y. (4.6/5 stars, American, $$)

See the full list of places to eat near The Oriental Institute Museum.

The best hotel to stay near The Oriental Institute Museum based on overall price, location and amenities according to travelers:

Omni Chicago Hotel (8.9/10 stars, $$$) – Booking.com

41. Grasp the Gilded Age at the Richard H. Driehaus Museum

Exhibits at The Richard H. Driehaus Museum

The Richard H. Driehaus Museum | Photo by @driehausmuseum via Instagram

Housed within the Samuel M. Nickerson House, which was the residence of a wealthy Chicago banker that dates back to 1883, this museum is known for its unique exhibits. Explore the architecture, art, and design of the late 19th century, with an emphasis on the Gilded Age.

Don’t miss:Be sure to explore all three floors of the mansion museum. Check out the beautiful Tiffany collection, including a stained-glass window and over 1,500 other Tiffany objects. There are plenty of other stunning craftsman objects and furnishings to admire as well. The museum is closed on Mondays and open on Tuesday – Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm.

Richard H. Driehaus Museum
Magnificent Mile, 40 E Erie St, Chicago, IL 60611
Admission: US$10–20
Ph: +1 (312) 482-8933
Get directions

Best place to eat near Richard H. Driehaus Museum according to locals and visitors:
• Eight Bar and Patio (4.7/5 stars, Bar & grill, $$$)
• Egg Harbor Cafe (4.6/5 stars, Brunch, $$)
• JuiceRx (4.6/5 stars, Juice shop, $$)

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See the full list of places to eat near Richard H. Driehaus Museum.

The best hotel to stay near Richard H. Driehaus Museum based on overall price, location and amenities according to travelers:

Thompson Chicago (9.2/10 stars, $$$) – Booking.com

42. Shop Special Science Stuff at American Science and Surplus

American Science & Surplus

American Science & Surplus | Photo by @americansciencesurplu via Instagram

This shop is a well-known specialty store that sells old science equipment to teachers and others. Head here for an unusual shopping experience and for the chance to pick up those odds and ends you might need for your own scientific experiments. Cool kits and equipment to pick up for your young budding scientists include boat kits, earth science kits, anatomical model kits, telescopes, microscopes, and much more.

The Chicago store on Milwaukee Avenue is open weekdays from 10 am to 7 pm (8 pm on Wednesdays), Saturdays 10 am-6 pm, and Sundays from 11 am to 5 pm.

American Science & Surplus
Gladstone, 5316 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60630
Price: $$
Ph: +1 (773) 763-0313
Get directions

Best place to eat near American Science & Surplus according to locals and visitors:
• Ssyal – Chicago Korean Restaurant (4.7/5 stars, Korean, $$$)
• Smakosz Restaurant (4.6/5 stars, Polish, $$)
• Rasmus Pizza Restaurant (4.5/5 stars, Pizza, $$)

See the full list of places to eat near American Science & Surplus.

The best hotel to stay near American Science & Surplus based on overall price, location and amenities according to travelers:

SpringHill Suites by Marriott Chicago O’Hare (8.6/10 stars, $$$) – Booking.com

43. Enjoy Hispanic Artistry at the National Museum of Mexican Art

National Museum of Mexican Art building Things to do in Chicago

National Museum of Mexican Art building | Photo by @explorenmma via Instagram

As you might have guessed, this museum is known for its excellent collection of Mexican artwork. It is located in the Pilsen neighborhood–an area that traditionally has a large Hispanic population. This is the country’s largest collection of Mexican art and is a must for art lovers.Admission is always free.

Don’t miss: Be sure to take some time to explore the permanent “Nuestras Historias” exhibition, which contains artworks by, among others, Jose de Paez and Miguel Cabrera, as well as more modern works by Duarte and Ortiz.

National Museum of Mexican Art
Harrison Park, 1852 W 19th St, Chicago, IL 60608
Admission: Free
Ph: +1 (312) 738-1503
Get directions

Best place to eat near National Museum of Mexican Art according to locals and visitors:
• Ghin Khao Eat Rice (4.9/5 stars, Thai, $$$)
• Carnitas Uruapan Restaurant (4.7/5 stars, Mexican, $$)
• Cafe Emmanuel (4.8/5 stars, Mexican, $$)

See the full list of places to eat near National Museum of Mexican Art.

