Chicago is home to over 2.7 million people. The Windy City is an international hub for technology, industry, commerce, and finance. As one of the most popular cities in the country, Chicago is rife with diversity and offers citizens and visitors a city full of culture. From the theater and music, to food and sports, Chicago has something to offer everybody, of any age, of any background.
Below is a list of really fantastic things to do in Chicago. This list is meant as a guide and represents only a small percentage of the terrific things to do in Chicago. Included in this list are museums, a stadium, a mile-long stretch of attractions, and an amazing zoo.
1. Catch a Game at Wrigley Field
One of the most famous stadiums in the country, Wrigley Field is home to the Chicago Cubs. It is a necessary stop when considering things to do in Chicago. Located on the north side of Chicago, in the Lakeview neighborhood, this stadium has seen baseball greats at their best like Babe Ruth, Pete Rose, and Sammy Sosa. Built in 1914. It is the second-oldest baseball stadium in the country. Wrigley offers tours, which vary in price dependent on which tours you choose and size of the group. To catch a game, tickets prices will vary dependent on location of the seats you choose.
As the tours involve a lot of walking and a lot of stairs, those who have problems getting around should consider something else to do. All people of all ages can enjoy these tours. However, baseball and sports fans are most likely to get the most out of the tour. To catch a game, you must visit Chicago during the Cubs regular season. You can take a tour anytime throughout the year, rain or shine, on non-game days. Tours last around 75-90 minutes, dependent on the type of tour you choose.
2. Walk Around the Magnificent Mile
As one of the very best free things to do in Chicago, The Magnificent Mile is a 13-block stretch of North Michigan Avenue. It extends a complete square mile. This area is rife with all of the best things Chicago has to offer like unique entertainments, 460 stores, numerous hotels, 275 restaurants, and many attractions. It is free to walk this amazing mile. Here you experience all of the amazing culture of Chicago. However, it is best to bring some money with you. With everything The Magnificent Mile has to offer, you’ll want to purchase souvenirs, sample authentic Chicago food. You’ll also want to experience some real Chicago entertainment.
As you’ll be walking outside most of the time, it’s best to bring your walking shoes. It could be a long walk for elderly or young children whose legs and feet may get tired quickly. The walk should also be taken in Chicago’s warmer months. Walking is never absolutely necessary. Transportation is always readily available within the city. Bear in mind that you will be making stops frequently as you see everything The Magnificent Mile has to offer. This mile-stretch has something to offer everyone in the family, you just have to get out and find it.
3. See the Animals at Lincoln Park Zoo
One of the oldest zoos in the country, the Lincoln Park Zoo is located just minutes north of Chicago. Certainly one of the most fun things to do in Chicago, the zoo is a beautiful oasis amid towering skyscrapers and office buildings. Like the San Diego zoo, this zoo park offers endless exhibits, shows, attractions, and dining options for free. One of the only free zoos in the country, their gates stay open mostly due to the generosity of its members and donors. Other things do cost money inside the zoo like souvenirs, rides, and dining options.
This zoo is full of easily accessible exhibits and shows. Wheelchairs and strollers are no issue when visiting here and they are open every day of the year. The zoo’s hours vary dependent on the season, staying open longer in the warmer months. Lincoln Park Zoo is meant to be enjoyed by everybody, from the youngest to the oldest. The Lincoln Park Zoo’s mission is to share the animal world with every visitor of Chicago and to help conserve the wildlife of the world.
4. See an exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago
The Art Institute of Chicago is not only one of the best art schools in the country, but one of the best art museums as well. If you’re looking for one of the more cultural things to do in Chicago, located right in downtown, this is the place for you. Admission to the museum varies. Illinois residents can receive free admission on Thursday nights and every weekday in the winter months. Children $14 and under are free, while adults will pay $25 for general admission. Founded in 1879, The Art Institute of Chicago has stayed true to its mission of collecting and preserving high quality art from around the world.
The museum is open year-round, except for major holidays. They are open every day until 5 PM, except on Thursdays when they are open until 8 PM. As they offer different exhibits throughout the year, some exhibits will come and go. The museum is meant to enrich everyone’s lives, from the young to the old. Adults may get more out of the experience, but it’s never too early to teach children the value of art. Be prepared to walk, as the museum has a large amount of exhibits, all of which are handicapped accessible.
5. Learn about Science at the Museum of Science and Industry
This is a must on the list of things to do in Chicago. For a discounted online price, adults can get their tickets for $16 and children ages 3-11 can get tickets for $9. There are additional tickets that can be bought for some of the museum’s experiences as well. Located in the neighborhood of Hyde Park, just minutes from downtown Chicago, this spectacular building is home to amazing exhibits that allow you to do things like enter a genuine German submarine, experience the life of a miner, try manufacturing design, and learn about the complex world of genetics; just to name a few.
As this is an indoor museum, it can be enjoyed year-round and in any weather. Anyone is welcome at the museum, from children to adults. The museum does their best at making every experience there accessible for everyone. Hours vary dependent on season, but seeing the museum’s massive fairy castle, their mirror maze, indoor storms, and massive model railroad is necessary for any visitor.
6. View the Magnificent City from the 360 Chicago Observation Deck
If you’re looking for a scenic version of things to do in Chicago, look no further than the 360 Chicago. Located in downtown Chicago, on the 94th floor of the John Hancock Center, visitors can view the magnificent city from over 1,000 feet above The Magnificent Mile. 360 Chicago offers visitors food services, panoramic touchscreens, and even a one-of-a-kind attraction that tilts you over Michigan Avenue. Ticket prices are discounted when bought online; free for children under 3, $12.15 for children 3-11 years old, and $18.45 for adults.
360 Chicago is open year-round, until 11 PM every day. As it is an indoor attraction, it can be experienced rain or shine, although it is recommended you wait for a nice, clear day so you can see the Chicago skyline at its best. The observation deck is meant for people of all ages, although if you have someone in your group who isn’t a fan of heights, this may not be the experience for them. If you’re looking for a once-in-a-lifetime experience, you can’t miss sunset at 360 Chicago.
The “Windy City” of Chicago has an unlimited amount of attractions and culture to offer to its visitors and inhabitants. Visiting Chicago is something everyone must do in their lifetime, as it will leave your life more enriched by its true diversity and splendor. This list is full of necessary stops and you are invited to experience them all yourself. Sports fans, history buffs, and families full of children can find endless things to do while visiting. You’ll never want to leave.