Chicago, also known as the Windy City, is one of the most vibrant and diverse cities in the United States. It is famous for its architecture, culture, food, music, and sports. Whether you are looking for a romantic getaway, a family vacation, or a solo adventure, Chicago has something for everyone. Here are eight of the best places to visit in Chicago in 2024.
Millennium Park is a 24.5-acre park in the heart of downtown Chicago, featuring stunning art installations, lush gardens, and interactive attractions. It is home to the iconic Cloud Gate sculpture, also known as “The Bean”, which reflects the city skyline and the visitors who pose in front of it. You can also enjoy free concerts and events at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, admire the Crown Fountain, which displays changing faces of Chicagoans, and skate on the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in the winter.
Millennium Park is more than just a park, it is a cultural hub that showcases the creativity and diversity of Chicago. You can also visit the nearby Art Institute of Chicago, which houses one of the finest collections of art in the world, or the Chicago Cultural Center, which offers free exhibitions and programs.
2. Navy Pier
Navy Pier is a 3,300-foot-long pier on the shores of Lake Michigan, offering a variety of attractions and entertainment for all ages. You can ride the Centennial Wheel, which offers panoramic views of the city and the lake, visit the Chicago Children’s Museum, watch a movie at the IMAX Theater, or catch a show at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater. You can also enjoy the many restaurants, bars, shops, and festivals that take place at the pier throughout the year.
Navy Pier is a place where you can have fun and learn at the same time. You can also explore the Crystal Gardens, a tropical oasis with palm trees and fountains, or the Driehaus Museum, a restored mansion that showcases the art and architecture of the Gilded Age.
3. The Magnificent Mile
The Magnificent Mile is a stretch of North Michigan Avenue, known for its upscale shopping, dining, and nightlife. You can find everything from luxury brands, such as Gucci, Chanel, and Tiffany, to popular retailers, such as Apple, Nike, and H&M. You can also enjoy some of the best restaurants and bars in the city, such as The Signature Room, which offers stunning views from the 95th floor of the John Hancock Center, and The Purple Pig, which serves Mediterranean-inspired dishes and wine.
The Magnificent Mile is not only a shopping paradise, but also a historical and architectural landmark. You can admire the elegant buildings that line the avenue, such as the Wrigley Building, the Tribune Tower, and the Water Tower, or visit the Museum of Contemporary Art, which features cutting-edge works by local and international artists.
4. Wrigley Field
Wrigley Field is the home of the Chicago Cubs, one of the oldest and most beloved baseball teams in the country. The ballpark, which opened in 1914, is known for its ivy-covered walls, manual scoreboard, and rooftop seats. You can catch a game and cheer for the Cubs, or take a guided tour and learn about the history and legends of the field. You can also visit the nearby Wrigleyville neighborhood, which is full of bars, restaurants, and shops that cater to Cubs fans.
Wrigley Field is more than just a sports venue, it is a cultural icon that represents the spirit and passion of Chicago. You can also experience the live music scene at the Metro, a legendary rock club that has hosted bands such as Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, and Foo Fighters, or the Green Mill, a jazz club that was once frequented by Al Capone and other gangsters.
5. Willis Tower Skydeck
Willis Tower, formerly known as Sears Tower, is the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, standing at 1,450 feet. You can take an elevator to the 103rd floor, where you can step out onto the Skydeck, a glass balcony that extends 4.3 feet from the building. You can experience the thrill of standing on air and see up to 50 miles and four states on a clear day. You can also learn about the history and architecture of Chicago through interactive exhibits and displays.
Willis Tower Skydeck is not only a sightseeing attraction, but also a challenge for the adventurous. You can also try the Ledge, a glass box that juts out from the building and gives you a vertigo-inducing view of the street below, or the Tilt, a glass window that tilts you forward at a 30-degree angle.
6. Lincoln Park Zoo
Lincoln Park Zoo is a free and open zoo that houses more than 1,000 animals from around the world. You can see lions, tigers, bears, gorillas, giraffes, zebras, and more, as well as visit the Farm-in-the-Zoo, which features domestic animals and crops. You can also enjoy the many events and programs that the zoo offers, such as ZooLights, which transforms the zoo into a winter wonderland with millions of lights, and Nature Boardwalk, which is a natural oasis for wildlife and visitors.
Lincoln Park Zoo is not only a wildlife sanctuary, but also a conservation leader that supports research and education on animal welfare and habitat protection. You can also visit the nearby Lincoln Park Conservatory, which houses exotic plants and flowers, or the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, which showcases the ecology and biodiversity of the region.
7. The Field Museum
The Field Museum is one of the largest and most prestigious natural history museums in the world, housing more than 40 million specimens and artifacts from various disciplines and regions. You can see dinosaurs, mummies, gems, fossils, and more, as well as watch 3D movies and live shows. You can also visit the special exhibits, such as the Evolving Planet, which traces the history of life on Earth, and the Ancient Americas, which explores the cultures and civilizations of the pre-Columbian era.
The Field Museum is not only a treasure trove of knowledge, but also a gateway to discovery and adventure. You can also visit the nearby Shedd Aquarium, which houses more than 32,000 aquatic animals, or the Adler Planetarium, which features state-of-the-art shows and exhibits on astronomy and space exploration.
8. Chicago Riverwalk
The Chicago Riverwalk is a 1.25-mile-long promenade along the Chicago River, offering scenic views and access to various attractions and activities. You can walk, bike, or kayak along the river, or hop on a boat tour and learn about the history and architecture of the city. You can also enjoy the many restaurants, cafes, bars, and art installations that line the riverwalk, or join the seasonal events and festivals that celebrate the culture and spirit of Chicago.
The Chicago Riverwalk is not only a waterfront destination, but also a symbol of the city’s transformation and innovation. You can also visit the nearby Millennium Park, which is a 24.5-acre park that features stunning art installations, lush gardens, and interactive attractions, or the Loop, which is the central business district and the cultural heart of the city.