Things to Do in Chicago

Millennium Park


3,2,1, happy millennium! Although its grand opening was 2004, Millennium Park has quickly become the city’s theatre for public sculptures, video exhibitions, DJ sets and general weekend mooching and merriment. See the “big bean” (Anish Kapoor’s ‘Cloud Gate’ sculpture), walk by flowerbeds of purple meadow sage in the Lurie Garden, or find out what events are coming up.

Accommodations near Millennium Park
Art Institute of Chicago


Broad strokes of colour, light and artistic vision. Works like Monet’s impressionist ‘Water Lilies’ and Grant Wood’s mid-century realist work ‘American Gothic’ are highlights, as is Seurat’s pointillist ‘Sunday Afternoon …’, with its series of concurrent dots that build to a crescendo of light and colour. Byzantine bare bellies, Renaissance royals, Baroque babies - this gallery has it all!

Accommodations near Art Institute of Chicago
  • 111 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603
  • Open Sunday-Wednesday 10:30-17:00, Thursday 10:30-20:00, Friday-Saturday 10:30-17:00
Grant Park


If you’ve seen images of Chicago, you’ve seen Grant Park. It’s so big that it swallows Millennium Park and a cluster of campuses. Around 1835, it was enshrined in law that waterfront views of Lake Michigan would be unimpeded by commercial buildings. Today, It’s the city’s prime spot to run, jog, lounge, relax, flail - or people-watch around Buckingham Fountain.

Accommodations near Grant Park
Willis Tower (formerly ‘Sears Tower’)


See Chicago with God’s eyes. America’s second tallest building, Willis Tower, is a 110-storey icon – and from here you can look down on a totally different Chicago. On the Skydeck, watch the videos and engage with the interactive games to find out about the city’s meteoric rise to prominence. For the best views, step onto the “Ledge” – don’t be scared, it’s enclosed with glass.

Accommodations near Willis Tower (formerly ‘Sears Tower’)
  • 233 S Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60606
  • Open Monday-Sunday 10:00-20:00. Changes seasonally. Check website for details.
Shedd Aquarium


Ever seen a dolphin up close? Now’s your chance. Watch them jump through hoops, devour a fish or loll about for your general amusement at Shedd Aquarium. Introduce your family to aquatic life at the park’s themed areas that mimic the world’s great lakes and oceans. Stingrays, beluga whales, penguins, sea lions, sharks and more – the gang’s all here, so bring a camera!

Accommodations near Shedd Aquarium
360 Chicago


Afraid of heights? Don’t let that put you off visiting 360 Chicago’s observatory. At 94 storeys above ground, it’s a steep climb (thank heavens for elevators!). Interactive touch panels are set up around the dome - simply tap through to learn a bit about the buildings in Chicago's skyline. Late afternoon is the best time to visit when Lake Michigan blazes in the sunset.

Accommodations near 360 Chicago
Navy Pier


There’s more to ‘Navy Pier’ than sailors and old sea dogs. Come here for family-friendly fun-rides and carnival games galore. The Wave Swinger ride will swing you up and down, while the 15-storey Ferris wheel will whirl you round and round! After being thrilled senseless, jump aboard a tour boat to see the fireworks explode over Lake Michigan and light up the night sky.

Accommodations near Navy Pier
  • 600 E Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
  • Open Monday-Thursday 10:00-20:00, Friday-Saturday 10:00-22:00, Sunday 10:00-19:00
Soldier Field

Stadiums or Arenas

There are dozens of reasons to march over to Soldier Field for Chicago's biggest events. If you're not enticed by the prospect of seeing skiers blast off from 13-storeys high - or divas and divos belting libretto - you might catch your favourite musician on tour. If not, watch the NFL’s Chicago Bears own the gridiron during football season – and bear down on their opponents.

Accommodations near Soldier Field
Lincoln Park Zoo


Worth braying about. Lincoln Park Zoo spans thousands of species with the regular stars – giraffes, hippos, apes, lions, tigers and bears – plus odd supporting players, like the oriental fire-bellied toad and the hooting white-faced saki monkey. Forge your own path across 35 acres of wildlife to see animalia and mammalia in eco-systems that mimic their natural environments.

