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Chicago

193 expert recommended attractions

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The Art Institute of Chicago

Downtown / The Loop 97 The TripExpert score is determined by calculating the general consensus of expert reviewers. Learn more →

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. — Michelin Guide

The Art Institute of Chicago hosts the first exhibition devoted to Britain’s rising-star architect David Adjaye in September. — Afar Magazine

An institution, whose gorgeous historic wing (opened in 1893) is rivaled only by its stark and stunning Modern Wing... the second-largest museum in the country. — Condé Nast Traveler

It takes several days to navigate this superb museum housing some 260,000 artworks—including some of the world's most famous masterpieces. — Concierge

Come for the sterling collection of Impressionists (an entire room is dedicated to Monet) and Old Masters; linger over the extraordinary and comprehensive photography collection. — Fodor's

Museum of Contemporary Art

Streeterville 96 The TripExpert score is determined by calculating the general consensus of expert reviewers. Learn more →

It doesn't have any permanent exhibits; this gives it a feeling of freshness, but it also makes it impossible to predict what will be on display at any time. — Fodor's

Housed in a Josef Paul Kleihues-designed building in the heart of the city, MCA Chicago is one of the best contemporary art museums in the world — goop

One of the nation’s largest contemporary art museums, the MCA presents exhibits of painting, sculpture, photography, video and film, and performance created since 1945 — Where

The Art Institute's brash, rebellious sibling, with especially strong minimalist, surrealist and book arts collections. — Lonely Planet

Add some color to an afternoon in Chicago with a visit to the Museum of Contemporary Art, one of the largest contemporary art museums in the country. — Travel + Leisure

Millennium Park

Downtown / The Loop 96 The TripExpert score is determined by calculating the general consensus of expert reviewers. Learn more →

This 24.5-acre park, built on top of a former rail yard beside the Art Institute, is a welcome oasis downtown. — Concierge

Since opening in 2004, the 24.5-acre Millennium Park has become a Chicago staple that lures renowned artists, architects, and musicians. — Travel + Leisure

Millennium Park is among the city's nicest assets. Its 24.5 acres are filled with something to see at every turn. — Michelin Guide

Rising boldly by the lakefront, Millennium Park is a treasure trove of free and arty sights. — Lonely Planet

It’s a winning combination of beautiful landscaping, elegant architecture... and public entertainment spaces, including an ice rink and theater. — Frommer's

Skydeck Chicago - Willis Tower

Downtown / The Loop 95 The TripExpert score is determined by calculating the general consensus of expert reviewers. Learn more →

Tallest building in the world for over 20 years, this 110-story feat of engineering cuts an unmistakable profile on the city's skyline. — Michelin Guide

At 103 stories high, the Skydeck at the Willis (formerly Sears) Tower offers an unsurpassed view of Chicago and, on a clear day, four surrounding states — Where

From your vantage point on the tallest observation deck in the U.S... vehicles look like Matchbox cars and the skyline of Chicago looks miniature. — Frommer's

At 110 stories and 1,730 feet tall, the former Sears Tower, designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill in 1974, was the world's tallest building until 1996. — Fodor's

Yes, you're at the right place. Willis Tower was the Sears Tower until mid-2009, when insurance broker Willis Group Holdings bought the naming rights. — Lonely Planet

Museum of Science and Industry

Hyde Park 95 The TripExpert score is determined by calculating the general consensus of expert reviewers. Learn more →

This landmark museum features more than 800 interactive exhibits, including the "U-505 Submarine" and "YOU! The Experience," featuring high-tech, hands-on exploration of the body, mind and spirit. — Where

Tour a captured U-505 German Sub, take a trip into a coal mine, walk through a model of the human heart, or watch genetically engineered chicks hatch. — Concierge

The sprawling open space has 2,000 exhibits on three floors, with new exhibits added constantly. — Fodor's

If you’re into exhibits loaded with interactive bells and whistles, this expansive Hyde Park locale is your ticket. — Time Out

One of Chicago's most popular attractions. Dedicated to presenting science, industry and technology in an entertaining way. — Michelin Guide

The Field Museum

South Loop 94 The TripExpert score is determined by calculating the general consensus of expert reviewers. Learn more →

Is it any wonder that Steven Spielberg thought the Field Museum of Natural History was a suitable home turf for the intrepid archaeologist and adventurer hero of his Indiana Jones movies? — Frommer's

The mammoth Field Museum houses everything but the kitchen sink – beetles, mummies, gemstones, Bushman the stuffed ape. — Lonely Planet

While most museums have a firm “do not touch” policy, the Field is hands-on and kid-friendly. — Travel + Leisure

Lions and tigers and bears are the main attraction at this huge natural history museum, filled with interactive exhibits about planet Earth. — Concierge

This massive natural history museum still packs ’em in with more than 30 permanent exhibitions covering 300,000 square feet. — Time Out

Shedd Aquarium

South Loop 93 The TripExpert score is determined by calculating the general consensus of expert reviewers. Learn more →

The Shedd is one of the world's largest indoor aquariums and houses thousands of river, lake, and sea denizens in standard aquarium tanks and elaborate new habitats. — Frommer's

