Best & Fun Things To Do + Places To Visit In Chicago, Illinois. #Top Attractions

Spread the love!

Have you made up your mind to travel to Chicago, Illinois? Check out the list of the best things to do in Chicago, Illinois, and places to go in Chicago, Illinois, below. Wondrous Drifter is an ambitious Web 3.0 travel startup with the potential to revolutionize the market.

Adler Planetarium

Adler Planetarium Chicago
Adler Planetarium Chicago / Michael Lehet / Flickr

Go and see the Alder Planetarium and explore space for those space lovers and explorers.

Located in the lakeshore of Chicago, a fun fact is that this is the first planetarium in the Western Hemisphere.

The Adler Planetarium has been dedicated to meaningful connections to people about the universe back over a century.

It conducts various educational or fun programs for youngsters, families, and other visitors.

If you haven’t gone to the Adler Planetarium’s dark, expect to see a massive granite exterior that is stunning both inside and out.

This planetarium has three theaters with daily space performances and exhibitions to educate people and explore the universe.

Planetarium also has space shuttles with a collection ranging from meteorites to vintage NASA metal space shuttles.

If you want to enjoy it further, watch many other programs like the Destination Solar System, Skywatch Live, and more to learn about our universe.

This place will make you go like to infinity and beyond to learn how big our universe is.

Address: 1300 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60605, United States

Art Institute of Chicago

Art Institute of Chicago
Art Institute of Chicago / Mobilus In Mobili / Flickr

A great place to start and explore the city’s iconic artworks is the Art Institute of Chicago.

Find the pair of large bronze lions protecting the main door in downtown Chicago. You will find the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago’s number one museum to visit.

The Art Institute of Chicago has the world’s most extensive collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings outside the Louvre.

They have exhibits and artifacts from numerous cultures.

It boasts 300,000 paintings, portraits, sculptures, ceramics, fabrics, photos, and textiles, including world-renowned masterpieces and art from Sao Paulo to Shanghai.

You will find other unique displays such as the behind painted panels that are hand-stitched Japanese kimonos and 1000 AD European crusader weapons.

You’ll find something amusing as you walk around its fun-filled corridors.

Check the museum highlights: Grant Wood’s American Gothic and Pablo Picasso’s The Old Guitarist if you have something amusing.

This art institute is a place of art and fun you must see in Chicago.

Address: 111 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603, United States

Centennial Wheel

Centennial Wheel Chicago
Centennial Wheel Chicago / Arvell Dorsey Jr. / Flickr

The Centennial Wheel is one of the top attractions in Illinois.

If you want a bird’s eye view of Chicago, ride the Centennial Wheel.

Located at the Navy Pier in Chicago, this Ferris wheel is an iconic part of Chicago’s cityscape, culture, and landmark.

They built the Ferris wheel with over 2,500 Edison incandescent lights lighted the 264-foot-tall wheel as a means rival Paris’ new Eiffel Tower in terms of height.

This big Ferris wheel was built in 1893 and was named after the designer and one who brought up the idea to create this iconic ride, George Ferris Jr.

During that time, there was a hint of doubt and criticism by many that were against building the gigantic metal wheel for the Chicago World’s Fair.

However, the Centennial Wheel became one of Chicago’s most famous tourist attractions as time passed. Ferris wheels are standard on boardwalks and in amusement parks.

It now has modern safety features and luxurious amenities, including a VIP gondola with soft seats and a glass-bottomed floor perfect for anyone on a date or family vacation.

To enjoy the beautiful skylines of Chicago, this is a Ferris wheel you have to hop in.

Address: 600 E Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60611, United States

Considering a trip to Illinois? Discover our travel guides to Aurora and Naperville. For the best travel experience, check out the awesome things to do in Aurora, Illinois, and the best things to do in Naperville, Illinois.

Chicago History Museum

Chicago History Museum Chicago
Chicago History Museum Chicago / Anthony Marengo / Flickr

The Chicago History Museum is where to go if you want to learn everything about the city’s history.

In 1856, it was when The Chicago History Museum eventually started teachings, exploring, and showcasing the history of Chicago.

From 1871, during the Great Chicago Fire, it has various topics to the first railroads made in 1836 Chicago.

It has over 22 million artifacts, interactive programming, and exhibitions for anyone curious about Chicago.

There are other things on display during the time of Prohibition, the Civil War, and the Women’s Suffrage Movement.

Other things to keep guests entertained include movies, moving trains, realistic fires, and giant Chicago-style hotdog climbing towers for kids.

