Places to See in Chicago

Updated on October 05, 2010
P.H. asks from McKinney, TX
13 answers

Hi Moms,
I'm taking a 4 day trip to Chicago starting this Friday,and wanted to see if any of you have any advice as to what to see in Chicago while I'm there? We plan to visit the Museum of Science and Industry, but other than that we have no specific plans. Any advice on places of interest would be appreciated. Thank you!

Update--I am going to Chicago with my boyfriend who will be in the Marathon. We will be staying downtown near where the start of the race is. Should be fun!

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answers from Chicago on

If you want to see some of the other great museums, you can buy a pass that gets you into more than one, at a better rate than paying for each separately. They are all great, and located mostly on one area, the "museum campus". I would also suggest going up to the top of the Sears Tower now called Willis Tower but most people here still call it Sears Tower). Some other fun spots are Navy Pier, Millenium Park and Buckingham Fountain. Have a fun trip!

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answers from Houston on

I would go to Navy Pier, The Museum's, Walk on Lake Shore Drive. Go shopping on Michigan Avenue and of course have some pizza. I love to eat at Portillos, you can find them through out Chicago. I love their food! Stop by Willis Tower formally known as Sears Tower. Visit the Buckingham Fountain and take lots of pictures! By the way do you have room for me with you? I can maybe squeeze in your luggage? LOL I love Chicago, that's home sweet home. Well have fun and take lots of pics!

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answers from Kansas City on

There is so much fun stuff! Will you have kids with you? If so check out the Kohl Children's Museum ( a bit outside of Chicago but you can take train or car) for sure! It rocks! Of cousre all the tourist stuff is great but you must go to the Art Institute of Chicago, which I suppose is kind of touristy, but it's awesome!! They have so many beautiful pieces both modern and classic!

My fave pizza is either Giordano's or Lou Malnatti' can't go wrong with either. The hot dogs are also delish. Ed Debevics is super fun (if you ever saw Girls Just Want to Have Fun...its in that movie too!) where their rudeness is their schtick...diner food and cute atmosphere.

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answers from Missoula on

I love, love, love the Shedd aquarium! The Art Institute of Chicago is also worth seeing, if you like art museums. There is a planetarium and a natural history museum all on the same campus. There is great shopping downtown on Michigan avenue, and there is a least one zoo.
Have fun!

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answers from La Crosse on

I agree with the Shedd Aquarium. It's awesome there. Also, I would suggest Lincoln Park Zoo and the Field Museum. I've always wanted to just walk around downtown. Navy Pier is pretty awesome, too. Have fun!

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answers from St. Louis on

Shedd aquarium!!!!!!

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answers from Chicago on

I've lived in Chicago for nearly 10 years; 5 of them were just blocks from downtown. Are you staying downtown?

The marathon is happening this weekend, on Sunday, so definitely plan carefully. Transportation around the city will be limited, depending on where you want to go and what you want to do. Ask the concierge at your hotel for advice. I would encourage you to even watch a bit of the marathon - I've done it a few times and it is just an incredible sight to witness 45,000 people taking on this challenge.

You can go to either the Willis Tower (Sears) or to the 96th floor of the Hancock building. Personally, I prefer the Hancock because you will only have to pay the price of a drink as opposed to nearly $30 per person at the Willis. A coke will set you back about $8 though. It's definitely less crowded up there. Another plus is that it is on the Mag Mile (Michigan) so you can do that whole shopping experience as well.

I LOVE the Chicago River architectural tour. It is 75 minutes in length, very relaxing, and you'll learn a lot of fun history and trivia of Chicago. If that's too long, a Lake tour or Sea Dog adventure is also offered. All of these depart from Navy Pier - another 'must do'. Navy Pier has shops, the ferris wheel, the swings, shows, and tons of kid-friendly stuff (not to mention lots of places to buy souvenirs!).

You may want to check out Greektown for lunch - plenty of valet parking! Try the saganaki and some pastitio at Greek Isles.

Shedd Aquarium is outstanding. Adler Planetarium is just down the way from there. You might want to consider a CityPass - - you'll be able to see a lot of attractions for a discounted price.

Enjoy - you're going to have some great weather this weekend. says 70s!

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answers from Chicago on

My top picks for families with kids would be:

Children's museum on Navy Pier
Peggy Notebart nature museum (indoors)

Millenium Park
Lincoln Park Zoo
Horse/carriage ride off of Michigan Avenue.
Bikes that hold 4 people (kind of golf cart like) that they rent on the lake front by Navy Pier would be fun

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answers from Chicago on

It's a little bit of a drive from Chicago, but there is a Midevil Times Dinner Theatre in Schaumburg. I've only gone once, but it was really fun.

The other suggestions you've gotten are all great. State Street in the Loop has some great shopping too, and it's close to Millenium Park if you want to spend a day on that end of town.

The architectural tour is fun, you take a boat down the Chicago River and out onto the lake. There are tons of different bus tours as well.

There are also some great shows to see in Chicago, including The Lion King, which just opened. Many of the hotels have access to tickets, or you could plan ahead and buy online.

You didn't mention if it's a family trip or not, but if the kids aren't coming with then there are some great comedy clubs, and my absolute favorite restaurant is Cafe Iberico (excellent spanish tapas, awesome sangria, not expensive), which you could do in the daytime for lunch with the kids, but at night it's pretty busy and not really a good place for family dining.

Make sure you stop in for some Garrett's popcorn, but don't go to the one on Michigan Ave, you'll wait in line forever there. There are a couple locations in the State St shopping area that are far less busy.

This weekend is the Chicago Marathon, so there's bound to be some related activites if you are interested in that kind of stuff.

Most of the shops downtown close around 7pm, so keep that in mind when you plan out your day. Also, it is COLD up here this time of year, and by the lake it's even colder because of all the tall buildings blocking out the sun and it's definitely windier by the water, so dress warm!

Have fun on your trip!

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Shedd Aquarium is nice and it's right near the museum of Science and Industry.

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answers from Chicago on

If you have any time on Monday, go to the Chicago History Museum, located on Clark just north of North. Why Monday? Because admission there is FREE on Mondays! Great for che ... um, er ... frugal chicks like me! :)

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answers from Dallas on

The Thorne miniatures at the art institute are amazing! Really one of my favorite things I saw in Chicago. The architectural river tour is really neat too. And we always eat at gino's east for pizza...yum! And of course shopping on Michigan ave! Have fun!

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answers from Chicago on

The Field Museum is also nearby the Museum of Sci/Ind. (do you only have the 12 year old?) Make sure to take a trip to Navy Pier. Walk up and down Michigan Avenue. Go to the John Hancock or Willis (formerly known as the Sears) Tower for GREAT views of the city. There are 2 chocolate shops on Michigan Ave & Pearson St....Ghiradelli and Hershey. It should be fairly warm this weekend, in the upper 60s/los 70s, so you should be able to do quite a bit outdoors.

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