Best attractions in Chicago: Top 25

Gangster City status confirms that the attractions in the U.S. are traditionally an exact match for the specifics of any given city in America. The scale and uniqueness of Chicago’s cultural heritage, will not leave any questions in terms of: what to see in the USA.

What is the first thing to see in Chicago?

City, which fame and popularity are flying ahead of itself, provides the experienced tourist with a portion of fresh and unforgettable impressions. So, a trip to the States is definitely impossible without a visit to Chicago.

1. Millennium Park

View of the park from the north side of the Aon Center building in Chicago J. Crocker

Best Sights in the United States traditionally attracts multimillion-dollar streams of tourists from all over the world. For example, the downtown park complex, built in late 2006, is the most visited place in Chicago. The construction of the park lasted for long 6 years and the amount of financial investments was about 450 million dollars. Millennium Park is deservedly considered to be the best place in the city and this fact, is confirmed by the multiple awards that the public park has received.

2. Corona Fountain

Unusual Crown Fountain in Chicago's Millennium Park Serge Melki

The Crown Fountain is definitely the place to go first in Chicago. Visually, the structure is two identical towers that are made of high-quality glass bricks. Moreover, the LED elements in the towers allow you to display random faces of people who are like huge statues surrounding the visitors. Using high-precision camera allows you to get a quality picture. The cost of construction of such a facility was 17 million dollars. By the way, the name of the fountain comes from the names of a rich and powerful family of Chicago, which donated the money to build the attraction.

3. Cloud Gate

The Cloud Gate or "big Chicago bean" sculpture in Chicago's business district (vincent desjardins)
The surface of the Cloud Gate sculpture reflects and distorts the view of the city at night Ouda T. Ena

Connoisseurs of American cinema are no doubt familiar with the not-unfamous Cloud Gate sculpture. The journey of the skilled film buff must begin with a visit to Millennium Park, where British sculptor Anish Kapoor’s creation is located. A well-known fact is the sculpture’s name. For example, the pressed stainless steel “blob” has won the name “Bean” because it is shaped like a bean plant. The attractive segment of the sculpture is its unique reflective properties as well as its ability to distort space.

4. Navy Pier

The Chicago Navy Pier is located on the shore of Lake Michigan

Despite the quite mediocre name of the attraction, the number of daily visits increases exponentially. The rating of the pier is therefore off the charts because the purpose of the attraction is purely recreational. The sheer number of fairground booths, entertainment, and events taking place there have transformed what was formerly a cargo port and then a training military base into something perfect and stunning. Regular river rides with a delicious lunch on board are what will allow the hungry tourist to combine the delicious with the exciting and interesting.

5. The Magnificent Mile

Chicago's famously expensive shopping street surrounded by huge skyscrapers Bert Kaufmann

A long, shopping avenue with many brand name stores is something that is almost impossible to see in Chicago in 1 day. The street, which sits on the north side of Michigan Avenue, is actually dotted with a variety of boutiques, stores, and ethnic restaurants from around the world. In addition, relevant reviews of the place deservedly compare the Magnificent Mile to the Champs Elysées in Paris. Global brands, luxury clothing jewelry, and incredibly delicious and expensive food are characteristics of this U.S. and Chicago landmark.

Check out Chicago's beautiful places in this great video!

6. Chicago Theater

The entrance to the Chicago Theater is adorned by a tall stained glass triumphal arch Daniel Schwen

The beginning of the 20th century for the city was marked by the construction of a stunning, unique theater building. Recommendations, gossip and discussions about the place are well-deserved proof that the cultural development of the city is on a high level. The visual component of the place is modeled after the outstanding theater in legendary New York City. The theater’s outreach and cultural activities attract streams of the city’s, cultural elite on a daily basis.