Accommodations near Lincoln Park Zoo
Wrigley Field

Stadiums or Arenas

Psst! The 'Curse of Wrigley Field' goes something like this. Decades ago, a man named Sianis brought his goat, Murphy, to a Cubs game. Mr. Wrigley himself kicked Sianis and his smelly friend from the field. Legend has it that the curse dooms the Cubs to failure! If you're not superstitious, visit during game season - but beware Lake Michigan's blustering gales!

Accommodations near Wrigley Field

Reviews of Chicago



October 24, 2016

Great city, yet still manageable. Everything you could want in a large metro area, but still on a comfortable scale. Restaurants are awesome
United States of America
7 reviews


October 23, 2016

For such a large city ... it was remarkably CLEAN. The people were fantastic .... and also, there is lots of things to do and see.
United States of America
1 review


October 23, 2016

Great museums. City is clean. Found a nice Thai restaurant that was reasonably priced with great food.
United States of America
2 reviews


October 23, 2016

Beautiful architecture! Michigan Ave is spectacular. Chicago Symphony has great concerts with world famous musicians. Museums are easy to navigate. Fine restaurants.
United States of America
2 reviews


October 22, 2016

The people were briiiiant, very friendly. So much to do in this wonderful city, loads of choices of good restuarants. Excellent transport system which is really cheap.
United Kingdom
6 reviews


October 23, 2016

Great place loads of bars restaurants and things to see. Best trip was the architecture river speed boat ride and Willis tower
United Kingdom
1 review


October 23, 2016

This is the city that we like a lot! Beautiful architecture, grate food, grate music! Lot of live music in the pubs.
17 reviews


October 23, 2016

Fantastic city Very clean Friendly people Enjoyed it far more than New York City
United Kingdom
1 review


October 22, 2016

Great city. So beautiful and clean. Great people so polite. Feel safe alla the way
1 review

Accommodations and Hotels in Chicago

La Quinta Inn & Suites Chicago Downtown

8.3 Very good

Score from 962 reviews


Average price per night
  • 1 South Franklin, Chicago Loop, Chicago
Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel Chicago

9 Wonderful

Score from 1280 reviews


Average price per night
  • 221 North Columbus Drive, Near East Side, Chicago
Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile

8 Very good

Score from 1025 reviews


Average price per night
  • 540 North Michigan Avenue, Magnificent Mile, Chicago
Warwick Allerton Hotel Chicago

8.2 Very good

Score from 2308 reviews


Average price per night
  • 701 North Michigan Avenue, Magnificent Mile, Chicago
Chicago's Essex Inn

7.5 Good

Score from 3028 reviews


Average price per night
  • 800 South Michigan Avenue, South Loop, Chicago
Kinzie Hotel

9 Wonderful

Score from 1990 reviews


Average price per night
  • 20 West Kinzie Street, Magnificent Mile, Chicago
Virgin Hotels Chicago

9.4 Wonderful

Score from 1341 reviews


Average price per night
  • 203 N Wabash Ave, Chicago Loop, Chicago
Courtyard Chicago Downtown/Magnificent Mile

8.8 Excellent

Score from 1345 reviews


Average price per night
  • 165 East Ontario Street, Magnificent Mile, Chicago
Hyatt Regency Chicago

8.7 Excellent

Score from 2500 reviews


Average price per night
  • 151 East Wacker, Chicago Loop, Chicago
Discover Chicago

Popular Neighborhoods in Chicago

Downtown Chicago

188 properties

Fly by the 9-5ers and straight to the Chicago Cultural Centre. Visceral, inspirational – look up at the triumphant Tiffany Dome – this building’s visitor centre is a plum resource for what’s hip and happening in the windy city. The Art Institute of Chicago’s elite collection is an essential stop, as is Magnificent Mile for shops-a-plenty.

Chicago Loop

97 properties

Go loopdy-loop on ‘The Loop’ with bakers, bankers and holiday-makers. Downtown is a jostle-fest day in and day out because it’s home to the city’s top spots. Skip the skyscrapers, but see The Rookery’s ‘light court’ – architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s magnum opus. Dine with the ladies who lunch on Rush Street, or museum-hop ‘til the sun drops.

Magnificent Mile

70 properties

The name says it all, darling. Bloomingdales, Saks Fifth, Neiman Marcus, Apple’s svelte flagship store and designer brands-a-go-go. Spare a dollar for the bucket-drumming street musicians, have drinks at the John Hancock Center’s Signature Lounge (95th floor, views galore) … or crown yourself King (or Queen) shop-a-lot.

River North

39 properties

Everyone’s an art critic. Especially round Superior and Franklin. Fall head over feet with art galleries here, with loft after loft lined with works by the USA’s prime talent. Mix your media at David Weinberg Photography, take a free art tour (usually 11:00 at 750 N. Franklin Street, Saturdays) or dine chic at chef Rick Bayliss’ fab Topolobampo.

Near North Side

32 properties

Boom - you’ve found the fabled land of fun! Shop ‘til the credit stops along Magnificent Mile, a street with every commercial bell and whistle. Go on a kid-friendly jaunt to Navy Pier for fun rides and thrills on the giant Ferris wheel, or just walk around the Water Tower, a listed building that’s a stark contrast to the skyscrapers around it.

Lincoln Park

26 properties

Lincoln Park – historic, conservative and thriving. Home to Ivy League alumni and ladies lovingly referred to as ‘Trixies’, it’s a hubbub of activity day ‘n night. Find a foodie scene for any budget (try “Wiener Circle” for hot-dogs, Chicago style), stroll-worthy Lincoln Park Conservatory for orchids galore, and shows at the Steppenwolf Theatre.

Wicker Park

19 properties

Get ready to lick your lips. Wicker Park packs in pancake joints, pizzerias and patio bars galore. Start the day with Irazu’s famous oatmeal shake, or try raspberry-and-Oreo flapjacks at Bongo Room. Stroll past the Victorian mansions of Hoyne Street, a.k.a “Beer Baron Row”, then sample trendy craft ales and thin-crust pizza at Piece Brewery.

Gold Coast

3 properties

Wealth meets privilege on the Upper East Side! Come here to stroll, unless you’re one of the lucky few buying in one of the USA’s most elite zip codes. You’ll see mansions in a litany of styles from Norman Gothic to Tudor. Michelin-star eateries abound. The area’s flanked by Lake Michigan and Oak Street (for all your spa and couture needs).

Local Tips for Chicago

Afternoon Tea - The Drake Hotel
Stephanie by Stephanie

Socialite Stephanie says good food and good friends are the keys to happiness.

Afternoon Tea at the historic Drake hotel is the perfect excuse to get dressed up and enjoy some close company in a classy atmosphere. I highly recommend the finger sandwich selection – it’s so cute and delicious! Be sure to make reservations, otherwise you don’t stand a chance of getting a seat.

North Avenue Beach
David by David

After 2 years, David is certain Chicago’s best spots are on the coast ofLake Michigan.

North Avenue Beach is a favourite local hangout, the perfect spot for a walk along the beach or to relax by the waves. There are also tons of activities – rent a jet ski, jump into a game of sand volleyball or give paddle boarding a try.

Green City Market
Sanja by Sanja

4 years in, Sanja has become a certified foodie who loves Chicago’s diverse dining options.

You’ll find me at the Green City Market on Saturday mornings during the summer. Check out this farmers' market for some fresh organic fruit and veg, and other speciality items. My favourites are the tinned beetroot from Bushel & Peck's and the croissants at Bennison's Bakery.

  • 2732 N Clark St #302, Chicago, IL 60614
  • Open Saturday 07:00-13:00, Wednesday 07:00-13:00
Picnic - Museum Campus
Toriann by Toriann

Tori is a laidback adventurer who seeks out quiet retreats in the urban jungle.

If you want to enjoy a picnic with an iconic view of the city in the background, head to the stretch of greenery between the Adler Planetarium and the Shedd Aquarium. Sprawl out and bask in the breeze coming off the lake. Hop on the ‘L’ to dodge the traffic congestions in this area!

  • E Solidarity Dr, Chicago, IL 60605
Steppenwolf Theatre
Veronica by Veronica

For 10 years, Veronica has been biking to Chicago’s best kept secrets.

There are no hit-or-miss productions at the Steppenwolf Theatre. Each performance is compelling and powerful, and you’ll witness ground-breaking productions like ‘Grapes of Wrath’ and ‘August: Osage County’. This Tony Award-winning theatre is driven by artists who pursue on-stage innovation.

Architecture River Tour
Patrick by Patrick

From lounging on the shore to partying on rooftop bars, Patrick’s 8 years in Chicago have been a blast.

Hop on a Chicago’s First Lady Architecture Tour to see all of Chicago’s architectural wonders. These riverboats run between April and November and will take you all around the city while your tour guide explains all the sights. Grab a drink from the full-service bar on board and take in some of the city’s best sights.

Green Mill Cocktail Lounge
Matthew by Matthew

An outdoor enthusiast at heart, Matt still appreciates an exceptional cocktail and good food.

Al Capone and his mobsters once made their lair in the Green Mill Cocktail Lounge – today, it’s the best place to hear Chicago’s famous jazz music. The music goes late into the night and the bartenders serve legendary cocktails. Beneath the floor, Capone’s underground tunnel network still exists…

  • 4802 N Broadway St, Chicago, IL 60640
  • Open Monday-Friday 12:00-04:00, Saturday 12:00-05:00, Sunday 11:00-04:00
State Street Shopping
Michelle by Michelle

For 3 years, Michelle's motto ‘just go with it’ has taken her to Chicago’s most unique places.

If you want to beat the swarms of tourist shoppers on Magnificent Mile, head over to State Street. You’ll find similar upscale boutiques and luxury retailers minus the crowds. Don’t miss the Great Clocks and mosaic Tiffany Ceiling at the Marshall Field and Company Building.

  • 111 N State St Chicago, IL 60602
Fashion Outlets of Chicago
Christina by Christina

Christina’s 2 years in Chicago have seen some epic shopping sprees at the most stylish shops.

I’m constantly on the lookout for unique styles that mesh with my unique personality. The Fashion Outlets of Chicago has incredible deals on loads of designer clothing. It’s located near O’Hare International Airport away from all the touristy areas. The Coach outlet has amazing deals on leather!

Southport Lanes
Ron by Ron

Ron has lived all over the US, but he’s convinced sweet home Chicago is the best.

Southport Lanes is the quintessential ‘neighbourhood bar’ with 4 vintage bowling lanes for some added excitement. Craft beer lovers will rave about the diverse selection of local Chicagoland brews and other brews from across the globe. You have to try the ‘Trendy’ – one of Chicago’s best burgers!

  • 3325 N Southport Ave, Chicago, IL 60657
  • Open Monday-Thursday 16:00-02:00, Friday 12:00-02:00, Saturday 12:00-03:00, Sunday 12:00-01:00
Ping Tom Park
Jerome by Jerome

After 8 years of fast-paced life in Chicago, Jerome appreciates the city’s hidden gems the most.

I love this park! It was once a railway yard that has since been converted into a riverside community centre and children's playground. Hire a kayak nearby and admire the Chinese décor from the river. The best part about this park is the spectacular views of the Chicago skyline.

See what other visitors said

Recommended in Chicago

In retrospect should have bought one of those "fast passes" after Willis tower, fine art museum, field museum, shedd aquarium, etc- would save money if you are going to all of them. asked travelers...

Why do you recommend Chicago for food?

So many specialties, so many restaurants, all very good. Everyone there is a foodie with high standards. Stay away from chains.

Google tapas restaurants in the area. They are all delicious and can always seat you the moment you walk in.

If your able to travel during the week it was much less busy and we hardly waited in any lines for anything

Yes! There are indie retailers a bit outside downtown and they are worth visiting.

The Art Institute of Chicago

Variety of stores.

Visit often



Chicago Transportation


Chicago O'Hare International Airport is the city’s main airport. The best way to reach the city centre is by taking the CTA ‘L’ Train. Follow the signs in your terminal to reach the station. Purchase your fare (about USD 5) at the blue Ventra Vending Machines. The Blue Line runs 24 hours and takes you to the city centre in 40-45 minutes. Taxis cost around USD 35 and line up outside the terminal along the lower-level kerb. It’s at least 45 minutes’ ride to the city centre.


