7 Must-See Sites in Chicago City
Chicago is a city of skyscrapers. It represents a financial, cultural, sport, and tourism center of America. Amount of tourists that visit Chicago per year is around 50 million people.
Sitting on the shore of Lake Michigan, Chicago city got its city status on March 4th, 1837. In the next 15 years, 300.000 people called this “windy city” their home.
Nowadays, Chicago is a metropolis, a city that attracts tourists from all spheres of interest, and that is now home for 2.7 million people.
It is a sort of a phoenix, rising from the ashes, kind a story. One third of Chicago burned in a major fire in 1871, with thousands of buildings destroyed, miles and miles of melted road, and an estimate of 300 casualties.
However, the city rose and rebuilt, with help from other towns in the USA, proving that the strength lies in numbers.
Fun fact for you – O’Leary property, place where the great fire originated, is now the location of Chicago’s fire department training facility.
Now that you are introduced to a part of Chicago’s complicated history and what it had to overcome, we can get into the places that make it so fantastic today.
With over 200 theaters, 200 art galleries, 552 parks and 8.000 restaurants this is a city that has no dull moments.
The Michigan Lake Navy Pier is one of the most visited places in Chicago. It has a large number of boardwalks, parks, gardens and of course shops and restaurants, perfect for relaxing walks on a lovely afternoon.
Many festivals have been held here through the years, packed with people and families with children. Opened for public in 1916, Navy Pier can be viewed from one of the many tourist cruisers available.
The place is literally made for the stars. Adler Planetarium is one of Chicago’s cultural gems, it’s been around since 1930s and it is America’s first planetarium.
Located in the tip of Northerly Island of Lake Michigan, Adler Planetarium stuns with beauty. What you can see here are cutting edge science exhibits, wondrous artifacts and something new to do and discover every time you visit. Besides that, it is also a popular wedding venue that promises a day to remember.
Tower or as it once was called, and some still call it that – The Sears Tower, opened in 1973 reaching 1.730 feet in height, that’s 527 meters for you metric fans. This tower is a remarkable blend of business, culture, and tourism, located in the center of downtown Chicago.
Inside the building, there are office spaces for many world-renowned companies but the selling point is the very top of it. With 110 floors, Willis Tower is visited daily, and tourists wait in lines to get a peek through the glass floor, having all of Chicago precisely under their feet.
From beluga whales and snails to turtles and those scary tarantulas, there are 32.500 aquatic animal species, from both salt and freshwater.
Take a walk around the Shed aquarium, through a breathtaking underwater tunnel while sharks swim above your head. This is the place where you can see dolphins, penguins, whales, and seals face to face, touch a sea star, and spend the entire day in great company.
Millennium Park is Chicago’s largest green area that, besides walking and lounging spaces, has architectural marvels and outdoor artwork installations that are absolutely unique.
The park opened in 2004, with a bit of a delay since it was meant to celebrate the entrance into the new millennium. This is the home to the massive Cloud Gate sculpture, also known as the Bean, in which you can see your reflection as well as reflections of surrounding buildings. In the summertime, this is the place where you can often see a concert or a film screening.
One more thing that demands to be seen in Millennium Park is the Crown Fountain. It is an interactive sculpture/fountain, consisting of two 50 feet “towers” actually facing each other, as the screens on the towers show different human faces.
This museum is exceptional in every way. It is one of the oldest and the largest art museum in the United States of America. The Institute was founded in 1879 and is located in the midst of Grant Park.
If you are coming straight from the airport there are many ways to go from O’Hare airport to downtown Chicago, one thing we have to mention is to be aware of the popularity of this museum, and expect a lot of people.
If you are going in a car, plan ahead because parking in downtown is very pricey, so maybe opt for an advance reservation at the Grant Parking Garage.
The museum is filled with valuable works of art created by names such as Van Gogh, Monet, Picasso, Rivera, Matisse, and Warhol – all MVP’s of art history.
Visiting allows you to see art throughout the ages and cultures; some of the current exhibits represent the Golden Age of Rembrandt, School of Bauhaus and its effect on Chicago city an Andy Warhol’s cinematic achievements. Take a stroll in time at Chicago’s Institute of Art
7. Chicago’s Night Life
Let’s relax a little bit. After researching must see sites in Chicago let’s check some nigh life places.
Seventh and last, a must-see item on our list, is not exactly one place per se, but we can group all of them under the name – Chicago’s nightlife.
There is no music genre that you won’t find in this city, from hip-hop to rock, electronic, and of course jazz and blues. Each year big blues festival is organized right next to Lake Michigan, followed by a jazz fest in early September. Both are free to the public, no tickets or any charges.
You can visit one of the many spots that do standup comedy nights like Zanies, Comedy Sportz, or The Second City. And best for last, Chicago city has some of the best beer breweries for all tastes, if you’re a beer lover be sure to check out the pub Forbidden Root in West Town, Goose Island on Fulton St. and the county’s only Michelin starred brewpub Band of Bohemia.
Check out our article about 6 ways to get around Chicago.