Things to do
ADLER PLANETARIUM

Adler Planetarium, America's first planetarium, opened in 1930. It houses three, full-size planetarium theatres, as well as 35,000 square feet of exhibits. Adler Planetarium also is home to the Center for Space Exploration, which opened in 2001 with the help of NASA. Be sure to visit the CyberSpace Learning Center (which provides daily updates from NASA) and the Space Visualization Laboratory. FUN FOR KIDS: Planet Explorers, a new exhibit in 2010,guides visitors aged 3-8 (and their parents) through the universe. 1300 South Lake Shore Dr. Chicago, IL 60605 (312) 922-STAR (7827)

 

THE ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO

The second-largest art museum in the United States, the Art Institute of Chicago houses one of the most widely recognized collections of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art. The Art Institute is home to more than 26,000 works representing significant artistic and cultural movements around the world, including original paintings by Monet, Manet and Renoir. 111 South Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60603 (312) 443-3600

 

BUCKINGHAM FOUNTAIN

Inspired by the famous Latona Fountain in Versailles, Buckingham Fountain runs from 8 a.m. - 11 p.m. daily from mid-April to mid-October. Fantastic light and music shows begin after dusk; the display runs for 20 minutes every hour on the hour, with the last show beginning at 10 p.m. Grant Park - Congress Parkway & amp; Columbus Dr. Chicago, IL 60605 (312) 742-7529 CHICAGO

 

HISTORY MUSEUM

Founded in 1856, the Chicago Historical Society runs both a research library and a fantastic museum representing Chicago's history and covering food, crime, transportation and everything in between. The museum recently underwent a $27.5 million renovation, with lots of new and exciting exhibits. 1601 North Clark St. Chicago, IL 60614 (312) 642-4600

 

CHICAGO SHAKESPEARE THEATRE

Located on Navy Pier, the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre was the winner of the Regional Theatre Tony Award. Housing two theatres - one with 500 seats on three levels, the other with 200 seats - the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre offers abridged Shakespearean plays and musicals for children and families, as well as full productions. 800 East Grand Ave. Chicago, IL 60611 (312) 595-5600

 

CHICAGO THEATRE

Home to the landmark, six-story red and yellow "C-H-I-C-A-G-O" sign, Chicago's original movie palace now has musical and stage performances year-round. To order tickets for events at the Chicago Theatre, contact Ticketmaster at (800) 745- 3000. 175 North State St. Chicago, IL 60601 (312) 462-6300 DONALD E.

 

STEPHENS MUSEUM OF HUMMELS

Rosemont is home to the largest public display of M.I. Hummel figurines in the world, with more than 1,000 Hummels and ANRI wood carvings on display at the Donald E. Stephens Museum. Admission is free; call ahead to schedule a viewing time. 9511 Higgins Rd. Rosemont, IL 60018 (847) 692-4000

 

FIELD MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY

With over 21 million specimens in its collection, the Field Museum has many unforgettable exhibits. One of the highlights is "Sue," the bestpreserved and most-intact Tyrannosaurus Rex in the world. The "Evolving Planet" exhibit explores the history and evolution of life on earth over four billion years. In the DNA Discovery Center, patrons can watch scientists extract DNA from multiple organisms. 1400 South Lake Shore Dr. Chicago, IL 60605 (312) 922-9410

 

FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT HOME AND STUDIO

Frank Lloyd Wright, considered by some to be the greatest American architect, lived and worked in this house for the first 20 years of his illustrious career. The Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio was recognized by the American Institute of Architects with a prestigious National Honor after the completion of a $3 million+ restoration effort that converted Wright's historic home into a museum. The house can only be accessed via guided tour, and it is highly recommended that tickets be purchased in advance, as they sell out quickly. A combination ticket includes a guided tour of the Frank Lloyd Wright Historic District, as well as his home and studio. 951 Chicago Ave. Oak Park, IL 60302 (312) 994-4000 (800) 514-3849 (Ticket Sales)

 

FULTON MARKET

Fulton Market, a district originally known as a fish market, is home to upscale dining, art galleries, boutiques and more. Allow yourself time to explore here - Fulton Market is best saved for a long weekend walk. Fulton Market Street (West Loop) GARFIELD PARK CONSERVATORY The Garfield Park Conservatory is perfect for families looking for an educational experience as well as those wanting a quiet escape. Occupying approximately 4.5 acres, both indoors and out, it houses specimens from around the world in six greenhouses and outdoor gardens. The conservatory is open 365 days a year; admission is free. 300 North Central Park Ave. Chicago, IL 60624 (312) 746-5100

