The United States is more than just the more well-known cities of New York, Los Angeles, and Nashville; there are a slew of other fun US cities that are often overlooked when planning a trip to the country. This is why I wanted to share some of the best things to do in Chicago; it’s a city with so much to offer, and it’s also a lot of fun!
Now, I understand that narrowing down a few key cities to visit in the United States, especially if you’re short on vacation time, can be difficult. Because of the country’s sheer size and diversity, one end of the country feels very different from the other. This is why I’d like to share a few key recommendations for the best things to do in Chicago.
Here’s a list of all the fun things to do in Chicago.
The Chicago Botanic Garden
The Chicago Botanic Garden, located in Glencoe, is home to 27 gardens on 385 acres, as well as a new 26,700-square-foot learning centre. Children will enjoy climbing the roly-poly hills in the Nature Play Garden, running on the grassy Esplanade, and marching across the Japanese Garden’s arched bridges.
Kohl Children’s Museum is a museum dedicated to children.
Although this museum is 30 minutes outside of the Loop, it is worth mentioning because of the 17 permanent exhibits that will pique your child’s interest. The popular pet vet clinic, the waterworks station, and a lifelike simulated Whole Foods Market are all worth seeing.
In the midst of the twinkling lights, venture out.
Don’t worry if your neighborhood’s holiday decorations aren’t up to par this year. The celebrated Lincoln Park Zoo Lights will bathe its lush landscape in a multicoloured light bath until January 2, the Morton Arboretum’s Illuminate features 50 acres of illuminated trees inside their serene, snow-dusted paradise, the Botanic Garden’s Lightscape guides guests through glittering trails, the Amaze Light Festival Festival in Rosemont boasts a lively light show, and don’t forget about the majestic Magnificent Mile, where you can marvel at decorated glowing downtown Chicago buildings.
A plaza near the Wrigley Field marquee has become a popular gathering spot for families. There will be an ice rink, holiday movie screenings, and wreath-making workshops this winter season. Do you want to take a break from the cold and warm up inside? Jeni’s ice cream shop is just around the corner.
Pay a visit to a renowned cultural institution.
With museums reopening, you can go full Ferris Bueller at the Art Institute, ogling Monets or hanging out with Sue at the Field Museum, where over 300 artefacts, including costumes, comics, and interactive displays, should keep you occupied until C2E2 returns. For more unusual options, check out the International Museum of Surgical Sciences, which is always creepy.
At the Willis Tower, take a walk along The Ledge.
The Willis Tower, formerly known as the Sears Tower (and still referred to as such), is another iconic skyscraper in downtown Chicago. This 108-story tall building is officially the tallest in Chicago, standing at 1,451 feet (442 m) and offering spectacular views from the top.
The observation deck in the Willis Tower, known as the Skydeck, includes The Ledge, a pretty scary glass ledge and box where you can stand to see the city below.
Vertigo sufferers, however, beware! The Ledge’s glass floors dangle off the side of the building, so the view might be worth missing.
The Chicago Architecture Center
The Chicago Architecture Center, which is located at the base of Mies van der Rohe’s 1970 Illinois Center office complex, offers a variety of children’s and family programming focused on the built environment. Prepare for an interactive 3D map of Chicago’s cityscape as well as controllable historical and cultural stories.
Reveal the Bean
If you enjoy modern art, the Cloud Gate is undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Chicago. Cloud Gate, also known as The Bean, is a beautiful and impressive reflective sculpture by Anish Kapoor, an Indian-born British artist.
Cloud Gate, which is located in Millennium Park, is not only beautiful to look at, but it has also become a symbol of Chicago. Now, if you want to avoid the crowds, you’ll have to come early in the morning. However, the presence of a few other people does not detract from the overall experience, and it is well worth seeing at any time.
Learn more: Things to Do in San Diego