Chicago Attractions - Things To Do, Places To Go, Amusement Parks, Lakefront Parks, Sightseeing Tours, Zoos
Willis Tower is one of the must-visit skyscrapers in the Windy City. It used to be called Sears Tower, in case you're wondering! This Chicago skyscraper looms high at a whopping 103 stories. The observation skydeck on the 103rd floor gives you unobstructed views of the city that will take your breath away. With plenty of exhibits throughout the skydeck, you can learn about the city and its numerous landmarks. Use the skydeck's high powered telescopes to get better views of the city!
John Hancock Center is another well-known Chicago landmark. As the 12th tallest building in the world, the John Hancock Center warrants a visit because of its cool claim to fame! One hundred floors in the John Hancock Center consist of apartments, offices, shops, a hotel, an ice rink, restaurants, a post office, radio and television facilities, and, of course, the famous observation deck.
Be sure to check out Chicago deals that can save you money on your visits to these attractions!
Chicago's Museum Campus
Located on the Chicago lakefront, The Chicago Museum Campus includes three world-class museums in a setting close to Grant Park and the Loop with an outstanding Chicago skyline view. Get a feel for what this exciting grouping of attractions has to offer with our video.
If you're looking to visit all three, there's no need to pay full price! Get a 20% discount by taking advantage of the Chicago Museum Campus Pass! This discount card is exclusively offered through Chicago Traveler and gets you entry in to all three museums for one low price!
Also, check out the Go Chicago Card too for discounted prices to these museums and other Chicago attractions and sites.
Annual Chicago Events
The Taste of Chicago is one of Chicago's most famous festivals, celebrating the diversity of Chicago's cuisine. Out of all Chicago attractions and sites, this one comes highly recommended, as locals and out-of-towners alike flock to the Midwest's largest food festival. Admission to the festival is FREE, but to sample food you must purchase tickets.
The Chicago Blues Festival takes place every summer, and has been one of the most popular Chicago attractions since 1984 for Chicago Travelers! This FREE music festival in Chicago is held for 3 days, and blues artists from all over the country come to Chicago to perform. Another free summer Chicago festival is the annual Jazz Festival. Jazz musicians set up in venues all over the city and play over the course of Labor Day weekend. Check our Chicago Festival guide for more top attractions in Chicago!
The Chicago Marathon and month-long celebration of all things spooky (Chicagoween) attract people to Chicago throughout the fall, and then Chicago Travelers enjoy the holiday season with events like the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival, the week before Thanksgiving. The most famous street in the city lights up and kicks off a month-long celebration! Check out all the Chicago holiday events going on this year to help plan your trip!
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Best Chicago Attractions
Although all of the Chicago hotels are beautiful, there is so much to experience in Chicago with many Chicago sights and attractions, you're not going to want to spend all your time laying in bed! You may want to start with an overview of the city. First, see the expanse of the Chicagoland area from 1,000 feet above at the John Hancock Observatory or the Willis Tower Skydeck. At Navy Pier, Transporter FX is a virtual reality simulator sure to stimulate your senses. There are boat tours departing from Navy Pier and other city locations, and city bus tours, which point out significant landmarks and provide interesting information about Chicago and its history. See our Tours page for more tour information and see our Navy Pier page for more exciting things to do while you're there. You can even take a Progressive Dining Tour by Chicago Dine-Around.
Millennium Park at night Chicago IL
The Museum Campus, near Soldier Field, is home to The Field Museum and the Adler Planetarium, two excellent museums. See our museums section for more information. Also located at Museum Campus is the Shedd Aquarium, which is the world's largest indoor aquarium with more than 8,000 aquatic animals representing more than 700 species from all parts of the world. You can take a water taxi between Museum Campus and Navy Pier.
Two of the finest zoos in the country are located in the Chicago area and both are highly recommended. First, on the city's north side is Lincoln Park Zoo. This free zoo is open every day of the year. While it is one of the oldest zoos in the country, it is also one of the most modern. Brookfield Zoo, located in Brookfield, Illinois, just west of Chicago, is situated on 216 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds, featuring over 2,000 animals.
Visiting Chicago during any part of the year is such a wonderful experience, and there's always something exciting going on. Many of the special events are held in the summer, but check our Events Calendar to see all that Chicago is offering during your stay. Just a few annual favorites -- the Taste of Chicago, the Chicago Blues Festival, and the Chicago Air & Water Show.
Chicago Attractions and Sites:
Go Chicago Card
- Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum
- Amazing Chicago Funhouse Maze
- Brookfield Zoo
- Buckingham Fountain
- Chicago Air & Water Show
- Chicago Blues Festival
- Chicago Cultural Center
- ESPN Zone
- Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio
- Harold Washington Library Center
- Lambs Farm
- Lincoln Park Zoo
- Magnificent Mile
- Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament
- Millennium Park
- Navy Pier
- Northwestern Station
- Ravinia Festival
- Six Flags Great America
- Taste of Chicago
- The Art Institute of Chicago
- The Hancock Observatory
- Union Station
- Willis Tower Skydeck
Other Chicago Attractions
Frank Lloyd Wright's Unity Temple
875 Lake Street, Oak Park, IL, 60301
An icon of modern architecture and one of the most famous buildings in the world, Frank Lloyd Wright's Unity Temple is a masterpiece of design. Completed in 1909, Unity Temple has been attracting visitors from all over the world since it first opened its doors. Wright's first public commission, it is the last public building standing from his prolific Prairie Period. Each year more than 30,000 visitors come to Unity Temple for its all-important architectural influence, its perfect acoustics, and the brilliance of its architect. Open 7 days a week for self-guided tours; guided tours on weekends; group tours by appointment. Mon-Fri, 10:30 am to 4:30 pm; Sat-Sun 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. $8 adults; $6 senoirs 65+ and youths 22 and under; children under 5 free.