 

GRACELAND CEMETERY AND CREMATORIUM

The park-like Graceland Cemetery is known as the "Cemetery of Architects," both for its amazing architecture and the people buried there. Open daily from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Graceland offers free, self-guided tours. If you would like an interactive experience, both the Chicago Architecture Foundation and the Chicago History Museum offer two-hour walking tours. The Chicago Architecture Foundation can be reached at (312) 922-8687, and a tour with the Chicago History Museum can be scheduled by calling (312) 640-4600. 4001 North Clark St. Chicago, IL 60613 (773) 525-1105

 

JOHN HANCOCK OBSERVATORY

Located on the 94th floor of the John Hancock Building (directly above the Magnificent Mile), the John Hancock Observatory has Chicago's only open-air skywalk. The Observatory offers 360-degree views stretching across four states - Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin and Illinois. The plentiful, interactive telescopes allow full views, even on cloudy days. 875 North Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60611 (888) 875-VIEW (8439)

 

LINCOLN PARK

Spanning over 1,200 acres and seven neighborhoods, there is never a dull moment in Lincoln Park. Facing Lake Michigan, it is home to both the Lincoln Park Zoo and the Chicago History Museum, as well as seven public beaches and numerous other recreational facilities. For those interested in horticulture, the Lincoln Park Conservatory features three acres of gardens. Lincoln Park also has a large sampling of public art, including statues of Benjamin Franklin, Hans Christian Andersen, Alexander Hamilton, William Shakespeare and August Saint-Gaudens' famous "Standing Lincoln."

 

LINCOLN PARK ZOO

Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo is one of the country's oldest zoos (founded in 1868), as well as one of its last free-admission cultural institutions. There are, however, some specialty attractions located within the zoo that require a small fee. The zoo is open 365 days a year and is home to over 1,200 animals. 2001 North Clark St. Chicago, IL 60614 (312) 742-2000

 

MAGNIFICENT MILE

The Magnificent Mile has over 3.1 million square feet of retail space, 460 stores, 275 restaurants, 51 hotels, two unique museums and a variety of sightseeing opportunities. Stretching from the Chicago River to Oak Street, it is considered one of the country's greatest avenues. INTERESTING FACT: Five of the 85 tallest buildings in the world are located on the Magnificent Mile, as are 5 of the 10 tallest buildings in Chicago. North Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60611

 

MARINA CITY

Located directly across from the Loop, the corncob-like towers of Marina City are an integral part of Chicago's skyline. These mixed-use high-rises are home to residences and businesses. For those who want a chance to check out the unique architecture (all the living spaces are free of 90-degree angles), Marina City has four restaurants, a House of Blues concert hall, two bars, a hotel and a small boat marina within one city block. 300 North State Street Chicago, IL 60610

 

MERCHANDISE MART

When the Merchandise Mart was built by the Marshall Field family, it was the largest building in the world, spanning two city blocks and rising 25 stories. Specializing in home furnishings, the Merchandise Mart attracts 20,000 visitors a day. Many showrooms are open only to wholesalers; the first two levels, however, are open to the public. 222 Merchandise Mart Plaza Chicago, IL 60654 (312) 527-4141

 

MILLENNIUM PARK

Millennium Park sits atop a parking garage and Millennium Station, earning it the title of the world's largest rooftop garden. This 24.5-acre space features the work of world-renowned architects, planners, artists and designers. Admission is free, and the park is open daily from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. 201 E. Randolph St. Chicago, IL 60602 (312) 742-1168

 

MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART

One of the world's largest contem - porary art museums (featuring work from 1945 to the present), the Museum of Contemporary Art also has a terraced sculpture garden with a view of Lake Michigan and a 300-seat theatre. The restaurant houses Puck's at the MCA, a contemporary American Wolfgang Puck concept that receives consistently good reviews. 220 East Chicago Ave. Chicago, IL 60611 (312) 280-2660

 

MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY PHOTOGRAPHY

Free and open to the public, the Museum of Contemporary Photography features regularly changing exhibits. The museum is the only institution in the United States that focuses solely on 20th- and 21st-century photography, and the permanent collection houses works by Ansel Adams, Irving Penn and many more. 600 South Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60605 (312) 663-5554

 

MUSEUM OF SCIENCE AND INDUSTRY

The largest science museum in the Western Hemisphere houses more than 800 exhibits in 350,000 square feet of space. The Museum of Science and Industry has both interactive and traditional exhibits, including a fully operational coal mine and a German submarine captured during World War II. 5700 South Lake Shore Dr. Chicago, IL 60637 (773) 684-1414