The best hotel to stay near National Museum of Mexican Art based on overall price, location and amenities according to travelers:

JW Marriott Chicago (8.4/10 stars, $$$) – Booking.com

44. Go Ghost Hunting at Rosehill Cemetery

the Rosehill Cemetery Grand Entrance | best things to do in Chicago

Rosehill Cemetery Grand Entrance | Photo by Richie Diesterheft via Flickr

This is the largest cemetery in the city. It is full of Victorian monuments and has more than a few ghost stories. Meander among the beautiful tombs, explore the resting place of many of the city’s former inhabitants, and perhaps do a bit of ghost hunting. The graves of important figures in Chicago’s history, including Richard Sears, Aaron Montgomery Ward, and John D. Shedd, can also be found here. Consider a late visit to get a sense of the spooky atmosphere when the ghosts might arise.

Rosehill Cemetery
5800 North Ravenswood Ave Chicago, IL 60660
Admission: Free
Ph: +1 773-561-5940
Get directions

Best place to eat near Rosehill Cemetery according to locals and visitors:
• Nawaz Gulshan (4.6/5 stars, Indian, $$$)
• Mirch – The Restaurant (5/5 stars, Indian, $$)
• Mr. Falafel (4.7/5 stars, Mediterranean, $$)

See the full list of places to eat near Rosehill Cemetery.

The best hotel to stay near Rosehill Cemetery based on overall price, location and amenities according to travelers:

Chicago Guest House (9.9/10 stars, $$$) – Booking.com

45. Try the Atomic Cake at Weber’s Bakery

Atomic cakes displayed in bakery shop

Weber’s Bakery | Photo by Visitor via Zagat

Chicago is a great place for food lovers. One of the city’s specialties, found in bakeshops throughout Chicago’s South Side, is the atomic cake. These cakes, which are not well known beyond the South Side, have been sold here since the 50’s. This delicious sweet treat is a confection that is essentially three desserts in one.

Three cake bases (banana, plain sponge, and chocolate) are layered with fillings and fruit, then bananas, cream custard, glazed strawberries, and topped with a layer of fudge and either whipped cream or buttercream. Weber’s Bakery, the oldest family bakery on the South Side, or the Calumet Bakery (dating back to 1935), both serve excellent examples.

Weber’s Bakery
7055 W Archer Ave, Chicago, IL 60638
Price: $$
Ph: +1 (773) 586-1234
Get directions

Best place to eat near Weber’s Bakery according to locals and visitors:
• Alexanders Restaurant (4.5/5 stars, American, $$$)
• Three Sons Restaurant (4.5/5 stars, Breakfast, $$)
• Xocome Antojeria (4.6/5 stars, Mexican, $$)

See the full list of places to eat near Weber’s Bakery.

The best hotel to stay near Weber’s Bakery based on overall price, location and amenities according to travelers:

DoubleTree by Hilton Chicago Midway Airport (9/10 stars, $$$) – Booking.com

46. Sip a cocktail at the Violet Hour

Bar with liquors in shelf and candles

The Violet Hour Bar | Photo by @violethourchicago via Instagram

This award-winning bar is the place to come for a cocktail in Chicago. Come here for exquisite, high-end cocktails and to be seen.

Don’t miss the cool exterior with its wall of rough-hewn plants covered with a changing array of murals and street art. Plus those excellent cocktails, of course. Go in the evening, but be sure to get here early if you don’t want to wait in line.

Violet Hour
Wicker Park, 1520 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
See The Violet Hour cocktail menu
Ph: +1 (773) 252-1500
Get directions

Best place to eat near Violet Hour according to locals and visitors:
• Handlebar (4.6/5 stars, Vegetarian, $$$)
• Forbidden Root Restaurant & Brewery (4.6/5 stars, Brewpub, $$)
• Antico (4.7/5 stars, Northern Italian, $$)

See the full list of places to eat near Violet Hour.

The best hotel to stay near Violet Hour based on overall price, location and amenities according to travelers:

Kinzie Hotel (8.9/10 stars, $$$) – Booking.com

47. Delve into Chicago’s Musical History at Green Mill Jazz Club

Front of Green Mill Cocktail Lounge, Chicago

Green Mill Cocktail Lounge, Chicago | Photo by Kenenth C. Zirkel via Wiki Images

This Chicago club played an important role in Chicago’s musical history. It has long been a popular hot spot for great music. Come here to walk in the footsteps of Frank Sinatra, Charlie Chaplin, and jazz greats such as Von Freeman and Kurt Elling.

The notorious Al Capone also patronized the club many times. Take this chance to go back in time to the 1940’s and enjoy jazz greats. Consider the fact that below your feet as you enjoy the lounge are hidden tunnels once used as an escape route by the mafia to store and traffic illicit booze.

