Things to Do and See Around Chicago IL
As a native Chicagoan, I can tell you there are a lot of things to see and do in Chicago. Summer is my favorite time of the year so I’m going to start there.
Top 10 Places to Visit While Staying in Chicago
- Shedd Aquarium – Largest indoor aquarium. There is a general admission fee however they do offer several free days to enter.
- Brookfield Zoo – Lots to see and do. Take in the dolphin show, feed animals in the Children’s zoo and spend an afternoon observing wildlife.
- Wrigley Field – Home of Chicago Cubs with an open field and classic baseball feel.
- Millennium Park – A free park for family and fun with summer festivals and outdoor concerts.
- Lake Shore Drive – Take a drive down LSD and take in all the wonderful views.
- Diversey Harbor along Lake Shore Drive watch boats come in and go out to Lake Michigan. At dusk and in the early evenings the lights are breathtaking.
- Willis Tower formerly known as The Sears tower with top the of the line skydeck views.
- Magnificent Mile – a walk down Michigan Ave. Do some windows shopping or not.
- Sightseeing River Boat Tour along the Chicago River
- Navy Pier with a gigantic Ferris wheel towering a whopping 148 feet and views over the lakefront.
Welcome to Chicago
My Top 10 Places to see that are Free of Charge
Visiting Chicago doesn’t have to break your budget. There is plenty to see and do that is free of charge.
- Millennium Park with family fun festivals and concerts all free of charge
- Stroll or bike down beaches of Lake Michigan. Start at Oak Street and work north towards Diversey Harbor. Relax at Belmont/Diversey to watch the boats. Diversey Harbor also offers a miniature golf course and driving range, with a fee of course.
- Lincoln Park Zoo – open 365 days a year Free to the public, note parking in the nearby lot charges $10 per vehicle.
- Lincoln Park Conservatory – Indoor flower and gardens within 4 buildings displaying nature at its best. Admission is free. Open year-round.
- Walk down Magnificent Mile – window shopping doesn’t cost a penny but you just might see something you like.
- Take the drive. Lake Shore Drive (LSD) runs a stretch of around 20 miles along the lakefront. Begin your trip anywhere along the drive and head north or south. The views of Lake Michigan are fascinating. LSD ends on the north at Hollywood Avenue but swing on over to Sheridan Road and continue north of the city. This road will lead you towards Loyola University, a road with many uphill twists and turns along the way, a beautiful, scenic and enjoyable drive.
- Visit any of the major parks or Forest Preserves. Grab a lunch, make it a picnic. Along the stretch of road on Sheridan and Lake Shore Drive there are a great number of parks available. The Forest Preserve District of Cook County has numerous picnic groves.
- Take a bike and ride the Busse Wood Trails. A stretch about 20 miles of bike trails that cross into Elk Grove Village, a town about 20 miles northwest from downtown Chicago.
- Harold Washington Public Library – located in the heart of downtown, this library is open to the public and is one of the largest libraries in the world.
- Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park. The fountain is only active between April through October but the area is also close to the Grant Park Petrillo Music Shell; a great place for outdoor concerts during the summer months.
Chicago, IL the Great Windy City
What do I love about Chicago? With deep dishpan pizza, notorious gangsters, great architecture and panoramic skyline views, what's not to love.
Towns Surrounding Chicago
Many areas surrounding downtown are exclusive to the area where you can find shops, restaurants, and historical buildings to see and visit.
- Little Italy – located south of the Interstate 290 and west of Interstate 90.
- Chinatown – located south of Cermak Road and west of McCormick Place.
- Greektown – located north of Interstate 290 and west of the Chicago River
- Printer’s Row – located south of Congress and east of the Chicago River
- Millennium Park and Grant Park – located along Lake Michigan, east of downtown Chicago between Randolph Street and Roosevelt Road.
- Museum Campus – located south of Grant Park which includes the Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum, Adler Planetarium, and Soldier Field.
- Old Town – a part of Chicago where cobble streets, great food venues and local bars have prime spots. Old Town is located west of La Salle Blvd. and south of North Avenue.
- Schaumburg IL – located about 20 minutes from the city limits, Schaumburg township has lots to see and do.
For the Sports Lover
- Soldier Field – Home of the Chicago Bears. Located off of Lake Shore Drive, this open air stadium packs in and invites tailgating before each game.
- Visit the United Center – Home of the great Chicago Bulls. Standing right outside the stadium is tall, bronze statue of Michael Jordan.
