Among other attractions, Chicago is a great town for walking. On foot or Chicago Trolley, you can reach just about any place worth visiting — in spring, summer, and fall. (You’ll want to take a cab in the winter months.)
You can cruise the Chicago River or Lake Michigan on commercial tours. You can spend your days at a spa. But, if you want to enjoy the city, you should plan ahead.
3 outstanding places to visit:
- Museum of Science and Industry: Chicago’s museums are too much to take in on a short trip. But, if must choose, the Museum on Science and Industry tops the list. The enormous Beaux-Arts building dates the 1893 World Columbian Exposition.
Eight hundred exhibits spread over its 350,000 sq. ft. Exhibits include a WWII German U-boat, the Apollo 8 Command Module, a British Spitfire, the Zephyr train, and a model train recreation of the trip from Chicago to Seattle.
Visitors can descend 50 feet into a reconstructed coal mine, play the world’s largest pinball machine, or visit displays and interactive elements in genetics, model ships, space, and weather phenomenon..
But, there are also the Field Museum and the peerless Art Institute of Chicago.
- Millennium Park: Weather permitting, Chicago’s marvelously realized Millennium Park sits between the city’s skyscrapers and Lake Michigan.
Millennium Park sits atop a parking garage for 4,000 cars, the 1,500 seat Harris Theatre, and the Millennium Station train depot.
Rich green grasses cover most of the park’s 25 acres. But, it is dominated by several attractions:
- Frank Gehry designed the revolutionary Pritzker Pavilion with its seating for 11,000, state-of-the-art sound system and pedestrian bridge.
- Crown Fountain is a black granite-lined reflecting pool between two 50 foot high towers. The public can wade between the towers which display image and videos, including the popular showings of Chicago residents.
- Cloud Gate is more popularly known as “The Bean.” The unique kidney bean design by Anish Kapoor is steelclad wood in a shape that reflects and distorts the Chicago skyline.
The park attracts Chicagoans and millions of tourists annually, but events and concerts are planned well in advance.
- The Magnificent Mile runs for 13 city blocks of North Michigan Avenue from the Chicago River to Oak Street. And, the Magnificent Mile District stretches east of North Michigan to the lakefront.
The 460 stores and 275 restaurants compete for patrons. Clubs, music venues, and entertainment options pack people in for memorable meals, shopping, and sheer fun.
Outstanding Places to Visit While You are Staying in Chicago
There’s much more to Chicago, of course. There are the great Lincoln Park Zoo, the terrifying Skydeck Adventure, Shedd Aquarium, and Wrigley Field.
For classic jazz fans, there are The Green Mile dating to the 1920s and Andy’s Jazz Club & Restaurant. For Chicago blues, fans pass up the House of Blues for Kingston Mines or Buddy Guy’s Legends. And, for classical lovers, there are the world-class Chicago Symphony and Lyric Opera, both with extensive seasons.
The challenge to visitors is to do some research especially for planning a short stay. Chicago’s a city with so much to do!