 

NATIONAL VIETNAM VETERANS ART MUSEUM

The National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum is the only museum focused on war from an artistic perspective. It was founded to help the public understand the impact of war on the human psyche. Immediately upon entering, one will see 58,226 dog tags hanging from the ceiling, representing the soldiers killed in the Vietnam War. The works in this museum are haunting, angry, dark, extremely powerful and unforgettable. 4041 N. Milwaukee Ave. Chicago, IL 60641 (312) 326-0270

 

NAVY PIER

Navy Pier, a 3,300-foot-long pier on the shoreline of Lake Michigan, offers weeks' worth of entertainment in one convenient location. It features a 50,000-square-foot Children's Museum; 40,000 square feet of retail shops and restaurants; 32,000 square feet of botanical gardens; theatres; an amusement area (featuring a 150-foot-tall Ferris wheel modeled after the first-ever Ferris wheel built for the Columbian Exposition); and much, much more. Stop here for a day that everyone in the family will be sure to enjoy! 600 East Grand Ave. Chicago, IL 60611 (312) 595-PIER

 

NORTH AVENUE BEACH

Chicago's most popular beach, North Avenue Beach is easily accessible via public transportation. It provides a magnificent view of the Chicago skyline, as well as ample peoplewatching. On August 17 and 18, North Avenue Beach will be the focal point of the Chicago Air and Water Show, an event that draws more than a million spectators daily. 1600 North Lake Shore Dr. Chicago, IL 60611 (312) 747-0832

 

OAK STREET BEACH

Known as the best beach in Chicago, Oak Street Beach boasts beautiful views of the city skyline in a tropical setting. Located just off Michigan Avenue, Oak Street Beach is home to palm trees, sand volleyball, a chess pavilion and the Oak Street Beachstro, which serves delicious and reasonably priced drinks and fare. 1000 North Lake Shore Dr. Chicago, IL 60611 (312) 742-5121

 

ORIENTAL INSTITUTE MUSEUM

The Oriental Institute Museum of the University of Chicago is the premier museum and research organization for the history, art and archaeology of the ancient Near East. The museum displays objects (recovered through Oriental Institute excavations) devoted to ancient Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Turkey, Nubia, Persia, Mesopotamia, Syria, Anatolia and the ancient site of Megiddo, as well as a rotating special exhibit. Admission to the museum is free, but visitors are encouraged to leave a donation. 1155 East 58th St. (University of Chicago Campus) Chicago, IL 60637 (773) 702-9514

 

OZ PARK

Oz Park was named in honor of L. Frank Baum, famous Lincoln Park resident and author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Park visitors will be greeted by statues of the Tin Man, Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion, Dorothy and, of course, Toto. Dorothy's Playlot houses plenty of playground equipment for kids to explore, but this park is a great experience for children and adults alike. 2021 North Burling St. Chicago, IL 60614 (312) 742-7898

 

POLISH MUSEUM OF AMERICA

Founded in 1935, the Polish Museum of America is one of the oldest and largest ethnic museums in the United States. Visitors explore Polish history, culture and heritage through artwork, artifacts and much more. This museum has a slew of permanent exhibits, as well as rotating, temporary exhibits. 984 Milwaukee Avenue Chicago, IL 60642 (773) 384-3352 ROUTE 66 SIGN Here is the beginning of Route 66, the iconic highway depicted on the silver screen. North Side of Adams St. (The Loop)

 

SECOND CITY

Second City, considered the birthplace of sketch comedy, is a worldrenowned entertainment experience. Many famous comedians got their start here, including John Belushi, Bill Murray, Jerry Stiller and Elaine May, plus other Saturday Night Live cast members. Shows typically are held seven nights a week. 1616 North Wells St. Chicago, IL 60614 (312) 337-3992

 

SHEDD AQUARIUM

Not to be missed, Shedd Aquarium is one of the world's largest indoor aquariums. It features more than 700 species from around the world, and over 8,000 aquatic animals. Divers hand-feed sharks and other underwater life at scheduled times daily. Make sure to stop by Animal Encounters, where you can feed and touch different creatures. 1200 South Lake Shore D. Chicago, IL 60605 (312) 939-2438

 