Official website:

7. Willis Tower

View of Chicago's Willis Tower skyscraper at dusk

Interesting places in the United States have undergone many changes over the past century. In the 20th century, for example, the Willis Tower proudly held its status as the tallest building in the world. Under the direction of Bruce Graham, the chief architect of the Willis Tower construction process, the tower was ceremonially completed in 1973. In terms of design features, the tower is characterized by a square-shaped base consisting of nine square tubes, and a system of strong internal supports supports supports the entire structure. Today, the tower houses many retailers and broadcasting offices.

Official website:

8. John Hancock Center

The John Hancock Center is a 100-story skyscraper in Chicago

Chicago’s major landmarks, briefly characterized as “high-rises,” make an incredible impression not only by the visual perfection of their construction, but also by their structural features. The Hancock Center is filled with trendy boutiques, restaurants, and stores. What makes this high-rise building special is its construction: the interior of the skyscraper is literally empty. The building received the American Institute of Architecture’s Quarter Century Award for outstanding durability and reliability of its architectural design.

9. The Art Institute of Chicago

The main building of the Art Institute of Chicago in Grant Park vagueonthehow
The main staircase at the Art Institute of Chicago Leon petrosyan

The sights of Chicago are primarily a complex of inimitable high-rise buildings and cultural and educational centers. The Art Institute of Chicago is not just a place where the anvil of contemporary world art is forged, but also a full-fledged art museum with unique exhibits. A collection of the vast Impressionist heritage of American culture is showcased on the spectrum of the city’s contemporary cultural scene. It is also one of the oldest educational institutions in the United States, renowned for its cohort of renowned faculty and alumni.

Official website:

10. Museum of Modern Art

Central facade of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago Céline
Fragment of an exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago Phil Roeder

One of the largest museums in the world, which has a huge and stunning collection of postwar visual art. The museum is located in the heart of Chicago. The date of the founding of the attraction is 1967. The museum was designed by Joseph Kleihues, who created a unique and amazing building in the downtown area.

Official website:

11. Fields Museum of Natural History

North facade of the Fields Museum of Natural History in Chicago Ancheta Wis
Stanley Field Hall, top view

If newcomers are wondering what to visit in Chicago first, the first and most correct decision is the Natural History Museum. Built in 1893, the museum has managed to create a unique exhibit of stunning historical artifacts. Among the museum’s exhibits: “Sue” - a complete skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus, a huge, priceless collection of dinosaurs and exhibits devoted to the Native Americans - Indians.

Official website:

12. Museum of Science and Industry

The Museum of Science and Industry near Lake Michigan in Chicago
The Aviation Hall at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago Wilhelm Joys Andersen
The German submarine U-505 in the hall of the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago Learjet

Attractions in Chicago, for the most part, are cultural institutions of various types. Among them, there is a unique museum with exhibits of very interesting purpose. The structure is an oblong with a domed top, a kind of pantheon. The exhibits on display represent different historical periods in the United States. One of the most amazing exhibits is the one devoted to the Second World War. For example, the museum displays a German submarine that was captured during a successful operation by American forces. In addition, in the museum you can enjoy the majestic and the first of its kind, a diesel train, as well as a spaceship.

Official website:

13. Chicago Cultural Center

The Chicago Cultural Center is one of the most visited places in the city of Chicago Victorgrigas
The main staircase and Preston Bradley Hall with Tiffany Dome at the Chicago Cultural Center Daderot.
Tiffany's stained glass dome with the zodiac signs in the center Rob Saker

Numerous tours in Chicago are not without its notorious cultural center, located in the city’s downtown district near Millennium Park. According to the original plans for the building, the authorities planned to make it a library. But a few years later, receptions for high-ranking U.S. officials and presidents were held at the future cultural center. As a result, the library was moved to a completely different location. Nowadays, as streams of tourists flock to the Chicago Cultural Center, a huge number of entertainment and cultural events take place in the building itself. The program is filled with performances by musicians, lecturers, and theaters.

Official website:

14. DuSable Museum of African American History

The wide staircase in front of the DuSable Museum in Chicago TonyTheTiger

Connoisseurs of historical documents as well as the history of the African American struggle for rights in the United States will undoubtedly be awed by the huge thematic exhibit. The exhibition contains documentation that reveals the history of Africans in North America. The museum extensively covers the everyday life of African Americans, as well as the characteristics of this people’s culture, the history of slavery, struggle and suffering.