Green Mill Cocktail Lounge
4802 N Broadway, Chicago, IL 60640
Admission: $$
Ph: +1 (773) 878-5552
Get directions

Best place to eat near Green Mill Cocktail Lounge according to locals and visitors:
• Taste of Lebanon Restaurant (4.9/5 stars, Lebanese, $$$)
• Band of Bohemia (4.6/5 stars, New American, $$)
• Demera Restaurant (4.7/5 stars, Ethiopian, $$)

See the full list of places to eat near Green Mill Cocktail Lounge.

The best hotel to stay near Green Mill Cocktail Lounge based on overall price, location and amenities according to travelers:

The Guesthouse Hotel (9.1/10 stars, $$$) – Booking.com

48. Embrace Sustainability at The Plant

Process of fogponics at The Plant Chicago

Fogponics | Photo by The Plant Chicago

This former meatpacking facility has been turned into a vertical urban farm and the ultimate sustainable business. Check out The Plant to embrace sustainability and learn more about eco-friendly food production and business. Visit during the summer season to see the food production here in full force. Tours of the complex are offered on Saturdays at 2 pm or by appointment.

The Plant
Back of the Yards, 1400 W 46th St, Chicago, IL 60609
Admission: Free – $$
Ph: +1 (773) 357-7192
Get directions

Best place to eat near The Plant according to locals and visitors:
• Ines Restaurant (4.6/5 stars, Mexican , $$$)
• Stanley’s (4.8/5 stars, Bar & grill, $$)
• Visita Maravatio Restaurante (4.7/5 stars, Ethiopian, $$)

See the full list of places to eat near The Plant.

The best hotel to stay near The Plant based on overall price, location and amenities according to travelers:

Marriott Marquis Chicago (9.1/10 stars, $$$) – Booking.com

49. Embrace Equality in Boystown

Streets of Boystown Neighborhood

Boystown – Northalsted Days | Photo by Alan Light via Flickr

This vibrant, thriving neighborhood is one of the largest LGBTQ communities in the American Midwest. It hosts the city’s Pride Parade each year and has a range of cool shops, record stores, boutiques, offbeat theaters, bars, clubs, and entertainment venues.

Don’t miss the cool vintage clothing and thrift stores for eco-friendly and affordable shopping. Check out the amazing vegetarian restaurant Chicago Diner and other cool places to eat and drink. Stroll along the Legacy Walk, an outdoors LGBTQ museum.

Boystown Chicago
Boystown Chicago, IL
Free to visit
Get directions

Best place to eat near Boystown Chicago according to locals and visitors:
• Chicago Diner (4.7/5 stars, Vegan, $$$)
• El Mariachi Restaurant (4.5/5 stars, Mexican, $$)
• Yoshi’s Cafe (4.7/5 stars, French-Japanese, $$)

See the full list of places to eat near Boystown Chicago.

The best hotel to stay near Boystown Chicago based on overall price, location and amenities according to travelers:

The Ritz-Carlton, Chicago (8.9/10 stars, $$$) – Booking.com

50. Revel in Farm-to-Fork Food at City Farm Chicago

Fresh cucumbers at City Farm Chicago

Fresh cucumbers at City Farm Chicago | Photo by @cityfarmchicago via Instagram

Another sustainable site in the city, City Farm, is one of the oldest city farms in Chicago, where the farm-to-fork movement is flourishing. Visit and see what’s possible in terms of food production in an urban environment, and possibly to learn skills that could help you contribute to food security where you live.

Don’t miss: Be sure to keep an eye on the ground to see all the amazing food growing right here in the heart of the city.

City Farm Chicago
550 W Division St, Chicago, IL 60610
Admission: Free
Ph: +1 (773) 821-1351
Get directions

Best place to eat near City Farm Chicago according to locals and visitors:
• New Zaiqa (4.6/5 stars, Indian, $$$)
• Farmer’s Fridge (4.7/5 stars, Self service, $$)
• Entente (4.6/5 stars, New American, $$)

See the full list of places to eat near City Farm Chicago.

The best hotel to stay near City Farm Chicago based on overall price, location and amenities according to travelers:

Swissotel Chicago (8.8/10 stars, $$$) – Booking.com

51. Parade Pedestrian Paths at Humboldt Park

Humboldt Park's "Sea of Flags" mural | Photo by TheeErin via Flickr

Humboldt Park’s “Sea of Flags” mural | Photo by TheeErinvia Flickr

Humboldt Park is one of the largest green spaces on Chicago’s West Side. It’s located within a predominantly Puerto Rican neighborhood and is a lively place to spend some quality time.

