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Chicago

196 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 →

Founded in 1879, the Art Institute of Chicago is hands down one of the city’s oldest treasures. — goop

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 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 second-largest art museum in the country, the Art Institute houses treasures and masterpieces from around the globe. — Lonely Planet

Two permanent collections that often get overlooked. The Thorne Miniature Rooms, located in the lower level just after entry, feature 68 rooms with impeccable detail and scale. From... — On the Grid

Millennium Park

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

"The Bean," the fountains, the Disney-esque music pavilion—all the pieces of this new park quickly stole the hearts of Chicagoans and visitors alike. — Fodor's

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

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

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

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

Skydeck Chicago - Willis Tower

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

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

Until recently the tallest building in the US, with a cool skydeck. — Not For Tourists

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

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

Museum of Science and Industry

Hyde Park 94 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

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 Museum of Science and Industry has been a Chicago Institution for quite some time. During the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, it was The Palace of Fine Arts. — Afar Magazine

Spread across roughly 14 acres, Chicago's Museum of Science & Industry is one of the world’s largest museums, with more than 35,000 artifacts displayed in 2,000-plus interactive exhibits. — Travel + Leisure

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

Shedd Aquarium

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

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

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

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

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

The Field Museum

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

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

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

More than 400,000 square feet of exhibit space fill this gigantic museum, which explores cultures and environments from around the world. — Fodor's

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

360 Chicago Observation Deck

Magnificent Mile 92 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

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

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

Designed by the same team (Skidmore, Owings & Merrill) that designed the Willis (formerly Sears) Tower, this multiuse skyscraper is distinguished by its tapering shape and enormous X braces. — Fodor's

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

Museum of Contemporary Art

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

Party down on First Fridays. — Not For Tourists

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

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

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

Robie House

Hyde Park 89 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

Frank Lloyd Wright called this Hyde Park home “the cornerstone of modern architecture.” — Time Out

For architectural history buffs, Robie House is a must-see. — Frommer'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 89 The TripExpert score is determined by calculating the general consensus of expert reviewers. Learn more →

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

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

The Chicago hot dog was the third best thing that I ate on this trip. It's $6.25 for a Chicago Hot Dog - with onions but for the experience, entirely worth it. I topped the dog with... — Afar Magazine

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

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

Lincoln Park Zoo

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

See some 1,200 animals, from apes to zebras, at the oldest and one of only a few free zoos left in the country. — Time Out

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. The 14-acre Nature Boardwalk... — Where

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

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

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

Chicago Cultural Center

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

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 iconic landmark is a welcome center for visitors and Chicago residents alike. — On the Grid

The Chicago Cultural Center was built in 1897 as the city's public library, and in 1991, it was transformed into a showplace for visual and performing arts. — Frommer's

Located in the Loop, the Chicago Cultural Center is known for both its impressive architecture and its free programming, which includes more than 1,000 events each year. — Travel + Leisure

Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio

Chicago 88 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

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

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

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

The home began as a simple shingled cottage that the 22-year-old Wright built for his bride in 1889, but it became a living laboratory for his revolutionary reinvention of interior spaces. — Frommer's

Adler Planetarium

South Loop 86 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

The building may be historic (it was the first planetarium in the Western Hemisphere), but some of the attractions here will hold the attention of even the most jaded video game addict. — Frommer's

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

Navy Pier

Streeterville 85 The TripExpert score is determined by calculating the general consensus of expert reviewers. Learn more →

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

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

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

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

Brookfield Zoo

Chicago 84 The TripExpert score is determined by calculating the general consensus of expert reviewers. Learn more →

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

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

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

Chicago History Museum

Lincoln Park 84 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

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

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

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

Wrigley Building

Magnificent Mile 84 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

Monument to chewing gum. — Not For Tourists

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

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 84 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

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

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

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

Chicago Children's Museum

Streeterville 83 The TripExpert score is determined by calculating the general consensus of expert reviewers. Learn more →

Hands-on is the operative concept for this brightly colored Navy Pier anchor. — Fodor's

Among the favorites, Dinosaur Expedition explores the world of paleontology and lets kids excavate ‘bones’. They can also climb a ropey schooner and bowl in a faux alley. — Lonely Planet

The Children’s Museum is the main reason to visit Navy Pier...it also happens to be the second-most visited kids’ museum in the country. — Frommer's

The Children's Museum greets visitors as they enter Navy Pier on foot. There's lots to do here for the under-11-year-old set. — Michelin Guide

Geared to children under age 12, this Navy Pier museum includes an indoor water playground, hands-on art gallery, Skyline where kids learn how Chicago’s tall buildings stay standing and... — Where

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    30 parks, gardens and outdoor attractions
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