Things to do in Chicago


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Things to do in Chicago

Things to do in Chicago

Home to deep dish pizza, Twinkies, the Chicago Cubs and zippers, Chicago is full of surprises that will delight the whole family and have you wondering why you didn't head to the Windy City sooner.

Chicago is made for families. Whether you visit in winter or summer there are things to do on every corner. Our top picks include:

Things to do in Chicago

Navy Pier

Navy Pier is a kid's kingdom. Pier Park has a huge 45 metre Ferris Wheel to give you a beautiful view over Lake Michigan and the city, and the Chicago Children's Museum is jam packed with hands on activities. Saturday nights see brilliant fireworks displays during summer. The food lines can be long so it's worth planning to visit before or after lunch.

Millennium Park

This 25 acre park is home to "The Bean" or Cloud Gate, one of Chicago's most iconic spots. Take a photo in the reflection of the bean to get the signature warped view of the skyline. In summer the park really comes to life with free music, film and performances offered at the Pritzker Pavilion. Check the schedule ahead of time and bring a picnic rug.

Maggie Daley Park

Right next to Millennium Park is the new Maggie Daley Park, offering a wonderland of activities. In winter head to the Ice Ribbon, a new take on the ice skating rink, letting you skate a winding path to the backdrop of the city skyline. In summer the Climbing Wall (for ages 4 and up) will challenge you to reach new heights. For kids under 12 there is a whole world of play areas to explore from The Sea with a large-scale ship to The Slide Crater with over 5 types of slides and bridges. There are picnic spaces and if you have any energy left after lunch Mini Golf is also on offer.

Things to do in Chicago

Lincoln Park Zoo

A few minutes north of the city centre, you will find Lincoln Park Zoo. This zoo is free to visit and houses amazing animals from across the globe including lions, flamingoes, beavers, monkeys and more.

The Field Museum

You can't leave Chicago without meeting Sue, the largest and most complete T. Rex ever discovered! The Field Museum brings a whole new world to life with dinosaurs, Egyptian mummies, mammoths and man-eating lions. With permanent displays and rotating exhibitions, there is something for everyone.

Skydeck at Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower)

Skydeck gives visitors a bird's eye view of Chicago from the 2nd tallest building in America. Glass observation boxes, called The Ledge, jut out from the building suspending viewers 103 floors above the city streets giving you a new appreciation for just how high it is. For a bit extra on your ticket price, you can get a day/night pass so that you can come back at night to enjoy the city lights.

Shopping

Things to do in Chicago

Chicago's The Magnificent Mile is a shopper's paradise. The famous shopping strip stretches 13 blocks and is made up of over 460 stores, 275 restaurants and 60 hotels. It begins in the south at the Chicago River and ends at Oak Street in the north, where most of the luxury brands are located. On the strip you will find Water Tower Place, with eight levels and over 100 stores of the best known and slightly more affordable brands. Also in Water Tower Place is the flagship American Girl store which is a must visit for any doll lover. Spread over two levels, this store has everything from a doll day spa to a cafe and is sure to make many little dreams come true.

Travel tips for Chicago

Things to do in Chicago

Chicago is a walking city. The city is built on a logical grid system and block numbers are very consistent. The other plus is that the majority of attractions are located within the Downtown area. In winter you can make use of the Pedway System which is a series of underground and overhead walkways that connect Downtown buildings.

If your legs need a rest the public transport system is easy to use and you can buy multi-day tickets giving you access to the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) system of trains and buses. It's good to note that locals refer to the train systems as the "El". That's for both the elevated platform trains (where the name comes from) and the subways.

The weather in Chicago can be a little different to the rest of the region thanks to its proximity to Lake Michigan. The lake can whip up snow storms in the winter and produces cool summer breezes. May and September usually see the most stable, comfortable weather.