Why our experts love Chicago

Definitely the best in the Midwest.

by Rashmi Chugani

There’s much debate about where the Windy City got its nickname, but nobody dares to argue about the quality of the city’s cultural life. There's the museums, the parks, the food. Chicago has so much to offer that it is hard to pick. Our experts can make it a little bit easier to schedule some time in the best of the city’s amazing spots.

The Art Institute of Chicago 97

111 S Michigan Ave

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

Lincoln Park Zoo 90

2001 North Clark Street

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

- Travel + Leisure

Frontera Grill 87

445 N Clark St

Wildly imaginative Mexican food: Frontera Grill is crowded and boisterous; Topolobampo is more refined and pricier.

- Rough Guide

The Publican 86

837 W Fulton Market

This Fulton Market District newcomer taps into the prevailing fashion for down-home dining and restaurant patrons' hunger for blue-ribbon meat.

- Concierge

Alinea 94

1723 North Halsted St

Widely regarded as North America's best restaurant, Alinea – helmed by Beard Award–winner Grant Achatz – brings on 20 courses of mind-bending molecular gastronomy.

- Lonely Planet

Brookfield Zoo 87

8400 31st St

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

Chicago Cultural Center 89

78 E Washington St

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

- Michelin Guide

Museum of Science and Industry 95

5700 S. Lake Shore Drive

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 92

1200 S. Lake Shore Drive

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 Field Museum 94

1400 S Lake Shore Dr

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

- Travel + Leisure

Millennium Park 97

201 East Randolph Street

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

- Concierge

Adler Planetarium 88

1300 S Lake Shore Dr

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

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