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Chicago

178 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 →

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

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

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

Millennium Park

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

Every June hundreds of internationally renowned blues musicians rock Chicago for 3 days and 4 nights in the world's largest free blues festival. Did I mention it’s free? 3 solid days of... — Afar Magazine

One of Chicago’s most popular destinations—thanks, in part, to the throngs of tourists taking selfies in the reflective surface of Ani Kapoor’s Cloud Gate — Condé Nast Traveler

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

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

Skydeck Chicago - Willis Tower

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

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

Before the Ledge opened at the Skydeck at Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) a few years ago, people were faced with a difficult choice for the best views: Willis or Hancock? Now,... — Frommer's

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

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

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

The Field Museum

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

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

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

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

Museum of Science and Industry

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

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

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

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

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

Shedd Aquarium

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Museum of Contemporary Art

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

Exhibit halls branch off the central staircase... and the East and West facing glass walls have unparalleled views over Lake Michigan and downtown Chicago. — Afar Magazine

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

The task of presenting the avant-garde can be daunting, but the MCA does a good job of making the works and movements of the art of our time accessible to everyone. — Michelin Guide

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

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

Robie House

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

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

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

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

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

Wrigley Field

Wrigleyville 89 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

Catching a game on a sunny afternoon at historic Wrigley Field is a quintessentially American, not-to-be-missed experience. — Concierge

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

Built in 1914 and named for the chewing-gum guy, Wrigley Field – aka The Friendly Confines – is the second-oldest baseball park in the major leagues. — Lonely Planet

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

Lincoln Park Zoo

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

Lincoln Park zoo, which started with the donation of mute swans from New York City’s Central Park in 1868, has grown to an extensive collection of about 1,100 animals from 200 species.... — On the Grid

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

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

This accessible zoo replicates animal environments and presents activities designed to encourage the animals' natural behaviors. — Michelin Guide

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 →

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

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

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

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

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

Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lincoln Park

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

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

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

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

Brookfield Zoo

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

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

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

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

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Navy Pier

Streeterville 84 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

This tourist hot spot features shops, eateries, an IMAX cinema and a bevy of sightseeing boat tours. — Time Out

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

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

The Rookery

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

The famed firm of Burnham and Root built the Rookery in 1888. Frank Lloyd Wright remodeled the atrium 19 years later. — Lonely Planet

The Rookery is one of the earliest designs by Chicago architectural firm Burnham & Root, and is the most impressive landmark rehabilitation in the Loop. — Michelin Guide

Designed by master architect Daniel Burnham in the 1880s, it was one of Chicago's largest and most expensive office buildings when it was completed. — Frommer's

The Rookery was one of the first buildings in the country to feature a central court that brought sunlight into interior office spaces. — Fodor's

Take a peek inside at Frank Lloyd Wright's spectacular remodelled interior. — Not For Tourists

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Chicago History Museum

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

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

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

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

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Wrigley Building

Magnificent Mile 83 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

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

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

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

Monument to chewing gum. — Not For Tourists

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  • Museums
    32 museums and galleries
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    29 parks, gardens and outdoor attractions
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    27 places of historical interest

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