However, Abraham Lincoln is prominently displayed in the political exhibits of this museum because he spent much of his life in Chicago.

This museum is a must-visit to know all about Chicago.

Address: 1601 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614, United States

Chicago Lakefront Trail

Chicago Lakefront Trail Chicago
Chicago Lakefront Trail Chicago / Tom Shockey / Flickr

The Chicago Lakefront Trail has a perfect view to see Chicago’s surrounding waters while taking a morning stroll.

This 18-mile Lakefront Trail is along Lake Michigan’s eastern shoreline and is a terrific place to enjoy outdoor nature.

The trail connects to Chicago’s four lakefront parks, beaches, and cultural institutions.

Walking around the Chicago Lakefront Trail, explore Chicago’s beaches, hills, groves, footpaths, and pedestrian bridges through well-kept parks and overgrown wetlands.

If you like riding skates, skate parks are available to practice skating tricks like ollies and kickflips.

Other people do things activities that include walking, running, and rollerblading.

It is enjoyable and serves as a natural compass for your travel due to the numerous tourist places situated along the routes.

It has many other spots to enjoy, such as the nearby ports, museums, clock towers, and stadiums.

This trail is worth the stroll around to enjoy Chicago’s outdoor life.

Address: 540 N Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60611, United States

Considering a trip to Illinois? Use our travel guides to see and do more on Joliet and Springfield! Do and see more exciting things to do in Joliet, Illinois, and the best things to do in Springfield, Illinois!

Chicago Theatre

Chicago Theatre
Chicago Theatre / jphilipg / Flickr

The Chicago Theatre is one of the best things to do in  Illinois.

The Chicago Theater is where to go to experience superb Broadway performances in Chicago.

It is an iconic spot that sits in the city’s heart. Chicago’s vibrant live theatrical culture is well-known.

It’s a large complex built to entertain and amaze, but the tent alone is worth the trip.

Expect it as an active theater. It hosts plays, musicals, orchestras, magic shows, comics, and motivational speakers.

Suppose you have been to Chicago more frequently. In that case, the vintage-style “CHICAGO” sign may look familiar to you from films, TV shows, and postcards when passing by this theater. But this theater is more than its sign.

They built this building in 1921 with stunning architecture and pricey, old-fashioned furnishings.

Its entry hall, luxurious balconies, ceilings feature chandeliers, and gilded murals will transport you back to a time of great art and culture in Chicago.

Come by the Chicago Theater if you are looking for a perfect venue to watch to your heart’s content.

Address: 175 N State St, Chicago, IL 60601, United States

Garden of the Phoenix

Garden of the Phoenix
Garden of the Phoenix / William Murphy / Flickr

Is there a Japanese Garden somewhere in the streets of Chicago?


The Garden of the Phoenix is both stunning and has a unique history.

It is called either the Phoenix Garden or the Osaka Garden. 

This garden is known as a means of mutual respect and friendship between Japan and the US 120 years ago. 

One iconic figure in this garden is the Ho-o-den or the Phoenix temple that the Japanese built at Jackson Park’s Wooded Island for the 1893 World Columbian Exposition. 

This temple introduced Japanese art and was a fair gift to the Americans in Chicago.

Among the attractive things about this Japanese garden are the cherry blossoms, trees, and flowers around the Garden of the Phoenix. 

It is also suitable for hosting events like the annual cherry blossom festival as a beautiful landmark.

The Gardens of the Phoenix is a sight to behold for its stunning nature.

Address: 6300 S Cornell Ave, Chicago, IL 60637, United States

Lincoln Park Zoo

Lincoln Park Zoo Chicago
Lincoln Park Zoo Chicago / spurekar / Flickr

The Lincoln Park Zoo is a nature boardwalk to enjoy the sight of natural wildlife and animals.

This park zoo is a well-known staple in Chicago, and its name can sometimes be called the “Chicago Zoo.”

The zoo focuses on caring for animals, animal conservation, and sharing the zoo with the public as a worldwide wildlife community.

One fun fact is that the Lincoln Park Zoo is one of the continent’s oldest zoos.

They built the zoo in 1868 as a 53-acre landscaped zoo, and parts of its original structures remain in use today.

It has also become one of the greatest animal zoos in Illinois with various animals, such as seeing lions, rhinos, monkeys, even penguins, and many other animals.

If you are into animals, people visiting the zoo can get a close and personal experience with the animals by doing special feeding and petting activities alongside professional experts.

It is one of the most fun tourist destinations in Chicago if you want to see any of your favorite animals.