- Take in a baseball game at any of the great stadiums – Chicago Cubs play at Wrigley Field located about 15 minutes north from downtown. Chicago White Sox play at US Cellular Field located south of the city near 35th street.
- Firework night is spectacular, but nothing outshines the fireworks at Cellular Field.
- Allstate Arena– the place to see the Chicago Wolves play hockey.
For the Gardener
- Chicago Botanic Gardens located about 20 miles north of Chicago in Glencoe, IL. Admission is Free but the parking is not.
- Lincoln Park Conservatory with indoor flower and garden areas adjacent to the Lincoln Park Zoo.
Some of the Best Places to Eat
Chicago is famous for deep dish pizza and Vienna Hot dogs. Either of which can be found throughout the Chicagoland area.
There are so many that I could list here as I wouldn’t do it any justice.
Here a several classics and some of the favorites that locals find worth visiting.
- Billy Goat on Wells Street
- Superdawg Chicago’s famous hot dogs located on Milwaukee Avenue.
- Most any pizza place will do because Chicago is world renowned for their deep dish pizza, you can find it almost anywhere. Giordano’s, Lou Malnati’s are among the favorites.
- Medieval Times with dinner and a tournament. Located in Schaumburg, Illinois just a short drive north of the city.
- Downtown Chicago has some of the finest restaurants with any type of flavor and taste. Outdoor gardens, indoor romantic dinners everything can be found here.
For the Churchgoer
- Stop for a visit at Holy Name Cathedral. Walk in this majestic building, take a seat on one of the Church benches, say a prayer, and look at the beauty of this church. The organ pipes are beautiful and the handmade organ was crafted by Casavant Freres in 1982. A beauty rich with glory and a sound like it came straight from heaven.
- North of Chicago in Barrington, Illinois you will find Willowcreek Community Church; one of the largest churches in the nation, home of Bill Hybels and fellow native Lee Strobel and John Ortberg. This church welcomes everyone, any faith or denomination. Step inside the remodeled auditorium and breathe in the love of God.
- Many other great churches can be found throughout Chicagoland and most local churches host special events and fund raisers throughout the year. During the summer months, many carnivals that connect to local schools are fun favorites around these locations.
My top 5 favorite places in Chicago
I’ve mentioned these before but wanted to showcase them. Rounding out my personal favorites.
- Shedd Aquarium. One of the largest aquariums in the world with over 1500 species of fish and mammals. A great place to bring the family. Children will love this museum. Bring some lunch because this visit can be an all-day event. Located along Lake Shore Drive, just a few miles from Soldiers Field, this museum is a must for family adventure.
- The Brookfield Zoo home to wildlife in their natural habitats with a butterfly exhibit and a spectacular dolphin show, a must see.
- Wrigley Field: home of the Chicago Cubs with the outdoor bleacher seats a sure favorite.
- Lake Michigan: With spectacular beaches, views of the lake and surrounding architecture this is by far the best place to relax.
- Grant Park: Home of the summer concerts, Millennium Park and Buckingham Fountain
Visit the SkyDeck at Sears Tower
Summertime is not the only time to visit Chicago.
During the month of February, most of the museums offer free admission.
In early February, the Chicago Auto Show comes to McCormick Place. The latest and greatest vehicles showcased within the automotive industry.
The holidays offer the lights festival along the magnificent mile.
Ice skating is available at Millennium Park through the winter months.
Parades in Chicago are year round. The Thanksgiving Day parade marches down Michigan Ave marks the Christmas Holiday and St. Patty’s Day in March steps in with the green. Around the end of August, the Bud Biliken parade kicks in the start of another school year.
With all the things to see and do in Chicago, why not love this city, as legendary Frank Sinatra once said, “Chicago is my kind of town.”
For Further Tour Information about Chicago
- For the latest happenings in the city of Chicago, visit http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en.html
- For the latest traffic and weather reports, visit http://www.nbcchicago.com/
- For more information on public transportation, visit www.metrarail.com
- Plan your next Chicago trip here, http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/milesmedia/2010ChicagoDestinationGuide/index.php?startid=40
- View downtown area hotels, http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/milesmedia/2010ChicagoDestinationGuide/index.php?startid=50
- For more information on Travelling to Chicago visit the Chicago Traveler for a full listing of events to see and do. http://www.chicagotraveler.com/chicago_festivals.htm
- For information on the Tall Ships, visit http://www.navypier.com/
- If you’re up for a risk and you’re not afraid of heights, I recommend stepping out on the skydeck at http://www.theskydeck.com/
© 2011 FaithDream