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Fun Things to do in Chicago


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city guide

Chicago, city, seat of Cook county, northeastern Illinois, U.S. With a population hovering near three million, Chicago is the states largest and the countrys third most populous city. In addition, the greater Chicagoland are which encompasses northeastern Illinois and extends into southeastern Wisconsin and northwestern Indiana is the countrys third largest metropolitan area and the dominant metropolis of the Midwest.


Best time to go

The best time of the year to visit Chicago is between April and October during the shoulder season and the high-tourist summer season, when the selection of things to do is the most abundant. During the busy summer tourist season, Chicago can be quite warm, especially in the concrete jungle of downtown.


Fun city facts and activities

    We've officially reached that stage of spring in Chicago when the thermostat slides temptingly into summertime weather every so often. Take advantage of those balmy evenings (however inconsistent they may be!) with drinks at rooftop bars, leisurely outdoor brunches and a new slate of summer events, like free movie screenings at Wrigleyville's Gallagher Way and a Pixar-themed mini-golf course that's opening at Navy Pier. Plus, head to your favorite Chicago beach over Memorial Day weekend, and don't miss the beginning of summer festival seasonwe've got newcomers like reggaeton-focused Sue̱os Music Festival and returning favorites like Mole de Mayo to look forward to this month.

    No matter where your interests lie, you can always find something to get excited about in this no-nonsense Midwestern metropolis. The best things to do in Chicago run the gamutfrom seriously fun to awesomely educational. Looking for culture? Spend a day exploring Chicago museums. Hungry? You've come to the right place, because Chicago is famous for its delicious cuisine. There are tons of amazing restaurants in Chicago that highlight the city's rich and diverse culinary landscape. (And plenty of uniquely Chicago bars that do the trick, too.)
City facts

Neighborhoods to explore

    Lincoln Park & Old Town
    The Loop
    Lake View
    West Town & Wicker Park
    River North & Marina City
    West Loop

Food Specialties

    Chicago continues to be one of the best cities in the nation for drinking amazing, locally-brewed beers, with more than 160 breweries (and counting!) in the city and surrounding suburbs. You'll find craft brews on tap at some of our favorite dive bars in Chicago, but if you want to taste the freshest suds in town, you need to head to Chicago breweries and taprooms. Among some of the best bars in Chicago, these brewery-owned facilities boast everything from bare-bones tasting rooms to cozy brewpubs that serve delicious food, plus, some picturesque beer gardens. And the breweries without in-house kitchens will usually let you bring in grub from some of the best restaurants in Chicago. Not sure where to drink your next hazy IPA, barrel-aged stout or fruited sour? Snag a glass (or sample a flight) at these Chicago breweries and taprooms.

Chicago Offbeat activities

Free or cheap things to do

1. Explore the Underground Pedway: This network of tunnels and skyways, located beneath the streets of downtown Chicago, is a great way to explore the city without ever having to go outside.

2. Take a Graffiti Tour: Explore Chicagos thriving street art scene with a guided graffiti tour. Youll learn about the history and culture of graffiti while seeing some of the citys most vibrant works of art.

3. Visit the Garfield Park Conservatory: This lush oasis in the heart of the city is a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Explore the gardens and greenhouses, and marvel at the exotic plants and flowers on display.

4. Visit the Museum of Surgical Science: If youre brave enough, take a tour of the museum, which houses a collection of medical artifacts, instruments, and tools from the past.

5. Ride the Ferris Wheel

Offbeat activites
Kid friendly

Fun things to do in with kids

Free or cheap things to do

1. Lincoln Park Zoo
What is it? One of the country's last free zoos, situated on the shores of Lake Michigan.

2. Maggie Daley Park
What is it? Located in the heart of the Loop, this 20-acre public park houses one of the most epic playgrounds we've ever seen.

3. Shedd Aquarium
What is it? One of the world's largest indoor aquariums, home to thousands of scaled, finned and feathered animals.

4. The Field Museum
What is it? A deep dive into natural historyand one of Chicago's most beloved institutions.

5. Oz Park
What is it? Tucked behind Lincoln Park High School, this 14.4-acre park is named for one-time Lincoln Park resident L. Frank Baum (who famously penned The Wizard of Oz).

6. Navy Pier
What is it? A 50-acre landmark situated on the shoreline of Lake Michigan that's packed with restaurants, retail and attractions for the entire family.

7. Garfield Park Conservatory
What is it? A stunning, glass-topped botanical conservatory that's home to hundreds of plant species and interactive exhibits.

8. Museum of Science and Industry
What is it? One of the largest science museums in the world.

9. Chicago Botanic Garden
What is it? Twenty-seven breathtaking gardens spread across 385 acres within driving distance of downtown in Glencoe, Illinois.

10. Original Rainbow Cone
What is it? An iconic South Side ice-cream shop that's been scooping cones, milkshakes and banana splits since 1926.

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Best Parks

City data and FAQ 

Are two days enough to visit Chicago?
Two days arent enough time to visit any one of several museums in Chicago. I could spend a week exploring the Museum of Science and Industry, The Chicago Art Museums, or the Museum of Natural History. That might be enough time to take in the Museum of Ice Cream, and The Museum of Illusion. But that doesnt begin to take in the music venues, sports venues nor the fabulous architecture. Then of course there is the restaurant scene, the lake, Buckingham fountain. In fact I could spend two days just listing the sites worth visiting.
Gary Evangelista Lives in Chicago (1946 Present)

NO - many of the museums are worth a day each!!! Many, many interesting attractions - Buckingham Fountain, Water Tower & Water Tower Place, an architectural tour, Navy Pier, Willis Tower, John Hancock building, outstanding, Wendella boat tour on Lake Michigan. It takes time to travel - its a big place & MANY incredible restaurants!!!!
Lynn Saracco Lived in Chicago, IL

Do you need a car to visit Chicago?

Not as a tourist if you are just visiting the city and not the surrounding areas. You can take public transportation, taxis and uber quite easily.
Lee Losey Lives in Chicago

No. Terrible idea for visitors. Parking costs are crazy ($70 to park overnight at downtown hotels). Traffic is also a nightmare. Chicago is easy to get around by walking or public transportation.
Dan Rosenberg Lives in Chicago (1971 Present)

Plenty of ways to get around easily in the City; why spend time looking for parking spots and paying $8/hr to leave your car there when you can take the L or an Uber?
Brent Leatherman - Lives in Chicago (2010 Present)

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