Address: 2001 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614, United States

Merchandise Mart

Merchandise Mart Chicago
Merchandise Mart Chicago / R Boed / Flickr

Are you searching for a place to shop?

If yes, expect to look blown away if you see how big the Merchandise Mart is in Chicago.

Merchandise Mart or MART is among the world’s leading commercial buildings in the United States with wholesale design hubs and Chicago’s top international business destination. 

This spot is not your typical place to shop, for its size is over four million square feet, with a warehouse, department store, and skyscraper all in one.

It occupies two city blocks with over 25 stories suitable to accommodate around ten million visitors annually. 

Merchandise Mart is a commercial center with a lot to offer, such as a food court, public retailers, show spaces, and other services.

Besides the many spots and shopping districts, people can watch and enjoy the market hosts art shows, trade shows, book signings, fitness classes, and other activities from time to time.

Be sure to come by, as the MART has a lot in store for you to shop around.

Address: 222 W Merchandise Mart Plaza, Chicago, IL 60654, United States

Millennium Park

Millennium Park Chicago
Millennium Park Chicago / swimfinfan / Flickr

The Millennium Park is one of the best places to visit in  Illinois.

Visiting Millennium Park is something you cannot miss in Chicago, as it embodies the Chicago experience.

The Millenium Park is an icon of beauty and culture in Chicago. 

Check out the “Cloud Gate,” the bean-shaped metal sculpture that symbolizes Chicago and anchors it.

Aside from the bean, you may know its ice rink from countless winter holiday movies or its vast video-playing water fountain, a favorite selfie spot.

Planning your visit when coming to this park and during events is advisable. 

The park has various events and exhibits, being a host that is sure it pleases and entertains you and your family.

If you love the sight of mother nature, go to the park’s 3.5-acre urban sanctuary and take a moment to look at this stunning scenery.

Other activities are involved in the Millenium Park, such as private events, weddings, art space programs, volunteer activities, theater, gallery, bike station, and many other activities.

When in doubt about what to do in Chicago, visit Millenium Park.

Address: 201 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60602, United States

Morton Arboretum

Morton Arboretum Chicago
Morton Arboretum Chicago / Derek Kaczmarczyk / Flickr

The Morton Arboretum has a stunning nature view for anyone who loves outdoor nature.

The Morton Arboretum is among Chicago’s most attractive sights to visit and escape the noise and traffic.

This iconic spot of nature was founded in 1992 by Joy Morton, who envisioned this place to be a great outdoor museum of trees.

Arboretum does scientific research on tree health and tree improvement by gathering and exhibiting trees for study and pleasure on the grounds.

They even organize nature-related events year-round for people of all ages and interests. As such, they were able to let people may enjoy, learn about, plant, and protect trees.

It may be far from the buildings of Chicago, but it is full of Illinois’ natural beauty, making it beautiful scenery.

There’s more to see than oak woods and conifer exhibits. It has other places to visit, such as gardens, flower collections, and beautiful wildlife, including endemic.

They provide tour walks, trams, and troll hunts even for kids to enjoy while staying at the state’s surrounding views.

The Arboretum has more than just trees that meets the eye.

Address: 4100 IL-53, Lisle, IL 60532, United States

Museum of Science and Industry

Museum of Science and Industry Chicago
Museum of Science and Industry Chicago / Allison Meier / Flickr

With a 400,000-square-foot building, the Museum of Science and Industry will give you an information overload about science and industry.

Julius Rosenwald founded this museum in 1933 after seeing his child captivated by a museum exhibit.

The Museum of Science and Industry, otherwise known as MSI, is now the Western Hemisphere’s largest scientific museum, with over 180 million visitors coming from time to time.

It provides exhibitions or activities to educate people, such as its Science Initiative, which offers children to partake in programs for teachers, schools, families, and communities. 

Here, you can learn about the world-changing concepts from the Industrial Revolution until today.

It has a wide range of activities and topics to cover and keep you busy such as if you are a person into astrophysics or zoology.

Visit the best and most informative place to learn about the science and industry here in Chicago.

Address: 5700 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60637, United States

Navy Pier

Navy Pier Chicago
Navy Pier Chicago / Joe Passe / Flickr

Chicago has a waterfront destination to which you have to go, the Navy Pier.

If you are searching for something fun near the waterfront, the Navy Pier has lots to offer to keep your day busy.

You may spend a day wandering, eating street food, listening to buskers, and watching people on the river.

This iconic spot spots a series of attractions, events, free public activities, attractions, culture, dining, and shopping in Chicago.

 It’s a fun spot for visitors, residents, families, and friends.