Anchoring the aquatic offerings at this 75-year-old institution are enduring favorites such as piranhas, frogs and snakes of the Amazon. — Time Out

Popular lakefront aquarium with 1,000-seat amphitheater for dolphin shows — National Geographic

Marine and freshwater creatures from around the world are on view in this 1929 Classical Greek-inspired Beaux Arts structure. — Not For Tourists

The world's largest indoor aquarium. It houses some 8,000 aquatic animals comprising 650 species from around the globe. — Michelin Guide

360 Chicago Observation Deck

Magnificent Mile 93 The TripExpert score is determined by calculating the general consensus of expert reviewers. Learn more →

Formerly known as the John Hancock Observatory, 360 Chicago offers dining, sights and an interactive tour far above the city streets. — Time Out

At 100 stories and more than 1,000 feet high, the John Hancock Building is the 12th-tallest building in the world (for now, anyway). — Travel + Leisure

The Hancock may not be quite as famous as the Sears Tower, but the view from the city's third-tallest building is as good as any in town. — Frommer's

More than 1,000 feet above Chicago, this 94th-floor observatory features Tilt, an enclosed glass platform allowing visitors to extend out and over the Magnificent Mile. — Where

Muscular and monumental, nothing represents Chicago ("the city of big shoulders") more than this 1,127ft skyscraper. — Michelin Guide

Robie House

Hyde Park 91 The TripExpert score is determined by calculating the general consensus of expert reviewers. Learn more →

Of the numerous buildings that Frank Lloyd Wright designed around Chicago, none is more famous or influential than Robie House. — Lonely Planet

Named one of the 10 most significant buildings of the 20th century by the American Institute of Architects, the 9,000-square-foot Robie House (1910) is long and low. — Fodor's

Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright; renovations proceeding, stay tuned. — Not For Tourists

Located on the University of Chicago campus, this landmark is considered one of the most significant structures in American architecture. — Travel + Leisure

For architectural history buffs, Robie House is a must-see. — Frommer's

Wrigley Field

Wrigleyville 90 The TripExpert score is determined by calculating the general consensus of expert reviewers. Learn more →

The stadium is truly an anchor to the neighborhood and gives the surrounding area it’s own obviously named enclave, Wrigleyville. Nothing beats the charm of the Friendly Confines. — On the Grid

Ferris Bueller had the right idea: There is no better way to spend a sunny Chicago afternoon than at a Cubs baseball game. — Travel + Leisure

Famous for its ivy walls and lovable losing teams, the stadium is surrounded by turn-of-the-20C flats rather than the usual sea of parking lots. — Michelin Guide

Built in 1914, Wrigley Field is the second oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball, behind Boston’s Fenway Park (1912) — Where

Charm-filled ballpark that remains indifferent to wins or losses. — Not For Tourists

Lincoln Park Zoo

Lincoln Park 90 The TripExpert score is determined by calculating the general consensus of expert reviewers. Learn more →

One of the city's treasures, this family-friendly attraction is not only open every day of the year, but it's also free. — Frommer's

Oldest free zoo in the U.S. — Not For Tourists

This 49-acre free zoo in the heart of the city is one of the nation’s oldest, with more than 1,200 animals throughout the grounds and in animal houses — Where

At this urban enclave near Lake Michigan, you can face off with lions (separated by a window, of course) outside the Kovler Lion House. — Fodor's

With more than 1,250 animals, Lincoln Park Zoo ranks as one of the finest in the country. — Travel + Leisure

Chicago Cultural Center

Downtown / The Loop 89 The TripExpert score is determined by calculating the general consensus of expert reviewers. Learn more →

This marvelous Neoclassical palazzo served as the city's first library when completed in 1897. — Michelin Guide

Serves as a free cultural venue, hosting experimental dance, contemporary art, and live music (from chamber music to children’s concerts). — Condé Nast Traveler

This block-long building houses ongoing art exhibitions and foreign films, as well as jazz, classical and electronic dance music concerts at lunchtime (12:15pm weekdays). — Lonely Planet

This national historic landmark is a showplace for the performing, literary and visual arts, featuring a huge variety of programs presented by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs — Where

The spot for free lectures, exhibits, concerts, and movies. — Not For Tourists

Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio

Chicago 89 The TripExpert score is determined by calculating the general consensus of expert reviewers. Learn more →

Restored to its 1909 appearance, when Wright last lived there, the original structure features the horizontal bands of windows and low profile of the Prairie style. — Michelin Guide

See the drafting room where the Prairie Style was created. Inspiring. — Not For Tourists

The Wright Home and Studio in Oak Park is where the famed architect created some of his most important works — Where

Now, architecture buffs can take tours of the space, or of the surrounding Oak Park neighborhood, to learn more about Wright's life and legacy. — Condé Nast Traveler

The evolution of an architect is on vivid display during well-run tours that bring visitors into the home, studio and mindset of Frank Lloyd Wright. — On the Grid

Adler Planetarium

South Loop 88 The TripExpert score is determined by calculating the general consensus of expert reviewers. Learn more →