When to go? Visit Humboldt Park during the summer months when the park comes alive with locals. You can find vendors selling a range of interesting street food.

Don’t miss: Try the mofongo (meat-stuffed plantains) sold here in the summer, which can be a definite highlight. You should also be sure not to miss the iconic Prairie-style boathouse and the inland beach.

Humboldt Park
1440 N. Humboldt Boulevard Chicago, IL 60622
Admission: Free
Ph: (312) 742-7549
Get directions

Best place to eat near Humboldt Park according to locals and visitors:
• The Golden Village Mexican Restaurant (4.8/5 stars, Mexican , $$$)
• La Encantada Restaurant (4.6/5 stars, Mexican, $$)
• ArePA George (4.5/5 stars, Colombian, $$)

See the full list of places to eat near Humboldt Park.

The best hotel to stay near Humboldt Park based on overall price, location and amenities according to travelers:

Chicago Athletic Association (8.9/10 stars, $$$) – Booking.com

52. Visit Chicago Botanic Garden

Orchids at Chicago Botanic Garden | Things to do in Chicago

Orchids at Chicago Botanic Garden | Photo by @chicagobotanic via Instagram

The Chicago Botanic Garden is another spot to enjoy green vegetation in the city. You will find no fewer than 27 different gardens set on 385 acres. Come here to revel in natural beauty, enjoy a range of family-friendly drop-in events, and learn more about plants and horticulture. The gardens are open from 7 am to 9 pm.

Don’t miss the fruit and vegetable garden, as well as the Garden View Cafe, where the produce from this garden is served.

Chicago Botanic Garden
1000 Lake Cook Rd, Glencoe, IL 60022
Admission: Free
Ph: +1 (847) 835-5440
Get directions

Best place to eat near Chicago Botanic Garden according to locals and visitors:
• Shangai Garden Chinese Restauran (4.6/5 stars, Chinese, $$$)
• Mino’s (4.6/5 stars, Italian, $$)
• Guildhall (4.6/5 stars, American, $$)

See the full list of places to eat near Chicago Botanic Garden.

The best hotel to stay near Chicago Botanic Garden based on overall price, location and amenities according to travelers:

Courtyard Chicago Highland Park/Northbrook (8.7/10 stars, $$$) – Booking.com

53. Search the Stalls at Randolph Street Market

Randolph Street Market Chicago | Things to do in Chicago

Randolph Street Market Chicago | Photo by @randolphmarket via Instagram

This is a monthly flea market–one of the best in the city. It’s an indoor-outdoor, European-style market that offers a range of different goods. Come here to browse antiques, art, jewelry, craft items, clothing, furniture, and much, much more. The market takes place on the last weekend of each month. Enjoy a drink at the beer garden over the summer months to take a break from shopping.

Randolph Street Market
1341 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607, United States
General Admission: $8
Ph: +1 312) 666-1200
Get directions

Best place to eat near Randolph Street Market according to locals and visitors:
• Girl & The Goat (4.7/5 stars, New American, $$$)
• Elske (4.6/5 stars, New American, $$)
• Duck Duck Goat (4.6/5 stars, Chinese, $$)

See the full list of places to eat near Randolph Street Market.

The best hotel to stay near Randolph Street Market based on overall price, location and amenities according to travelers:

Kimpton Gray Hotel (9.2/10 stars, $$$) – Booking.com

54. Visit the Logan Square Farmers’ Market

Seasonal market Gotta B Crepes | Things to do in Chicago

Seasonal market Gotta B Crepes | Photo by @gottabcrepes via Instagram

The Logan Square Farmers’ Market is one of the best markets in the city. More than 80 farmers and producers set up stalls to sell their wares. You’ll find a range of delicious produce and other products to purchase as you enjoy a lovely stroll through an attractive neighborhood. The market takes place each Sunday from May through October, from 10 am to 3 pm.

Logan Square Farmers’ Market
Logan Square, 2363 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
Admission: Free
Ph: +1 (773) 489-3222
Get directions

Best place to eat near Logan Square Farmers’ Market according to locals and visitors:
• Kyōten (5/5 stars, Sushi, $$$)
• El Cubanito Restaurant (4.7/5 stars, Cuban, $$)
• Superkhana International (4.6/5 stars, Chinese, $$)

See the full list of places to eat near Logan Square Farmers’ Market.

The best hotel to stay near Logan Square Farmers’ Market based on overall price, location and amenities according to travelers:

Ace Hotel Chicago (8.9/10 stars, $$$) – Booking.com


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