It is connected to Lake Michigan like an overgrown promenade and has stores, restaurants, galleries, museums, and movie theaters.

If you want a fun-thrilling ride, there are rides nearby for you to come and hop in, such as the tower drops, wave swingers, and carousel music. Though lookout for the very first Ferris wheel, the Centennial Wheel.

For even more fun, people can look around and explore the funhouse mazes and flower gardens as among Navy Pier’s iconic attractions.

The Navy Pier is a must-go-to experience the Chicagoan fun experience near the waterfront.

Address: 600 E Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60611, United States

North Avenue Beach

North Avenue Beach Chicago
North Avenue Beach Chicago / Ken Lund / Flickr

Take a visit to North Avenue Beach to enjoy the Chicago beach experience.

North Avenue Beach isn’t the only place in Chicago where you can enjoy sand and waves, but it is one of the best.

It has more than 22,000 square feet of space, and when you’re not enjoying one of its many attractions, you can get a great view of the lake.

Anyone can do outdoor activities such as swimming, boating, rent a bike, kayak, paddleboard, jet ski, water tube, morning yoga class, or an evening volleyball game.

If you prefer to stay indoors, they have a big beach house resembling a blue-and-white ocean liner for anyone who does not like the outside.

If you are hungry, you can order a hot dog on a stick and go for a walk along North Avenue Beach.

Be aware that the beach has strict rules, particularly regarding safety, and avoid bringing along any bad vices such as drinking and smoking.

It’s a beach worth taking your summer vacation in Chicago.

Address: 1600 N Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60613, United States

Shedd Aquarium

Shedd Aquarium Chicago
Shedd Aquarium Chicago / Josh Hallett / Flickr

The Shedd Aquarium has some of the largest aquariums you have to see for yourself if you are into marine wildlife.

It is involved in aquatic animal rescue and rehabilitation projects worldwide and inspires compassion, curiosity, and conservation.

They protect endangered species and their ecosystems and rescue and rehabilitate wildlife in need alongside local and global partners.

The Shedd Aquarium has more than 35,000 sea creatures such as sea otters, seahorses, beluga whales, bluegills, reef sharks, stingrays, lake sturgeons, and white-sided dolphins. 

Besides just sea creatures, the Shedd showcases other animals such as birds, beetles, snakes, amphibians, and other creatures.

If you want more, shows such as the Wild Reef and the Amazon Rising show aspects of the wilderness nature of the deep sea.

The aquarium features other things like feeding activities, a movie theater, tours, virtual reality, and animal interactions.

Visit this aquarium, and it might change your mind about animals.

Address: 1200 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60605, United States

Shoreline Sightseeing

Shoreline Sightseeing Chicago
Shoreline Sightseeing Chicago / Chris Rycroft / Flickr

Are you looking for a place to sightsee in Chicago?

You can ride a boat at the tour guide company!

If you are still struggling to look around on land, ride the Shoreline Sightseeing as it leads the way around the lakes and river of Chicago.

It has cutting-edge tour boats and experts to help guide its guest.

It has options of rides to choose from skyline lake tours, sunset cruises, and fireworks cruises in the summer. 

You can choose specific departure timings to witness a sunrise or sunset over the ocean.

On the 4th of July and St. Patrick’s Day, you have to take the chance and ride their themed cruises if you want your boating experience to include wine sampling and drinking beer.

With so many options for lake and river adventures, It has a tour for its guest to sightsee. 

Other amenities include snacks, bathrooms, beverages, and an open view of the sea.

So you better hop in a ride along the Shoreline Sightseeing to set sail and set around Chicago.

Address: 600 E Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60611, United States


Riverwalk Chicago
Riverwalk Chicago / ajay_suresh / Flickr

As the name implies, It is a place where you have a walking exercise around Chicago’s rivers.

Located on the South bank near the Chicago River, the Riverwalk is a pedestrian trail that goes to the Chicago River over 1.25 miles long.

The Riverwalk is long enough to accommodate a diverse range of events and activities for guests.

Outdoor enthusiasts can hire a bike or a kayak or join a self-propelled boat excursion.

If you crave some Chicagoan food, you can eat at numerous cafés, bakeries, restaurants, and other eateries nearby the Chicago borders of the sea.

Souvenirs may be found everywhere, from upscale stores to tacky street carts if you love shopping around the streets.

If you are looking for entertainment, check out the nearby theaters and museums that will appeal if you are a culture seeker.

Do you have a special someone with you? If so, any couples in Chicago can take the chance to stroll under the starlight at night. At the same time, families can dine in grassy meadows or on stone steps overlooking the river.

