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Chicago

194 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 →

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

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

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

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

Millennium Park

Downtown / The Loop 97 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

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

One of the best public spaces on the planet. — Not For Tourists

This 24.5-acre park features Frank Gehry's Pritzker Pavilion and serpentine bridge; sculptor Anish Kapoor's 110-ton Cloud Gate (a.k.a. “The Bean”); and Jaume Plensa's Crown Fountain. — Time Out

This 24.5-acre green space is one of the city’s major cultural centers; its centerpiece is the shiny elliptical sculpture by Anish Kapoor called Cloud Gate, which locals have... — Where

Skydeck Chicago - Willis Tower

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

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

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

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

Designed by renowned architects Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, this 1,353-foot landmark tower is one of the five tallest in the world. — Concierge

Think of it as the world’s tallest recycling effort. Or maybe it’s just an exceptionally ambitious retrofit. — Travel + Leisure

Museum of Science and Industry

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

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

Even if you don't plan on spending the day in Hyde Park, you'll likely pass through the neighborhood on your way to one of Chicago's most popular tourist attractions. — Frommer's

Sure, the nine permanent exhibits of this enormous museum examine just about every aspect of life on Earth, but its pleasures are in the details. — Lonely Planet

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

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... — Where

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

This world-class natural history institution occupies a suitably grand place at the south end of Grant Park. — Michelin Guide

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

Go to see Sue, world's largest known T. Rex; stay for the jam-packed halls of vaguely macabre taxidermy. — Not For Tourists

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

Museum of Contemporary Art

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

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

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. Open Tu 10 am-8... — Where

The museum, though, is more interested in keeping things cutting-edge and fun than in surveying even the recent past. — Concierge

Although you can see the main highlights in about an hour, art lovers will want more time to wander, especially if a high-profile exhibit is in town. — Frommer's

Though it may not have the storied history of the Art Institute of Chicago—MCA was established in 1967, nearly a century after that museum—this institution remains the city's premier... — Condé Nast Traveler

360 Chicago Observation Deck

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

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 and the famous... — Where

Get high in Chicago's third-tallest skyscraper. In many ways the view here surpasses the one at Willis Tower. — Lonely Planet

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

Zone out the tourists, and focus in on the prettiest view of the city. — Not For Tourists

Shedd Aquarium

South Loop 92 The TripExpert score is determined by calculating the general consensus of expert reviewers. Learn more →

Encased in a handsome marble octagon overlooking the Lake, the Shedd is the world's largest indoor aquarium. — Concierge

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

One of the most popular aquariums in the country, the Shedd houses more than 32,500 creatures from around the world. — Fodor's

Top draws at the kiddie-mobbed Shedd Aquarium include the Oceanarium, with its beluga whales and frolicking white-sided dolphins, and the shark exhibit. — Lonely Planet

From frolicking sea otters to sharks and exotic eels, the Shedd Aquarium is home to an array of fascinating aquatic animals. The renovated Oceanarium features the popular belugas, otters,... — Where

Robie House

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

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

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

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

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

This home made its designer, Frank Lloyd Wright, world famous and helped "break the box" of traditional architecture. — Michelin Guide

Wrigley Field

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

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

With its first major league game played here on April 23, 1914, the venerable, ivy-covered home of the Chicago Cubs is the nation's second-oldest major league ballpark. — Fodor's

Wrigley is an institution, there’s no denying it. Built in 1914, the ballpark just passed the century mark and is getting further spruced up, too. Whether you are catching a Cubs game... — On the Grid

The century-old, ivy-lined field sits in the middle of the city, providing the sort of intimate baseball experience (and skyline views) that doesn't exist at newer ballparks. — Condé Nast Traveler

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

Lincoln Park Zoo

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

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

Although it's charmingly small, you should still allow yourself two to three hours to wander the paths among landmark Georgian Revival brick buildings and colorful flower gardens. — Concierge

The well-to-do residents of eastern Old Town built their homes in the open land adjacent to the developing Lincoln Park. Completed in 1874, before the strict fire laws took effect, the... — Michelin Guide

Check out the Regenstein African Journey, Ape House and dragonfly-dappled Nature Boardwalk for the cream of the crop. — Lonely Planet

Chicago Cultural Center

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

Built in 1897 as the city's original public library, this huge building houses the Chicago Office of Tourism Visitor Information Center, as well as a gift shop, galleries, and a concert hall. — Fodor's

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

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

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

Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio

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

The Wright Home and Studio in Oak Park is where the famed architect created some of his most important works. Regular tours are offered daily 10 am-4 pm. Walking tours of the surrounding... — Where

A visit here provides a unique look into the architect's developing ideas over time as he continually remodeled the house. — Fodor's

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

While many of Frank Lloyd Wright's architectural treasures can be found throughout Chicago, to fully appreciate the breadth of the acclaimed architect's output, take the short trip to his... — 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 →

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

This lakefront attraction on the Museum Campus features loads of otherworldly exhibits. The $14 million, ultra high-res, 360-degree Grainger Sky Theater features the sky show "Planet... — Where

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

One of three venues comprising the lakefront Museum Campus, the Adler was established in 1930, making it the first planetarium in the nation. — Travel + Leisure

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

Brookfield Zoo

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

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

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

The zoo's exhibit highlights include Seven Seas with its dolphin presentation, Tropic World's primates, The Fragile Kingdom's African desert and Asian rain forest habitat...and more. — Michelin Guide

This animal kingdom located about 15 miles west of Chicago has a wild array of wonderful creatures. The Regenstein Wolf Woods exhibit features Mexican gray wolves, the most endangered... — Where

Navy Pier

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

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

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

Municipal wharf turned boffo tourist attraction. — Not For Tourists

Navy Pier has enjoyed many lives since it was first built in 1916 as a passenger and freight terminal. — Michelin Guide

Chicago History Museum

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

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

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

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. Permanent exhibit "Lincoln’s... — Where

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

This museum at the southwestern tip of Lincoln Park is one of the city's oldest cultural institutions (founded in 1856), but it's reinvented itself for the 21st century. — Frommer's

Wrigley Building

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

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

The bright white terra cotta-clad Wrigley Building was commissioned by chewing gum magnate William Wrigley Jr. and built by Graham, Anderson, Probst & White, Chicago’s most prominent... — Where

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

One of America's most famous office buildings is a gem for tourists traveling down the Magnificent Mile. — Time Out

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

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

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

The neighborhood gets its name from this park, Chicago’s largest. — Lonely Planet

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

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

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

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

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