Chicago Amusement Parks/Entertainment
Amazing Chicago Funhouse Maze
600 E. Grand Ave (Navy Pier)
Chicago, Il 60611
Squeezing, stomping, spinning... double over laughing... delightfully dizzy, twisting and turning – an exhilarating sensory experience for the whole family. Located on Navy Pier. Open daily at 10am. Child pass $9.95; Adult pass $12.95; group rates available.
Bristol Renaissance Faire
In Kenosha, WI
Each year the Bristol Renaissance Faire beckons Midwesterners back to a time when knights were noble, maids were merry, and turkey legs were titanic. Each Saturday and Sunday more than 1,200 period performers, artisans and merchants inhabit the wooded village near Kenosha, WI, taking visitors along for a rollicking romp through Elizabethan England. More than 200,000 guests are expected to attend the nine-week festival, partaking in 16th Century games, rides, arts, crafts, food, music, and one-of-a-kind encounters with a colorful cast of era characters.
Chemically Imbalanced Comedy
Various locations in Chicago
Chemically Imbalanced Comedy is a production company out of FrankieJ's MethaDome Theatre specializing in improvisational and sketch comedy shows.
Chicago Ghost Investigations
446 North Wells Street, Suite 272, Chicago, 60610
773-935-6332, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Chicago Ghost Investigations seeks the unknown and invites you to do the same. Twice daily, we take our guests to conduct investigations at some popular and little known haunted locations. Armed with several types of sensors, detectors, imagers and cameras, you will be able to explore the unseen. We will teach you how to use ghost hunting equipment which will enable you to locate the spirit activity. We will also teach you a psychic technique which will allow communication between you and the spirits. Our veteran paranormal investigators will be with you for guidance. Remember, this is your investigation, how far you get is entirely up to you! Reservations are preferred. Tours depart from the Old Water Tower at Chicago and Michigan Avenues,1:30pm and 7:30pm, private parties are available.
ChicagoKids.com is a comprehensive resource for kid-friendly destinations in the Chicago area with detailed information on thousands of Chicago area destinations, events and activities.
548 Zenith Dr., Glenview, IL 60025
847-597-8122, email: email@example.com
The FireZone is a one-of-a-kind fire safety activity center and event facility for all ages and occasions. The FireZone is an interactive environment, allowing a uniquely fun, hands-on look into the world of firefighting. The FireZone features a firehouse theme with real firefighters, fire engines, educational displays, firefighter activity stations and programming to allow an imaginatively fun, learning experience.
Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament
2001 N. Roselle Rd. Schaumburg Estates, IL 60195
The Schaumburg, Illinois Castle features 85,000 square feet of splendor and has 1,430 permanent seats inside the Grand Ceremonial Arena. The Illinois Castle has welcomed over three million guests.
The Noble Horse Theatre
1410 North Orleans, Chicago Il 60610 312-266-7878
The Noble Horse presents Quadrille. A spectacular dinner performance with over 30 horses and riders from around the world. Daring Cossack riders, Arabian horses in lavish costumes and the famous white stallions.
Opera in Focus
3000 Central Road, Rolling Meadows, IL.
Opera in Focus is a puppet production company that performs selections from Opera and Operattas at the Rolling Meadows Park District Theater.
Poplar Creek Golf & Country Club
Located in Hoffman Estates, this state-of-the-art suburban-Chicago golf facility provides golfers with an 18-hole Championship Golf Course that will challenge even the most adept pro. Two PGA Professionals provide group and individual instruction on the local range. Other services include: Business or Group Golf Outings, Party, or Wedding Receptions in one of their full-service reception rooms. Golf in the winter months at the Hoffman Estates Golf Dome.
Chicago Area Zoos & Such
1356 Gary Avenue Wheaton, IL 60187 (630) 665-5534 Fax: 630-260-6408
Cosley Zoo is situated on five acres and exhibits domestic farm animals and native Illinois wildlife. In addition to the animals, visitors will find a gift shop, shaded picnic area, washrooms and seasonal concessions. All paths are paved with bricks and suitable for strollers and for persons with disabilities.
Wildlife Prairie State Park
Wildlife Prairie State Park is located 10 miles west of downtown Peoria, IL on I-74. Discover the animals that called Illinois home during the pioneer days. This unique 2,000 acre zoological park is home to wolves, bison, waterfowl, black bear, elk, cougar, otter and much more.
Glenn Oak Zoo
2218 N. Prospect Rd. Peoria, Il 61603 309-686-3365
The Zoo is home to nearly 100 species of animals from around the globe. Come see the newest members of the Zoo family, listen to the songs of the crowned cranes or lemurs and watch the lions play in the grass. Glen Oak Zoo also offers daily sea lion programs and critter chats, free parking and a gift shop stocked with unusual and exciting merchandise.
Phillips Park Zoo
1000 Ray Moses Drive
Aurora, Illinois 60505
Zoo exhibits include: Bald Eagles, Gray Wolves, Cougars, a Fox, an Arctic Fox, a Platinum Red Fox, North American River Otters, Llamas, Elk Bull and herd, Goats, a Pot-bellied Pig, Reptiles, Swans, Ducks, Turkeys, Peacocks and more. Open year round 9 am to 5 pm daily, but closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Years Day.
6170 W. Grand Avenue, Gurnee IL 60031
847-855-8800 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Indoor reptile zoo featuring rare and giant reptiles including "Baby" the largest snake in the world - 403 lbs! Meet a Nile crocodile, rare albino alligator, rare albino iguanas, 250-lb. Anaconda, cobras & much more! Photos with pythons and boas. Gift store with nature and reptile products. Pet store to take home a favorite new pet.
For other Chicago attractions and sites, try the following pages: