Visit Chicago: Your Travel Guide

Chicago’s got it all – Lollapalooza, Oprah and hot dogs Chi-style sans ketchup, with pickles and tomatoes instead. This Midwestern monolith has a thriving art scene, tons of public spaces, and 1,001 reasons for some high-end shopping. It's not windy every day, but definitely check the weather!

Things to Do in Chicago

Millennium Park
Although its grand opening was in 2004, Millennium Park has quickly become the city’s theater for public sculptures, video exhibitions, DJ sets, and general weekend shenanigans. Come see yourself in 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.
201 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60602
Open Sunday to Saturday 6 am – 11 pm
Art Institute of Chicago
Broad strokes of color, 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 hue. Byzantine bare bellies, Renaissance royals, Baroque babies – this gallery has it all!
111 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603
Open Sunday to Wednesday 10:30 am – 5 pm, Thursday 10:30 am – 8 pm, Friday to Saturday 10:30 am – 5 pm
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 too. Around 1835, it was enshrined in law that waterfront views of Lake Michigan would be unimpeded by commercial buildings. Today, it’s still the city’s prime spot to run and jog, or lounge, relax and people watch around Buckingham Fountain.
337 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60601
Open Sunday to Saturday 6 am – 11 pm
Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower)
See Chicago from a bird's-eye view. America’s tallest building, Willis Tower, is a 110-story icon – from here you can see 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” – it’s enclosed with glass, including the floor!
233 S Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60606
Open every day. Changes seasonally: October to March 10 am – 8 pm, April to September 9 am – 10 pm
Shedd Aquarium
Ever seen a dolphin up close? Now’s your chance. Watch them jump through hoops, devour a fish, or just wander 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!
1200 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60605
Open Monday to Friday 9 am – 5 pm, Saturday to Sunday 9 am – 6 pm
360 Chicago
Afraid of heights? Don’t let that stop you from visiting 360 Chicago’s observatory. At 94 stories above ground, it’s a steep climb (thank god for elevators!). Interactive touch panels are set up around the dome – just 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 under the setting sun.
875 N Michigan Avenue, 94th Floor, Chicago, IL 60611
Open Sunday to Saturday 9 am – 11 pm
Navy Pier
There’s more to Navy Pier than sailors and boats. Come here for family-friendly rides and carnival games galore. The Wave Swinger ride will swing you up and down, and the 15-story Ferris wheel will whirl you 'round and around! After some thrills, go for a stroll or hop aboard a tour boat and watch the fireworks over Lake Michigan light up the night sky.
600 E Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
Open Sunday to Thursday 10 am – 8 pm, Friday to Saturday 10 am – 10 pm
Soldier Field
There are dozens of reasons to march over to Soldier Field for Chicago's biggest events. If you're not enticed by any one of the many headliners belting out their hits here (you can probably catch your favorite musicians on tour!), then come and watch the NFL’s Chicago Bears own the gridiron during football season, or catch a soccer match with some of Europe's best.
1410 Museum Campus Dr, Chicago, IL 60605
Lincoln Park Zoo
Completely worth raving 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 through all 35 acres to see all the animals in ecosystems that mimic their natural environments.
2001 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614
Open Sunday to Saturday 10 am – 5 pm
Wrigley Field
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 of Lake Michigan's blustering gales!
1060 W Addison St, Chicago, IL 60613
Willis Tower
Once known as the Sears Tower, this monster of a building used to hold the title of the world’s tallest. Though it’s now been outstripped, it still takes the breath away. Soaring a mighty 442 metres into the sky, it makes other skyscrapers look decidedly dinky in comparison.
Trump Tower
Like him or loathe him, Donald Trump’s tower in Chicago is an impressive sight from any angle. It’s also one of the most desirable and prestigious addresses in the city, with its condos selling at eye-watering prices. Aside from bank-breaking housing space, it holds a hotel and a posh restaurant, Sixteen.
Aon Center
The Aon Center doesn’t mess about. No flashy curves, no pointy aerials and no funky colours for this skyscraper – just one no-nonsense 350-metre cuboid. Inside you’ll find oodles of office space spread over 83 storeys, primarily taken up by two multinational insurance and oil firms – just what you’d expect from a building this matter-of-fact.
John Hancock Center
The John Hancock Center is all about the views. From the outside, it’s an impressive dark silhouette, prodding at the sky with its twin-horn aerials. But it’s from the inside that things get really amazing. Head up to the 95th-floor restaurant for a slap-up meal served with a side helping of mind-boggling city panoramas.
The Franklin
Benjamin, Aretha, Delano Roosevelt… America has had some pretty famous Franklins down the years. This building is just one more to add to the list. Standing tall at 307 metres, The Franklin looms large in the Chicago skyline. For the best views of the whole panorama, head out to North Avenue Beach Pier at dusk.

When to Go to Chicago

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
32 ℉ 19 ℉
31 ℉ 19 ℉
45 ℉ 32 ℉
56 ℉ 42 ℉
69 ℉ 54 ℉
76 ℉ 62 ℉
80 ℉ 68 ℉
80 ℉ 67 ℉
75 ℉ 61 ℉
61 ℉ 49 ℉
48 ℉ 35 ℉
40 ℉ 30 ℉

Traveler's Reviews & Photos

There are so many things to do here and sooo many different great places to eat!! We rented bikes to get around faster and to be able to see more. Love the beach, shopping, navy pier and finding hidden gems! Ranaldis pizza, Hash browns a go go and Sprinkles cupcakes are a must for us!
L Crislip
United States of America
August 13, 2017
Very Good
If you drive in you'll need to pay for parking. There's loads of great eateries & 2 large grocery stores in walking distance. Public transportation or taxis will take wherever you need to go.
United States of America
August 12, 2017
Very Good
Chicago is a beautiful place. Very busy but a great place to visit. My favorite attractions was the Shedd Aquarium and the Navy Pier.
United States of America
August 12, 2017
People very friendly great shopping eating and tourism. Natural history museum a great shout on a rainy day
United Kingdom
August 12, 2017
Don't plan too much. Each day we had just one small thing to see/do and the rest of the time we just explored the city on foot. Also go to Stan's Donuts.
United States of America
August 13, 2017

Accommodations and Hotels in Chicago

Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel Chicago

8.9 Excellent

Score from 1,420 reviews


Average price per night
  • “wonderful staff”
    157 related reviews
  • “location was great”
    109 related reviews
  • “beautiful building”
    100 related reviews
Raffaello Hotel

8.4 Very Good

Score from 2,745 reviews


Average price per night
  • “location was great”
    328 related reviews
  • “wonderful staff”
    192 related reviews
  • “very clean”
    176 related reviews
Congress Plaza Hotel

7.3 Good

Score from 7,016 reviews


Average price per night
  • “location was great”
    1243 related reviews
  • “wonderful staff”
    495 related reviews
  • “beautiful building”
    481 related reviews
Virgin Hotels Chicago

9.4 Wonderful

Score from 1,472 reviews


Average price per night
  • “wonderful staff”
    195 related reviews
  • “beautiful building”
    176 related reviews
  • “location was great”
    141 related reviews
Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile

8.2 Very Good

Score from 971 reviews


Average price per night
  • “location was great”
    203 related reviews
  • “wonderful staff”
    116 related reviews
  • “amazing views”
    34 related reviews
Embassy Suites Chicago Downtown Magnificent Mile

8.6 Excellent

Score from 2,064 reviews


Average price per night
  • “location was great”
    210 related reviews
  • “wonderful staff”
    163 related reviews
  • “excellent quality of food”
    135 related reviews
Comfort Suites Michigan Avenue

8.5 Very Good

Score from 1,497 reviews


Average price per night
  • “location was great”
    297 related reviews
  • “wonderful staff”
    169 related reviews
  • “very clean”
    130 related reviews
The Whitehall Hotel

8.4 Very Good

Score from 1,987 reviews


Average price per night
  • “location was great”
    340 related reviews
  • “wonderful staff”
    266 related reviews
  • “comfortable beds”
    107 related reviews
The Langham Chicago

9.5 Exceptional

Score from 549 reviews


Average price per night
  • “wonderful staff”
    80 related reviews
  • “beautiful building”
    57 related reviews
  • “location was great”
    43 related reviews
Discover Chicago

Popular Neighborhoods in Chicago

Downtown Chicago

198 properties

Fly by the 9-to-5ers and straight to the Chicago Cultural Center. Visceral, inspirational—look up at the triumphant Tiffany Dome—this building’s visitor center is a great resource for what’s good in the windy city. The Art Institute of Chicago’s elite collection is an essential stop, as is the Magnificent Mile for shopping 'til you drop.

Chicago Loop

89 properties

Make a loop de loop in The Loop with the many bakers, bankers and vacationers. Downtown is a party day in and day out because it’s home to the city’s best spots. Skip the skyscrapers, but don't miss 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 sets.

Magnificent Mile

82 properties

The name says it all – Bloomingdale's, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Apple’s swanky flagship store, and designer brands galore. Save a buck for the bucket-drumming street musicians, have drinks at the John Hancock Center’s Signature Lounge (95th floor with an endless view)…or crown yourself King or Queen shop-a-lot.

River North

40 properties

Everyone’s an art critic, especially at the corner of Superior and Franklin. Fall head over heels with art galleries here, and loft after loft lined with work by America’s prime talent. Mix with media at David Weinberg Photography, take a free art tour (usually 11 am at 750 N. Franklin St. on Saturdays), or dine chic at chef Rick Bayliss’ fab Topolobampo.

Lincoln Park

38 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 Chi-style hot dogs), stroll-worthy Lincoln Park Conservatory for an orchids overload, and shows at the Steppenwolf Theatre.

Near North Side

36 properties

Bam! You’ve discovered the fabled land of fun! Shop ‘til you drop on Magnificent Mile, a street with every store you could possibly imagine. Go on a kid-friendly wander to Navy Pier for fun rides and thrills on the giant Ferris wheel, or just walk around the Water Tower, a historic building that’s a stark contrast to the skyscrapers around it.

Wicker Park

20 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

9 properties

History meets modern chic on the Upper East Side. Come here for a stroll, unless you’re one of the lucky few buying in one of the USA’s most elite zip codes. You’ll see mansions many a style, from Norman Gothic to Tudor. There are plenty of Michelin-star eateries, and 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.

  • 140 E Walton Pl, Chicago, IL 60611
  • Open Sunday to Saturday 1 pm – 5 pm
North Avenue Beach
David by David

After 2 years, David is sure Chicago’s best spots are on the coast of Lake Michigan.

North Avenue Beach is a favorite hangout with the locals. Whether you want to relax in the waves or gawk at sculpted beach bodies, this beach is the perfect spot. There are also tons of activities – jump into a game of volleyball or try out paddleboarding.

Green City Market
Sanja by Sanja

Four 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 veggies, and other specialty items. My favorites are the canned beetroot from Bushel & Peck's and the croissants at Bennison's Bakery.

  • 2732 N Clark St #302, Chicago, IL 60614
  • Open Saturday 7 am – 1 pm, Wednesday 7 am – 1 pm
Picnic – Museum Campus
Toriann by Toriann

Tori is a laid-back adventurer who's always looking for 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 jams in this area!

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

For 10 years, Veronica has been biking to check out all of 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 theater 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 so far.

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. Just under the floor, Capone’s underground tunnel network still exists…

  • 4802 N Broadway St, Chicago, IL 60640
  • Open Monday to Friday 12 pm – 4 am, Saturday 12 pm – 5 am, Sunday 11 am – 4 am
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 resulted in 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 neighborhood 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 to Thursday 4 pm – 2 am, Friday 12 pm – 2 am, Saturday 12 pm – 3 am, Sunday 12 pm – 1:30 am
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 train yard that has since been converted into a riverside community center and children's playground. Rent a kayak nearby and admire the Chinese decor from the river. The best part about this park is the spectacular views of the Chicago skyline.

  • 300 W 19th St, Chicago, IL 60616
  • Open every day 6 am – 11 pm

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


Chicago Transportation


Chicago O'Hare International Airport is the city’s main airport. The best way to get downtown is on 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 gets you downtown in 40-45 minutes. Taxis cost around USD 35 and line up outside the terminal along the lower-level kerb. It’s at least a 45-minute taxi ride to get downtown (depending on traffic).


Chicago Midway International Airport is 11 miles from downtown. The best way to get there is on the CTA "L" Orange Line Train (leaving every 10 minutes from 4:30 am – 1 am, 7 days a week), which takes 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 get downtown, for about USD 30.


The CTA elevated "L" trains are the best way to get around Chicago. L stations are all over downtown, designated by signs with names and the line color. 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 has a color and runs on a different schedule, but the Red and Blue Lines run 24/7. Touch your ticket to the platform’s gate to enter/exit.


Metra trains are not recommended for traveling around downtown, but they are the easiest way to get to the suburbs. There are multiple stations in downtown clearly marked by a sign. Fare tickets can be purchased in the station from a ticketing assistant and cost between USD 2.75 and USD 9.25. You can also buy tickets on the train, but be aware – 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 a complete overview of their hours.


The CTA bus system is great for getting to places between the major stops on the L train. Bus stops are usually 1 or 2 blocks apart and are clearly marked 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 3 for a single ride or USD 10 for a day pass). Check online for your route’s hours.


Taxis are an expensive option, but they can easily be hailed 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's a fixed rate of USD 3.25 per ride and additional fees are tacked on for time and distance traveled. A simple journey can become an expensive endeavour. Tips are also customary, so have a few extra bucks on hand.


Driving in Chicago can be a nightmare. Rush hour (7 am – 9 am and 5 pm – 7 pm) creates massive traffic jams that can exponentially delay your journey. If you must drive, car rental is easy at both major airports. Drivers with an international license or permit can easily rent cars with a valid credit card. Be aware – use of handheld devices (including mobile phones) while driving is illegal and punishable with a fine. Parking gets more scarce and expensive the closer you get to downtown.

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
Find accommodations in Chicago

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