SIX FLAGS GREAT AMERICA

You won't just find roller coasters here: Six Flags Great America features shows, concerts and festivals, along with thrill rides and attractions (for example: The Dark Night roller coaster, SUPERMAN: Ultimate Flight, and Vertical Velocity). For those who aren't roller-coaster inclined, there is a full-size water park (Hurricane Harbor) inside Six Flags. Ticket prices are $61.99 for general admission; $41.99 for children under 48 inches tall; and children two and under are free (prices subject to change). Tickets can be purchased at a discounted rate on the Six Flags Great America website, www.sixflags.com/great America. 1 Great America Parkway Gurnee, IL 60031 (847) 249-1776


SOLDIER FIELD

The home stadium of the Chicago Bears offers public tours throughout the year. To schedule a tour, call the number below. 1410 South Museum Campus Dr. Chicago, IL 60605 (312) 235-7000

 

TRIBUNE TOWER

This neo-gothic skyscraper, home to the Chicago Tribune and WGN Radio, is one of the most fascinating buildings in Chicago. The lower walls incorporate rocks and memorabilia from monuments and sites around the world, such as the Taj Mahal, the Great Wall of China, the Alamo, the pyramids of Egypt, a steel fragment from the World Trade Center and, most famously, a moon rock (which is not located in the wall, but is on display). The intricacies of the building's interior also are notable. 435 North Michigan Avenue Chicago, IL 60611 (312) 222-9100

 

UNION STATION

Stretching nine and a half city blocks, Union Station dates to 1925 and is one of Chicago's early 19th-century train depots. Worth a visit simply for its history, the station features marble walls and floors, with bronze torches scattered throughout. A food court with primarily local fare is located on the upper concourse. 500 W. Jackson Blvd., Suite 107 Chicago, IL 60661 (312) 655-2066

 

WILLIS TOWER SKYDECK

The Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) is the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. The building covers more than 4.5 million square feet, which includes its Skydeck and the glass-floor viewing platform, The Ledge, located on the 103rd floor. 233 South Wacker Dr. Chicago, IL 60606 (312) 875-9696

 

WRIGLEY FIELD

The iconic Wrigley Field was built in 1914 and is the second-oldest baseball park in America. The site is revered for its historic moments, including Babe Ruth's "called shot," Sammy Sosa's home-run chase, Ernie Banks' 500th career home run, and several others. To book a tour of the park, call the telephone number listed below. 1060 West Addison St., Suite 1 Chicago, IL 60613 (773) 404-CUBS (2827)

 

TOURS

 

CHICAGO CHOCOLATE TOURS

Chocolate-lovers rejoice ... this is a tour for you! Chicago Chocolate Tours, offered in various neighborhoods, give guests a chance to explore chocolate shops, bakeries and cafes. Tour guides educate groups about the history of chocolate and arrange for them to sample delicious treats. (312) 929-2939

 

CHICAGO PIZZA TOURS

Chicago serves many varieties of pizza - not just the deep-dish pies it is famous for. Chicago Pizza Tours drives guests to four pizzerias in the city on its "Dough Force One." The tour is approximately three hours long, with half an hour (and a whole slice) devoted to each pizza shop. For those looking for an evening tour, Chicago Pizza Tours also offers a "Pizza and Cocktails" excursion. (888) 210-3237

 

CHICAGO TROLLEY AND DOUBLE DECKER CO.

Befitting the company name, tours here are offered both on trolleys and bright red, double-decker buses, making for a memorable experience. Chicago Trolley and Double Decker Co. offers unique tours that allow you to get on and off as you please. There are multiple stops along 13 miles of downtown and the Loop (Magnificent Mile, Field Museum and the Art Institute are just a few locations on the route), and vehicles stop at each location every 10-15 minutes. Tickets options include both oneand three-day passes. Discounted tickets can be purchased online at www.coachusa.com. (773) 648-5000

 

GRAY LINE TOURS

Gray Line offers excursions of all varieties: day, night, shopping, dining, even American Girl tours for the kids. Tours are easy to schedule both online (www.grayline.com) and by phone. (312) 251-3107

 

UNTOUCHABLE TOURS

Guests will journey back into the gangster-ridden world of Chicago during the 1920s and 1930s. Tours will cruise the city and visit old hoodlum haunts, brothels, gambling dens and sites of gangland shootouts. (773) 881-1195

 

WENDELLA BOAT TOURS

A longtime, family-run business, Wendella Boat Tours offers some of the best (and least expensive) lake and river cruises in the city. Guests can choose to learn about Chicago River architecture, take part in the Lake and River tour, view "Chicago at Sunset," experience the Chicago "Fireworks Tour," or join the occasional "Beer & BBQ" tour. (312) 222-9225



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