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Chicago

203 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 →

You can't -- and shouldn't -- miss the Art Institute. No matter what medium or century interests you, the Art Institute has something in its collection to fit the bill. — Frommer's

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

With more than 260,000 works of art ranging from ancient Egyptian to contemporary, the Art Institute is home to some of the world’s most celebrated masterpieces. — Travel + Leisure

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

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

Museum of Contemporary Art

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

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

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

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

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

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

Millennium Park

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

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 green space is one of the city’s major cultural centers. — Where

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

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

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

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

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

At 1,353 feet up, The Ledge’s glass boxes extend out 4.3 feet from the skyscraper’s Skydeck on the 103rd floor, providing never-before-seen views of the city. — Afar Magazine

Museum of Science and Industry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shedd Aquarium

South Loop 93 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Robie House

Hyde Park 91 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

Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie House (1908-10) is both a masterpiece of the Prairie style and an icon of modern architecture — Where

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

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

Wrigley Field

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

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

It totally hit the spot. Hot Dog. Beer. Cubs Game. Wrigley Field. It really doesn't get any more American or better than that. I was so happy. — 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

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

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

Lincoln Park Zoo

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

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

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

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

This 2ha working farm constructed as part of Lincoln Park Zoo offers city children a chance to commune with rural life — Michelin Guide

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

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

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

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

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

Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio

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

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

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

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

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

Adler Planetarium

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

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

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

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 →

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

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

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

Navy Pier

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

A display of magnificent stained glass windows is the first exhibit of its kind.  — Atlas Obscura

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

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

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

Chicago History Museum

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

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

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

From fashion to photography, this museum’s refined 600-object collection explores both Chicagoan and American history — Travel + Leisure

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

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

Wrigley Building

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

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

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

The bright white terra cotta-clad Wrigley Building was commissioned by chewing gum magnate William Wrigley Jr. — Where

Chicago Children's Museum

Streeterville 86 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

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

Dedicated to the art of play, exhibits such as WaterWays (pulleys and pipes, toy boats) and the Artabound Studio (paint, clay, and draw with trained art professionals) are hands-on experiences that encourage experimentation and creative thinking — Travel + Leisure

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

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. — Where

Lincoln Park

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

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

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

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

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

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  • Museums
    41 museums and galleries
  • Outdoors
    30 parks, gardens and outdoor attractions
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    27 places of historical interest

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