A stroll down Chicago’s Riverwalk is well worth the effort.

Address: Chicago Riverwalk, Chicago, IL 60601, United States

Wabash Arts Corridor

Wabash Arts Corridor Chicago
Wabash Arts Corridor Chicago / Raed Mansour / Flickr

To explore the works of art in Chicago, go and look around the Wabash Art Corridor.

This art corridor is known as the living urban canvas of Chicago to see the city’s visual, performing, and media arts. 

This iconic spot has been a major local attraction that attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors annually and garners international attention, free and open to the public.

It stretches from Van Buren to Roosevelt, between Michigan and State.

It is an art community that began in 2013 with a group of Columbia College Chicago students who wanted to bring their creativity outside the classroom.

For anyone interested, the Wabasha Art Corridor offers lessons or programs to students, curators, artists, cultural groups, academic institutions, and even local companies.

Any local or tourist who comes here shall get immersed in how they transformed an urban area of Chicago into an artist-reclaimed public space to see.

This art corridor is a must-visit for anyone wanting to see Chicago’s outdoor works of art.

Address: 635 S Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60605, United States

Willis Tower

Willis Tower Chicago
Willis Tower Chicago / Harshil Shah / Flickr

Go up the skyscraper of Willis Tower to have a beautiful surrounding view of Chicago.

Located at the heart of downtown Chicago, the Willis Tower is the future of work and recreation in Chicago. 

The 110-story structure is one of the highest globally and the second tallest in North America, making it hard to miss in the city’s skyline. 

It’s a downtown urban location with 110 stories high that offers the best living and work experiences.

The Willis Tower, previously the Sears Tower, is now tall, over 1,729 feet.

The construction of taller structures in Dubai and Tokyo has pushed it down the list.

Over a mile-long horizon, you see Chicago’s streets, walkways, lakes, bridges, and clouds.

The Skydeck is a high-rise platform with glass sides and floors.

The Skydeck Ledge’s translucent boxes allow you to walk on air from alarming heights.

The Willis Tower is worth the trip to have the best view of Chicago.

Address: 233 S Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60606, United States

Wrigley Field

Wrigley Field Chicago, Illinois / Michael Lehet / Flickr

Wrigley Fields has some of the most popular and iconic sports that you have to see in Chicago. 

The Wrigley Fields is one of the oldest stadiums in Illinois. 

The stadium is designed structurally with old-fashioned floodlights and hand-turned scoreboards with peeling paint.

Its ivy-covered outfield wall has eaten numerous fly balls over the years.

Rooftop sports viewing is popular to view the big stadium as players play and compete against one another.

Wrigley Field, established in 1914, has been where the Chicago Cubs played for almost a century. It hosts various sports such as baseball, football, soccer, hockey, and concerts.

The field’s location in a residential neighborhood is also noteworthy. Attendees can park in private driveways since there are no parking lots.

To anyone into baseball, this is the place to go in Chicago as it offers a retro baseball atmosphere, from the old red sign above the front door to the peanuts and hotdogs in the concession booths.

To witness a particular sport you are into, you must visit the Wrigley Field to have that Chicagoan experience.

Address: 1060 W Addison St, Chicago, IL 60613, United States

Volunteer At Animal Shelters

Animal Shelters in Chicago, Illinois
Animal Shelters in Chicago, Illinois

Animal shelters need your help! There are between 4,000 and 6,000 shelters all over the United States. Every year, 8–10 million dogs and cats end up in shelters. These shelters are in charge of taking care of them temporarily. These animals come to the shelter when they are found wandering around or when their owners no longer want them. About 4 to 6 million are put down every year because there aren’t enough homes or people willing to adopt them.

You know that nice, satisfying feeling you get when you do something unselfish to make someone’s day? Helping a sick or depressed shelter animal will get you this.

If you don’t have much time to help but still want to, you could give your old towels and bedding to rescue groups or the humane society. The animals at the shelter always need soft things to sleep on. If your kids have outgrown their old baby blankets, a puppy or kitten might feel safe and secure. Rescue groups and humane societies always need dog and cat food, kitty litter, leashes, collars, and toys.

Volunteering at a local animal shelter and giving back to the community is one of the most fulfilling things you can do. Get started with this list of animal shelters in Chicago, Illinois.

Traveling and having fun in the USA? You have to check out this page – the best states to visit in USA for the most fun and unusual travel ideas.

Still undecided on visiting Chicago, Illinois? Click here for why visit Chicago, Illinois, at least once in your lifetime.

Spread the love!

Scroll to Top