Recent Searches
Clear
A view of the Chicago skyline pictured from Lincoln Park.

Things to do in  Chicago

Welcome to Chicago

Located along the shores of Lake Michigan, Chicago—the largest city in Illinois and the third largest in the United States—offers a wealth of art, music, historical, and architectural experiences. Culture lovers can stroll through Millennium Park and the Loop to view outdoor art (including the iconic “Bean”), tour world-class museums such as the Art Institute of Chicago, or cruise the Chicago River to see modern landmark gems. To meet the locals, buy a ticket for a ball game; catch some live blues or jazz (both of which have deep roots in Chicago) at a club; or laugh at the comedy acts at Second City, where many top comedians launched their careers.

Top 15 attractions in Chicago

#1
Skydeck Chicago at Willis Tower (Sears Tower)

Skydeck Chicago at Willis Tower (Sears Tower)

star-4.517,254
Once the world’s tallest building, Willis Tower is still way up in the clouds. Though it functions as an office building, the skyscraper’s 103rd-floor Skydeck Chicago draws 1.7 million annual visitors for a trip out onto The Ledge, an enclosed glass balcony extending 4 feet (1.2 meters) out over the city, as well as panoramic views that—on clear days—extend as far as Indiana, Michigan, Iowa, and Wisconsin.More
#2
Navy Pier

Navy Pier

star-514,437
Navy Pier is one of Chicago’s most popular tourist destinations—and with good reason. The 3,300-foot (1,010-meter) pier jutting into the waters of Lake Michigan, originally constructed in 1916 as a freight dock and public space, encompasses almost 50 acres (20 hectares) of exhibits, rides, parks, and family attractions.More
#3
Chicago River

Chicago River

star-513,515
Winding its way through the heart of the Windy City, the Chicago River flows past some of the city’s most notable architecture, including the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower), Wrigley Building, and Navy Pier. The river also offers opportunities for exploration, such as river cruises, kayaking, and canoeing, along a revamped riverfront.More
#4
Chicago Cultural Center

Chicago Cultural Center

star-52,456
Opened in 1897 as Chicago’s first public library, the Chicago Cultural Center is the city’s hub for arts and cultural events as well as one of the city’s most beloved architectural monuments. The center is among Chicago’s most popular tourist attractions and features more than 1,000 free concerts, films, art exhibits, and other cultural events each year.More
#5
The Magnificent Mile

The Magnificent Mile

star-58,307
Fashion, architecture, and history in Chicago come together on this renowned stretch of Michigan Avenue nicknamed the Magnificent Mile. As you walk from the Chicago River to Oak Street, you’ll pass several Windy City landmarks, including the Water Tower, John Hancock Center, and Tribune Tower, as well as numerous luxury brand retailers.More
#6
Wrigley Field

Wrigley Field

star-5666
Chicagoans take their baseball seriously, and one of best places to see a Major League Baseball game in the United States is at the ivy-covered home of the Chicago Cubs: Wrigley Field. Built in 1914 and known as the "Friendly Confines," Wrigley Field is the oldest baseball park in the National League and should be on the bucket list of any baseball fan.More
#7
Hard Rock Cafe Chicago

Hard Rock Cafe Chicago

star-4.51,162
The Hard Rock Cafe Chicago has been serving the Chicago River North area since its opening in 1986. River North borders the Magnificent Mile, is just across from the Loop, and a few blocks west of Michigan Avenue, a vibrant and popular dining and nightlife district.Be sure to order Hard Rock’s signature food offerings like the Legendary Burger and drinks like Rockarita. Check the menu for house made local entrees that have a touch of Chicago flavor as well.Like other Hard Rock Cafes around the world, the Hard Rock Cafe Chicago features music memorabilia on the walls, with an emphasis on funky styles. Be sure to tour the restaurant and see various guitars, platinum records, and more.There are numerous concerts and events taking place at the cafethroughout the year, so be sure to check the Hard Rock Cafe Chicago events page for details and reservations.More
#8
Chicago Riverwalk

