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Tourist attractions Chicago

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  • 1 Field Museum of Natural History Highly Recommended Highly Recommended Highly Recommended

    Museums and art

    1400 S. Lake Shore Dr. USA - Chicago, IL 60605

    This world-class natural history institution occupies a suitably grand place at the south end of Grant Park. Nine acres of exhibit halls and over 20 million artifacts occupy the vast Neoclassical edifice where collections, exhibits and public program..

  • 2 Cloud Gate at Millennium Park Highly Recommended Highly Recommended Highly Recommended

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    USA - Chicago, IL 60602

    Affectionately called the Bean, the gate (by sculptor Anish Kapoor) will draw you like a moth to flame. The gleaming "kidney bean" of stainless steel creates fantastic reflections of the city skyline and the crowds. Step under it for an eff..

  • 3 The Loop Highly Recommended Highly Recommended Highly Recommended

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    USA - Chicago, IL 60606

    Looming large along the lakefront, Chicago's busy Loop and its environs have been fertile grounds for architectural innovation since the fire in 1871. Named for the elevated tracks that girdle them, these blocks bustle with workday energy as Chicagoa..

  • 4 John G. Shedd Aquarium Highly Recommended Highly Recommended Highly Recommended

    Industrial tourism and theme park

    1200 S. Lake Shore Dr. USA - Chicago, IL 60605

    Hard by Lake Michigan, the Shedd is the world's largest indoor aquarium. It houses some 8,000 aquatic animals comprising 650 species from around the globe—from tiny, jewel-like spiny lobsters to 1,500-pound beluga whales. The Shedd's exhibits and pro..

  • 5 John Hancock Center Highly Recommended Highly Recommended Highly Recommended

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    875 N. Michigan Ave. USA - Chicago, IL 60611

    Muscular and monumental, nothing represents Chicago ("the city of big shoulders") more than this 1,127ft skyscraper (1969). It's the third-tallest building in Chicago, the fourth-tallest in the US and, because of its huge cross-bracing stel..

  • 6 Lincoln Park Zoo Highly Recommended Highly Recommended Highly Recommended

    Industrial tourism and theme park

    2200 N. Cannon Dr. USA - Chicago, IL 60614

    In addition to its wonderful penguin and bird houses, bear and cat habitats and sea lion pool, this accessible zoo replicates animal environments and presents activities designed to encourage the animals' natural behaviors. Worth a special stop is th..

  • 7 Art Institute of Chicago Highly Recommended Highly Recommended Highly Recommended

    Museums and art

    111 S. Michigan Ave. USA - Chicago, IL 60603

    The AIC is one of the great museums of the world and the preeminent arts institution of the Midwest. Its collections span 5,000 years and draw on the cultures of Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas, and its collection of Impressionist and post-Impr..

  • 8 Auditorium Building Highly Recommended Highly Recommended Highly Recommended

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    430 S. Michigan Ave. USA - Chicago, IL 60805

    The granddaddy of Chicago's historic theaters, this classic venue, which opened in 1889, makes for theatergoing at its best. Its fine acoustics and lovely, renovated spaces are a delight. Programming varies from local dance troupes such as the Joffre..

  • 9 Museum of Science and Industry Highly Recommended Highly Recommended Highly Recommended

    Museums and art

    57th St.. at S. Lake Shore Dr USA - Chicago, IL 60637

    This noisy hall of wonders and widgets is one of Chicago's most popular attractions. Dedicated to presenting science, industry and technology in an entertaining way, the museum's hands-on displays invite visitors to push, pull, compute and enjoy expl..

  • 10 Jay Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park Highly Recommended Highly Recommended Highly Recommended

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    USA - Chicago, IL 60602

    Crowned by a metallic proscenium arch designed by Frank Gehry, Pritzker Pavilion is the scene of free summertime concerts. The "waterproof" lawn is a great place to bring a picnic. The theater accommodates 4,000 in fixed seats and 7,000 on ..

  • 11 Millennium Park Highly Recommended Highly Recommended Highly Recommended

    Nature and gardens

    USA - Chicago, IL 60602

    Despite some grumbling about its cost when it opened in 2004, Millennium Park is among the city's nicest assets. Its 24.5 acres are filled with something to see at every turn. With architectural elements designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry, pl..

  • 12 Willis Tower (former Sears Tower) Highly Recommended Highly Recommended Highly Recommended

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    233 S. Wacker Dr. USA - Chicago, IL 60606

    Tallest building in the world for over 20 years, this 110-story feat of engineering cuts an unmistakable profile on the city's skyline. Though its formal name changed from the Sears Tower to Willis Tower in 2009, the structure still holds the title o..

  • 13 Magnificent Mile Highly Recommended Highly Recommended Highly Recommended

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    USA - Chicago, IL 60611

    This promenade along North Michigan Avenue, from the Chicago River north to Oak Street, is the city's most prestigious thoroughfare, blooming with plantings in the summer and twinkling with holiday lights all winter. Lined with exclusive boutiques an..

  • 14 Thorne Miniature Rooms Recommended Recommended

    Museums and art

    111 111 S. Michigan Ave USA - Chicago, IL 60603

    The 68 charming rooms in this unique, internationally-renowned collection display a gamut of interior decorative styles ranging from 13C Europe to 20C America. Mrs. James Ward Thorne's childhood interest in miniature decorative objects grew into an o..

  • 15 Glessner House Museum Recommended Recommended

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    1800 1800 S. Prairie Ave. USA - Chicago, IL 60616

    Cornerstone of the Prairie Avenue Historic District, Glessner House was designed for a wealthy farm-implement manufacturer by Henry Hobson Richardson in 1886. The house revolutionized domestic American architecture with its open floor plan and unador..

  • 16 Astor Street Recommended Recommended

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    Astor St. USA - Chicago, IL 60610

    Quaint graystones with delicate wrought-iron railings and miniature front gardens characterize Chicago's historic Astor Street, in the Gold Coast. The street was named for John Jacob Astor, whos American Fur Co. traded in the area before the settleme..

  • 17 Chicago Botanic Garden Recommended Recommended

    Nature and gardens

    1000 Lake Cook Rd USA - Glencoe, IL 60022

    With 26 garden areas, more than a million individual plants of 7,000 different varieties and a host of bird life, the 385-acre preserve makes a lovely stop at any time of year. The heart of the garden occupies the largest of nine islands in a 60-acre..

  • 18 James R. Thompson Center Recommended Recommended

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    USA - Chicago, IL 60601

    Architectural "bad boy" Helmut Jahn, known for bucking accepted trends, designed this State of Illinois facility to resemble the domes you're used to seeing on government buildings. Though quirky, the shape makes possible the soaring atrium..

  • 19 Hotel Florence Recommended Recommended

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    11111 S. Forrestville Ave. USA - Chicago, IL 60628

    This grandiose structure exhibits a picturesque roofline with dormers above red brick walls, a wide Eastlake-style verandah and a Joliet limestone foundation. Wooden trim is painted in the color scheme seen throughout Pullman, which combines maroon a..

  • 20 Brookfield Zoo Recommended Recommended

    Industrial tourism and theme park

    8400 W. 31st St USA - Brookfield, IL 60513

    If you have a day to spend, it's worth the jaunt to this suburban zoo. Its 216 acres fan out around a central fountain, and 15 miles of footpaths wind through the lovely grounds. The zoo's exhibit highlights include Seven Seas with its dolphin presen..

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