Official website:

15. Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum

The "Man Goes to Space" sculpture outside the Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum in Chicago

After so many museum complexes and countless high-rise buildings, what is there to see in Chicago? In that case, it’s definitely worth a visit to another iconic place: the planetarium. The Chicago Planetarium is the first planetarium in the United States and is located on Chicago’s North Island.

Official website:

16. Shedd Aquarium

The "Wild Reef" exhibit at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago Sage Ross

Experienced guides in Chicago recommend a visit to the Shedd Aquarium. The largest aquarium in the world, it contains a huge number of species of marine fish. At one time, when the aquarium was closed, this place was truly considered very prestigious and elite to visit. Over two million visitors annually enjoy hundreds of thousands of rare, beautiful sea creatures.

Official website:

17. Botanical Gardens

One of the landscapes of the Botanical Gardens in Chicago
The beautiful green corner of the Chicago Botanic Garden
Japanese Garden on the grounds of the Botanic Garden
The Chicago Botanic Garden's Rhododendrons

Fascinated connoisseurs of botany should, without a doubt, visit this perfect botanical garden. Bearing the status of the largest garden in the entire country, it is located in the suburbs of Chicago and is characterized by having a huge collection of rare plant species.

Official website:

18. Lincoln Park Zoo

Lincoln Park Zoo on the shores of Lake Michigan in Chicago IIP Photo Archive
White Bear at Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago Cosmo1976

The large area of the zoo, the many species of animal life represented, and the downtown location are parameters that determine the degree of prestige of this place. Admission to the zoo is free.

Official website:

19. Buckingham Fountain

The Clarence Buckinge Memorial Fountain in Grant Park at night

The stunning Buckingham Fountain is located in Grant Park, Chicago. “The gateway” to the city needs to be seen in person, as the Rococo sculptural group is endlessly huge and perfect.

20. Wrigley Field Baseball Stadium

Rigley Field Baseball Stadium is the home court of the Chicago Cubs redlegsfan21

American tradition embodied in a large, prestigious and modern stadium. The Chicago Cubs team plays regularly in this venue and continues to delight fans with a beautiful and impressive game.

Official website:

Chicago sights: what else to see in Chicago?

Based on the above attractions of Chicago photo with names and descriptions, you can confidently plan a trip to the United States. However, do not stop there, because the number of outstanding places is not limited to this.

21. Water Tower

Historic Chicago Water Tower Adsitm

The Chicago Water Tower is the only surviving piece of 19th century old Chicago. It now houses a gallery displaying the work of local photographers.

22. Water Tower Place Shopping Center

Escalators at Water Tower Place Shopping Center Brion VIBBER

Water Tower Place Mall is a seven-story building on Michigan Avenue. Shopping, brand-name stores and delicious food are what awaits guests of this huge skyscraper.

Official website:

23. The observation deck of the Willis Tower skyscraper

Scenery of Chicago from the glass balcony of the Willis Tower Skyscraper Lookout Olga Bandelowa

Skydeck atop the Willis Tower allows you to view the vastness of Chicago’s land and feel the power and spirit of American freedom.

Official website:

24. Chicago River

The bridge over the Chicago River in downtown Chicago

Originally, the natural course of the river directed the flow into Lake Michigan, but, by mutual decision of the authorities, engineering work was done to change the direction of the river toward the south.

25. Lake Michigan

Panorama of Chicago with Lake Michigan

The largest northern lake in the United States is Lake Michigan. The beautiful and unique water surface of the lake will add to the pleasant impression of visiting Chicago.

The city of modern architecture, whimsical sculptures and majestic natural bodies of water. Restaurants, trendy brand-name boutiques and hotels in Chicago are indicators of the city’s excellence and progress. Read also about Washington D.C. attractions and be inspired for more travels in the United States.

Save on hotel reservations

Popular articles