Chicago Riverwalk

star-59,363
Connecting Lake Michigan to downtown, the Chicago Riverwalk is an open-air pedestrian-friendly walkway that runs along the Chicago River. Composed of six main sections, the Riverwalk is a main hub for entertainment. Head to the Marina Plaza section for restaurants, outdoor seating, and boat access. Take a stroll through a series of piers and floating wetland gardens at the Riverbank, or head to the Water Plaza where the kids can splash in water fountains.More
#9
Millennium Park

Millennium Park

star-57,356
Located just a block away from Lake Michigan in the heart of downtown Chicago, Millennium Park showcases world-class art, music, architecture, and landscape design. Completed in 2004, the 24.5-acre (10-hectare) park is one of Chicago’s most popular destinations, drawing 25 million visitors per year.More
#10
Grant Park

Grant Park

star-54,538
Known as “Chicago’s Front Yard,” Grant Park stretches over 300 acres (121 hectares), and is the city’s primary downtown park. Located in the Loop, Grant Park is sandwiched between Lake Michigan and soaring skyscrapers. Its cultural highlights include the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum Campus, and Millennium Park.More
#11
Wrigley Building

Wrigley Building

star-56,012
The 1920s were an important time for Chicago architecture, and when the Wrigley Building opened in 1925, it set the pace for the city’s development. When owner William Wrigley Jr. (of the Wrigley gum company) scouted locations for the building that would become his company’s headquarters, he chose a unique triangle shape of land that eventually became the bustling Magnificent Mile.More
#12
Tribune Tower

Tribune Tower

star-4.59,987
Once home to the Chicago Tribune, this neo-Gothic landmark was built as a result of the International Design Competition in 1922. Before this 462-foot (141-meter) building was constructed, reporters from the paper brought back pieces of rock from important landmarks around the world like the Taj Mahal, the Hagia Sophia, the Great Wall of China, and more.More
#13
Northerly Island

Northerly Island

star-4.51,215
Northerly Island is located in the heart of Chicago’s Museum Campus, near Soldier Field and just south of the Adler Planetarium. The island was designed by Daniel H. Burnham, the architect of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.Burnham envisioned a park with harbors, beaches, lagoons, large open green spaces, and striking views of the lake and skyline. The 91-acre Northerly Island was selected as one of the sites of the 1933-34 World’s Fair in Chicago, “A Century of Progress.” The park increased to its current size of today and by the 1940’s, Northerly Island had a beach, a few paths and walkways, and a small airport known as Meigs Field.In September 2015, a new 43-acre nature area opened on Northerly Island, creating a green oasis in the middle of the bustling city. The nature area features a mile-long interior park trail, overlooks, and a five-acre lagoon that connects to Lake Michigan. This allows for fish to enter the lagoon, providing excellent fishing opportunities. The Northerly Island visitors see today is what Burnham originally envisioned.More
#14
Art Institute of Chicago

Art Institute of Chicago

star-52,372
Located in Chicago’s Grant Park, the Art Institute showcases 300,000 works of art ranging from ancient works to pieces created by today’s foremost artists. More than 1.5 million visitors from across the globe flock to the museum annually, making it one of Chicago’s most-visited destinations.More
#15
Field Museum

Field Museum

star-4.52,795
With more than 20 million artifacts, the Field Museum is an engaging museum filled with both interactive and imaginative displays. The big attraction is the Tyrannosaurus rex named "Sue," a 13 foot (4 meter) tall, 41 ft (13 m) long beast who menaces the grand space with ferocious aplomb. The most complete T-Rex ever discovered, it takes its name from Sue Hendrickson, the fossil-hunter who found the 90 percent complete skeleton in South Dakota in 1990.Dinosaurs loom large in the Field Museum. At the Evolving Planet exhibit, you can also watch staff paleontologists clean up fossils, learn about the evolution of the massive reptiles, and even learn about Homo sapien's evolutionary ties to the extinct beasts. Away from the prehistoric giants, the “Inside Ancient Egypt” exhibit recreates an Egyptian burial chamber on three levels. The mastaba (tomb) contains 23 actual mummies. The bottom level, with its twisting caverns, is especially worthwhile. Those reeds growing in the stream are real.Other displays worth your time include “Underground Adventure,” a vast exhibit exploring the habitats of animals and insects that live underground, and the “Pawnee Earth Lodge,” which allows visitors to explore a complete dwelling of the Great Plains tribe.More