Chicago Midway International Airport is 18 kilometres from the city centre. The best connection to the centre is provided by the CTA ‘L’ Orange Line Trains (leaving every 10 minutes from 04:30–01:00, 7 days) which take around 25 minutes. Follow the signs in your terminal to the train station. Blue Ventra Vending Machines sell tickets for USD 2.25. Taxis line up outside each terminal and take around 25-30 minutes to reach the city centre, costing about USD 30.


The CTA elevated ‘L’ trains are the best way to zip around Chicago. ‘L’ stations are located all over the city centre designated by signs with names and line colour. Purchase fare cards inside at the blue Ventra Vending Machines. Single-ride tickets cost USD 3 and full day tickets are USD 10. Each train line is designated by colour and runs on a different schedule, but the Red and Blue Lines operate 24/7. Touch your ticket to the platform’s gate to pass through.


Metra trains are the easiest way to travel to and from the suburbs. There are multiple stations in the city centre clearly designated by a sign. Tickets can be purchased in the station from a ticketing assistant and cost between USD 3.50 and USD 10.50. You can also buy tickets on the train, but beware – a fee of USD 3 will be added to your total if a ticketing assistant was actually on duty when you passed through the station. Check online for operating hours.


The CTA bus system is best used to access places between the major stops on the ‘L’ train. Bus stops are located 1 or 2 blocks apart and clearly designated by a ‘cta bus stop’ sign – stand near the sign so the driver sees you. You can pay your fare with exact change when you board, otherwise buy Ventra fare cards from local retailers or the blue machines in ‘L’ stations (USD 2 for a single ride or USD 10 for a day pass). Check online for your route’s operating hours.


Taxis are an expensive option, but can easily be hailed from anywhere in the city. Yellow Cab is the most popular Chicago taxi – you can request a ride online or download the 'Curb' app for your smartphone. There is a fixed rate of USD 3.25 per ride and additional fees are tacked on for time and distance travelled. A simple journey can become an expensive endeavour. Tips are also encouraged for exceptional service.


Driving in Chicago can be a nightmare. Rush hour (07:00–09:00 and 17:00–19:00) creates massive gridlocks that can exponentially delay your journey. If you must drive, car rental is easy at either major airport. Drivers with an international licence or permit can easily rent cars with a valid credit card. Beware – use of handheld devices (including mobile phones) while driving is illegal and punishable by fine. Parking becomes scarce and expensive nearer to the city centre.

Food in Chicago

Top Restaurants in Chicago

Upscale Dining
The Gage
Cheap Eats
Magnolia Bakery
Cheap Eats
Latin American
Cheap Eats
Ceres Cafe
Upscale Dining
Mercat a la planxa
Mid-Range Fare
Howells & Hood
Cheap Eats
Cheap Eats
Pierogi Heaven
Mid-Range Fare
Cheap Eats
  • 555 S State St, Chicago, IL 60605
  • Open Monday-Thursday 10:00-22:00, Friday 10:00-01:00, Saturday 11:00-00:00, Sunday 12:00-22:00
  • 001 3126631668
Mid-Range Fare
Cheap Eats
Glazed & Infused
Upscale Dining
Michael Jordan's Steakhouse Chicago
  • 505 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
  • Open Monday-Thursday 11:00-14:00 and 17:00-22:00, Friday-Saturday 11:00-14:00 and 17:00-23:00, Sunday 11:00-14:00 and 17:00-21:00
  • 001 3123218823
Cheap Eats
Billy Goat Tavern
Mid-Range Fare
Hub 51
  • 51 W Hubbard St, Chicago, IL 60654
  • Open Monday-Wednesday 11:00-00:00, Thursday-Friday 11:00-02:00, Saturday 10:00-03:00, Sunday 10:00-22:00
  • 001 3128280051
Cheap Eats
Star of Siam
Cheap Eats
Middle Eastern
Cheap Eats
Perry's Deli
Upscale Dining
Everest Restaurant
Mid-Range Fare
  • 111 W Kinzie St, Chicago, IL 60654
  • Open Monday 16:30-00:00, Tuesday-Wednesday 16:30-01:00, Thursday 16:30-02:00, Friday 16:30-02:00, Saturday 16:30-03:00
  • 001 3128801511
Mid-Range Fare
The Purple Pig
Mid-Range Fare
Mid-Range Fare
Mid-Range Fare
Cheap Eats
Devil Dawgs
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