It's worth the views up and down the lakefront to walk out to the Adler, which occupies a beautiful setting. — Michelin Guide

Space enthusiasts will get a big bang (pun!) out of the Adler. — Lonely Planet

This lakefront attraction on the Museum Campus features loads of otherworldly exhibits — Where

Depression era wonder that thrilled millions at 1933 Century of Progress Exposition. — Not For Tourists

Tells amazing stories of space exploration through high-tech exhibits and immersive theater experiences... interactive elements and real space artifacts. — Fodor's

Brookfield Zoo

Chicago 87 The TripExpert score is determined by calculating the general consensus of expert reviewers. Learn more →

Set on 216 acres, Brookfield is home to nearly 6,000 animals, including 3,000 invertebrates, representing 436 species. — Time Out

In contrast to the more modest Lincoln Park Zoo, Brookfield is enormous, spreading out over 216 acres and housing thousands of animals -- camels, dolphins, giraffes, baboons, wolves, tigers... — Frommer's

216 acres of creepy critters make for a memorable day trip. — Not For Tourists

This animal kingdom located about 15 miles west of Chicago has a wild array of wonderful creatures — Where

Spend the day among more than 2,000 animals at this gigantic zoo. — Fodor's

Navy Pier

Streeterville 87 The TripExpert score is determined by calculating the general consensus of expert reviewers. Learn more →

Encompassing more than 50 acres along the lakefront, Navy Pier boasts a nearly 200-foot-high, climate-controlled Ferris wheel. — Where

No matter the season, Navy Pier is a fun place to spend a few hours, especially with kids in tow. — Fodor's

Half-mile-long Navy Pier is Chicago's most-visited attraction, sporting a 150ft Ferris wheel, an IMAX theater, a beer garden and gimmicky chain restaurants. — Lonely Planet

Municipal wharf turned boffo tourist attraction. — Not For Tourists

Built during World War I, this 3,000-foot-long pier served as a Navy training center for pilots during World War II. — Frommer's

Chicago History Museum

Lincoln Park 86 The TripExpert score is determined by calculating the general consensus of expert reviewers. Learn more →

Want to delve deeper into Chicago's past? Then don't miss a visit to the Chicago Historical Society, located at the southwestern corner of Lincoln Park. — Michelin Guide

Seeking to bring Chicago's often complicated history to life, this museum has several strong permanent exhibits. — Fodor's

Explore Chicago’s past and present with exhibits like the intricately restored "L Car No. 1" and memorabilia from the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. — Where

Located at the south end of the Lincoln Park neighborhood, the Chicago History Museum features exhibitions about the city’s compelling past. — Travel + Leisure

Curious about Chicago’s storied past? Multimedia displays at this museum cover it all, from the Great Fire to the 1968 Democratic Convention. — Lonely Planet

Wrigley Building

Magnificent Mile 86 The TripExpert score is determined by calculating the general consensus of expert reviewers. Learn more →

More than 250,000 glazed terra-cotta tiles make up the facade; a computer database tracks each one and indicates when each needs to be cleaned and polished. — Lonely Planet

Often referred to as “Chicago’s Big Ben,” this gleaming white terra cotta “wedding cake” became the city’s first landmark skyscraper north of the Chicago River. — Travel + Leisure

Its two structures were built several years apart and later connected, and its clock tower was inspired by the bell tower of the grand cathedral in Seville, Spain. — Fodor's

Monument to chewing gum. — Not For Tourists

The white terra-cotta exterior, its six subtle shades chosen to add more luster at the top, is particularly stunning when it's lit up at night. — Michelin Guide

Lincoln Park

Lincoln Park 86 The TripExpert score is determined by calculating the general consensus of expert reviewers. Learn more →

1200-acre park along the lakefront between Streeterville and Edgewater. — Not For Tourists

This massive 1,208 acre park lies along Chicago’s beautiful lakefront. — On the Grid

Except for the occasional stray bone, it's hard to tell that this was once a soggy cemetery. Today the sweeping expanse is one of Chicago's most compelling landscapes. — Michelin Guide

Lincoln Park is the city's largest park, and certainly one of the longest. — Frommer's

Chicago’s largest park is home to the Lincoln Park Zoo and its siblings: the nature boardwalk and the Farm-in-the-Zoo. — Travel + Leisure

Chicago Botanic Garden

Chicago 86 The TripExpert score is determined by calculating the general consensus of expert reviewers. Learn more →

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. — Michelin Guide

Among the 26 different gardens here are the three-island Malott Japanese Garden, the 5-acre Evening Island, and the new Grunsfeld Children's Growing Garden. — Fodor's

Despite its name, the world-class Chicago Botanic Garden is 25 miles north of the city in the suburb of Glencoe. This 385-acre living preserve includes...a variety of botanical environments... — Frommer's

385 acres of serene and lovely backdrops for wedding photos. — Not For Tourists

Located in the northern suburb of Glencoe about 20 miles outside Chicago, this sprawling park boasts 385 acres of landscaped hills, lakes, indoor and specialty gardens, and nature trails — Where

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