Trip ideas

Don’t-Miss Dishes in Chicago

Don’t-Miss Dishes in Chicago

Top activities in Chicago

Lake Michigan Sightseeing Cruise
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out

Lake Michigan Sightseeing Cruise

star-4.5
456
From
$28.34
Chicago Crime and Mob Bus Tour

Chicago Crime and Mob Bus Tour

star-4.5
1529
From
$46.00
Chicago CityPASS

Chicago CityPASS

star-4.5
367
From
$114.00
90-Minute Chicago River Architecture Tour
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out
Chicago Lake and River Architecture Tour
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out
Chicago Signature Dinner Cruise on Lake Michigan
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out
Private 45-Minute Chicago Skyline Helicopter Tour
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out
Chicago Premier Dinner Cruise on Lake Michigan
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out
Chicago in a Day: Food, History and Architecture Walking Tour
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out
Big Bus Chicago Night Tour

Big Bus Chicago Night Tour

star-4
97
From
$31.49
Operators have paid Viator more to have their experiences featured here

Recent reviews from experiences in Chicago

star-5
A must see and do when you visit the CHI
Daren_A, Aug 2022
90-Minute Chicago River Architecture Tour
The Chicago skyline was truly spectacular to see from the river and the Riverwalk is a cool place to hang out with friends get a bit too eat and have some drinks.
star-5
Highly recommended
AsiaJoanna_K, Aug 2022
90-Minute Chicago River Architecture Tour
I do this every summer.
star-5
Architecture River Cruise a MUST DO!
Steven_A, Aug 2022
Chicago Architecture River Cruise
Its a great way to learn more about the city, and to see it from a totally different perspective!!
star-4
Chicago at evening time
Carmel_C, Aug 2022
360 CHICAGO Observation Deck Admission (Hancock Center)
Great views, lovely to see Chicago at sunset.
star-5
Great way to see some...
Robert_H, Aug 2022
Gangsters and Ghosts Tour in Chicago
Great way to see some areas of Chicago that would be missed, and to learn some history at the same time.
star-5
Excellent Way to See the City!
Vincent_G, Aug 2022
Chicago Architecture River Cruise
The architecture tour was a fantastic way to see Chicago and learn a bit about the history of it's many skyscrapers and buildings.
star-5
Beautiful city
Rita_M, Aug 2022
Chicago 3D Fireworks Cruise
I am so impressed with the the City of Chicago and to see at at night from the water was amazing.
star-5
Great way to see Chicago!
Gail_C, Aug 2022
30 Minute Lake Michigan Speedboat Ride
It’s a great way to see some breathtaking sights of Chicago!
star-5
Definite must for Chicago
Catherine_R, Aug 2022
Chicago City Minibus Tour
Great Way to see Chicago for the first time.
star-5
Wonderful fun experience
Debbie_K, Aug 2022
Skyline Tour Aboard 148 Ft. Schooner Windy - Chicago's Official Tall Ship
The weather is very unpredictable in Chicago summer.
star-5
Gotta Ride the Big Bus
Donna_D, Aug 2022
Big Bus Chicago Hop-On Hop-Off Tour
Easy, fun and informative way to see the city!
star-5
An intoxicating adventure
Maurice_M, Aug 2022
Chicago Craft Brewery Barrel Bus Tour
Great beer tour that takes you through several interesting Chicago neighborhoods to visit three various sized breweries.
star-5
Awesome last event for our trip to Chicago!
Jane_B, Aug 2022
Chicago's Lake Michigan Downtown Kayak Rental at Ohio Street Beach
It was awesome to see him out with the yachts on Lake Michigan, and was a great event to end our five days in Chicago!
star-5
Highly recommended!
Valerie_B, Aug 2022
3-Hour Scenic Chicago Night Tour
All the activities we took part in were memorable and so fun!
star-5
July in Chicago
Adorah_S, Aug 2022
Chicago Sunset Cruise
Being able to see the sunset and watching the city of Chicago lights at night was a night to remember.
star-5
Excellent experience!! :)
Cheryl_M, Aug 2022
Bikes, Bites, and Brews: Chicago's Signature Dishes Bike Tour
Overall an excellent way to see several neighborhoods of Chicago while enjoying the outdoors.
star-5
Our guide was nice,...
Jacqueline_S, Jul 2022
Chicago Lake and River Architecture Tour
It was the perfect day to see different parts of Chicago.
star-5
Absolutely loved it!!
Jennifer_K, Jul 2022
Lake Michigan Sightseeing Cruise
Wonderful way to see the skyline and learn about Chicago!
star-5
Ann was the best!
Sarah_S, Jul 2022
Chicago Favorites Ultimate Food & Walking Tour
Her love of Chicago was so evident and made me fall in love with it too.
star-5
Great for a 1st timer to Chicago
rregan1988, Jul 2022
Gangsters and Ghosts Tour in Chicago
Great way to see some iconic Chicago landmarks.
We perform checks on reviews

