Chicago is one of the largest cities in the United States. It’s located in Illinois and borders the beautiful Lake Michigan. Known for its history, architecture, museums, music, and food, there’s no shortage of things to do during a trip to this city. Below, you’ll find ten incredible places to visit in Chicago, including museums, outdoor fun, and dining options!
1. The Art Institute of Chicago
Located in Grant Park, Chicago’s Art Institute is arguably one of the best places in the city. No matter how many times you’ve gone, there’s always something new to find, and it never gets old seeing your favorite artworks! There are hundreds of thousands of pieces in this art museum, with prolific artists like Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet, Edward Hopper, Grant Wood, and so much more. The building itself is beautiful, too, with architecture in an Italian Renaissance style, a lush courtyard in the center of the building, and two guardian lions standing watch out front. Whether you’re an art fanatic or not, the art institute is necessary for any trip to Chicago.
2. Navy Pier
During the warmer months, Navy Pier is a fantastic place to visit. Located on the shore of Lake Michigan, this attraction appeals to tourists and locals alike. Throughout the year, there are tons of cool events, firework displays, live entertainment, art exhibitions, restaurants and snack bars, cute shops, and, of course, rides and games. One of the most popular things to do at Navy Pier is to ride the Centennial Ferris Wheel, which provides a breathtaking view of the city and the lake.
3. Shedd Aquarium
Found on the beautiful Lake Shore Drive, Shedd Aquarium is a popular location for both tourists and residents. This huge aquarium has over thirty-thousand animals, and there are tons of unique experiences you can have with the sealife! At the Shedd Aquarium, you have the opportunity to feed a shark, meet a beluga whale, experience an immersive dolphin show, meet a penguin, and more. Additionally, Shedd Aquarium is doing great work in conservation research, animal and wildlife care, and promoting environmental awareness. This is definitely a place you’ll feel good about supporting.
4. Cloud Gate
If you haven’t heard of Cloud Gate, that’s probably because most people refer to it as “The Bean.” That’s right, The Bean. Does that ring any bells? This reflective stainless steel sculpture is a staple of Chicago. If you’ve been to The Bean and haven’t taken a stupid picture with your friends, have you even been to The Bean? The sculpture is located in Millenium Park, which is a wonderful area to visit. Aside from The Bean, the park has lots of lunch spots, outdoor art exhibits, and fun areas for kids. On a warm summer day, it’s definitely worthwhile to take a walk to this park.
5. Uno’s Pizzeria & Grill
Chicago is especially known for its decadent deep dish pizza. You really can’t go wrong with any pizza place in Chicago, but if you want to experience the best the city has to offer, Uno’s is the way to go. During your trip to the city, you’ll have to get pizza at least once, and you’ll definitely have to try the infamous Chicago-style pizza. Even if you aren’t a fan of deep dish (if that’s possible), Uno’s thin crust pizza is incredible, too.
6. Field Museum
If you’re a fan of museums, Chicago’s Field Museum should definitely be added to your itinerary. It’s located near the shore of Lake Michigan and has a collection of over forty million artifacts and specimen. Their diverse exhibits range from ancient history to recent scientific innovations, so there really is something for everyone.
7. Adler Planetarium
One of the best attractions in Chicago is the Adler Planetarium! This is a place you’ll want to go back to again and again. Every visit is an incredible experience, and you’ll learn something fascinating no matter how old you are. The planetarium is located on the beautiful Northerly Island, surrounded by Lake Michigan. The exhibits are educational, immersive, and interactive, making the trip fun and enjoyable for everyone. If you’re interested in space, you really won’t want to skip this trip.
8. Ed Debevic’s
Eating at Ed Debevic’s restaurant is truly an unmatched experience. This 1950’s inspired diner is infamous for its waiters, who treat customers like absolute garbage. The waiters are known for their sass, quick comebacks, and inappropriate behavior, such as dancing on table tops. Eating at this restaurant has become a rite of passage. It sounds weird, but the food is actually really good, and even though the waiters are super rude, it’s pretty hilarious. They even have to audition for the position!
9. Barnes & Noble
The Chicago Barnes & Noble is a necessity for any book lover. This bookstore has two floors, which is every reader’s dream. Located in a popular, bustling area of the city, there are plenty of other shopping and dining options around, too. There are tons of smaller bookstores in the city, but it’s worthwhile to check out the Barnes & Noble, if only for its impressive size and wide selection.
10. Oromo Cafe
There are tons of fantastic cafes in Chicago, but one of the best ones is the Oromo Cafe. Found on Lincoln Avenue, this charming cafe is known for its artisinal drinks, exotic blends, healthy bakery options, and aesthetically pleasing decor. You can even buy superfood shots, like turmeric or maca. It’s always a good idea to support smaller coffee shops, and oftentimes, locally owned cafes are far better than the popular chains. Out of the many cafes of Chicago, Oromo Cafe definitely stands out.