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Chicago, Illinois has been put on the map as one of the most popular US tourist destinations. With so many things to see and do, it’s hard to narrow down your choices of attractions. Below is a brief guide to visiting Chicago, Illinois to put you on the right track.
Navy Pier is the place to be in Chicago. It’s perfect to visit during the summer and there’s still plenty to do during the winter. Situated next to beautiful Lake Michigan in downtown Chicago, you can’t miss this favorite Chicagoland landmark. There is plenty of food, beverages, and activities going on year-round.
For adults and children, checking out the Beer Garden is necessary. Their foods range from chicken fingers, bruschetta, stuffed deep-dish pizza, Giordano’s sampler, and chocolate layer cake. There is something for everyone in the family.
After eating, take a walk, and view the water while having a frozen cocktail from Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville as you come around to the Navy Pier Ferris Wheel. You’ll get a spectacular view of the city, from 150 feet high. You and your family could also choose to check out a 3D film at the Navy Pier IMAX Theatre. And for children or big kids at heart, be sure to check out the Chicago Children’s Museum.
If you’re looking for culture, concerts, tours, food, and a variety of activities, Millennium Park is an excellent destination in Chicago. This park hosts it all amongst its 25-acres of architecture and greenery. Some excellent architectural designs include the Crown Fountain, Wrigley Square, Millennium Monument, McDonalds Cycle Center, and Boeing Galleries.
Take a picture in front of the popular tourist attraction “The Bean” a definite landmark of Chicago. You’ll find that during the winter, it’s perfect to visit the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink.
The 5-acre Lurie Garden is breathtaking and open all year round from 6am-11pm to visit. It can be quite the romantic scene as well as excellent to take children to learn all about nature. Gather your picnic baskets for a day of fun.
Consistently having over 30,000 animals on exhibit, you can’t miss stopping through the Shedd Aquarium, even for just the general admission. However, you want to try your best to see the Dolphin show, 4-D experiences, or Amphibians special exhibit.
You’ll travel the entire world at the Shedd with exhibits such as The Caribbean Reef which is a 90,000-gallon tank full of oceanic life, the Amazon Rising exhibiting the rainforests of South Africa, or the Oceanarium Exhibit – a whopping 3,000,000-gallon tank with saltwater life, including whales and penguins. From sharks to sea turtles, you’ll find all sorts of aquatic life.
Formerly known as the Sears Tower, the Willis Tower is a beautiful Chicago landmark. With doors opening back in 1974, this 110-story building stands tall in downtown Chicago, making it the tallest building in the United States. You can see four states from the top of this tower. There are two sky decks to view from and plenty of shopping and dining to be done in this historic building.
You can’t say you’ve walked a mile in a Chicago Native shoes until you’ve walked the Magnificent Mile. All the luxury retailers line the Mile including Lord & Taylor and Saks Fifth Avenue. Some of the more popular and best hotels are found along the Mile as well. The Water Tower, Wrigley Building, and Chicago Tribune Tower are all along here as well. You can jump on many of the downtown area buses to take a scenic tour, especially during the holiday seasons, and check out some of the world’s best window displays.
Any baseball fan must stop at the oldest park in the National League. Home of the World Series Champions, Chicago Cubs, you don’t just check out baseball games here either. You can take a tour and check out the press box and the dugout. Be sure to have a famous Chicago Style Hot Dog no matter the game and check out the various concerts at Wrigley. This is a popular nightlife area with many bars and nightclub’s surrounding Wrigley Field.
Mr. Beef on Orleans
There is too many great food finds in Chicago to list. However, Mr. Beef on Orleans will stand out as they’ve been featured in Zagat. What makes this River North restaurant worth visiting is that Chicagoan’s love their Italian Beef sandwiches. This one not only tastes great but also is at a great price. It’s authentic food done right.
Brookfield Zoo vs. Lincoln Park Zoo
You can’t help but to want to visit exotic and beautiful creatures. Chicago is home to not one, but two top zoos in the United States – Brookfield Zoo and Lincoln Park Zoo. Of course, it’s recommended to visit both, if you have the time. Each has their own uniqueness and advantages that are hard to compare which is better, though.
Lincoln Park Zoo is one of the few free zoos in the United States. You’ll find many great and unique exhibits because they’ve put in much time and effort into them. Also, after your trip to the zoo, if you’ve already paid for parking, you might as well hop right on over to the beach to enjoy the festivities and water. However, being close to downtown, it’s very close to public transportation.
Brookfield Zoo, however, is 216-acres, in the grand scheme of things, huge compared to Lincoln Park’s 35-acres. So, they do have more animals and things to see and do. This zoo is nestled in the suburb of Chicago, so if you’re looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of Chicago, stick with this zoo. With such a large area to keep up, there is an admission fee. Some amazing food finds are here at Brookfield Zoo. The Living Coast is exhibited here as well, highlighting much of the ocean scenery.
Closing Thoughts on Visiting Chicago Illinois
Keep in mind these are just eight attractions in this 10,874 square miles metropolitan area. You can’t visit all the food, music, art, and historical college campuses in just one visit, but these attractions are a hit.
What is your favorite thing to do when you are in Chicago, Illinois?