All about Chicago

When to visit

After being cooped up all winter, Chicago is ready to party when the sun comes out (sometime during May). Summer highlights include the annual Taste of Chicago, Chicago Blues Festival, Andersonville’s Midsommarfest, and the Chicago Air and Water Show. Alternatively, fall brings fewer crowds and brisker weather, perfect for exploring neighborhoods on foot and watching the trees turn colors along the quaint neighborhood streets.

Getting around

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) is your best friend when traveling around Chicago. You’ll see many references to “the Loop,” the circle elevated train tracks that define the city’s downtown area. From there, train lines (both underground and elevated) shoot out to the airport and the nearby suburbs. The CTA also has a robust network of bus lines that make all corners of the city easily accessible. The Loop itself is very walkable, and if you’re there in the dead of winter and your toes are frozen, hailing a cab is a cinch.

Traveler tips

The best place for a chargrilled Chicago hot dog after bar closing time (2am) is the Weiner’s Circle in Lincoln Park. The dog is served with a pickle, tomato wedges, chopped onions, sweet peppers, celery salt, and a side of major sass from the counterperson. If you know what’s good for you, never ever ask for ketchup—Chicago is a mustard town.

Currency
US Dollar ($)
Time Zone
CDT (UTC -6)
Country Code
+1
Language(s)
English

People Also Ask

What is Chicago famous for?

Chicago is famous for its architecture—skyscrapers like the Willis Tower and John Hancock Center dominate its skyline, and architectural boat tours chart the Chicago River. The Windy City is also known for its signature bites like deep-dish pizza, its world-class museums, dynamic and diverse neighborhoods, and views overlooking Lake Michigan.

...More
How can I spend a day in Chicago?

If you have just one day in Chicago, start at the Skydeck Chicago at the Willis Tower for panoramic city views. Stroll through the Loop to Millennium Park and pose near "The Bean" before exploring the Art Institute of Chicago. Be sure to try Chicago's famous deep-dish pizza before leaving.

...More
How can I have fun in Chicago?

For a fun-filled day in Chicago, visit the attractions of Navy Pier, embark on a sightseeing boat tour of Lake Michigan, or head to the 360 Chicago Observation Deck for aerial views. Alternatively, go on a Segway tour of the Lakefront—and even see a Cubs game at Wrigley Field.

...More
What is the number 1 attraction in Chicago?

Chicago's number-one attraction is Millennium Park. This relaxing green space, steps from Lake Michigan, is home to many famous public artworks, including Anish Kapoor's "Cloud Gate"—better known as "The Bean." Right next door is the Art Institute of Chicago, where you can continue your cultural immersion indoors.

...More
What is there to do in Chicago in the winter?

Chicago is known for its snowy winters. For a winter-wonderland experience, discover the ice rink in Millennium Park or hit the Soldier Field Sledding Hill. Then, warm up in a top-rated museum, like the Art Institute of Chicago or Field Museum. End the evening with a musical or comedy show.

...More
Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What are the top things to do in Chicago?
Q:
What are the top activities in Chicago?
Q:
What are the top things to do near Chicago?
A:
Check out things to do near Chicago:
Q:
What do I need to know before visiting Chicago?