There are some sights in Chicago that seem to make it to the top of every tourist’s “must-do” list. While these attractions are certainly “touristy” in that they are popular and often quite busy, they are certainly not kitschy. Even Chicago residents will head to these attractions, often making an annual trip. They’re Chicago’s top attractions because they are the best, and if you can help, they shouldn’t be missed.
Both the John Hancock Building and the Willis (formerly Sears) Tower offer sky-high observation decks from which you can see the whole city, and – on clear days – three other states.
Chicago is home to some of the best museums in the world, most of which are located in the area known as Museum Campus at the south end of Grant Park. Admission fees can add up, so look for free days or check out a discount pass.
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Called “the city’s front yard”, Grant Park is an urban playground of sculptures, fountains, and gardens. Millennium Park takes up the northern end of the park.
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Lincoln Park Zoo
Located in its namesake park along the Lake, the Lincoln Park Zoo is free every day and houses animals like lions, bears, penguins, rhinos, and antelope.
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Chicago has several swimming beaches, a few of which are an easy walk from many hotels near the Magnificent Mile. On hot summer days, they are the perfect place to cool off.
>>> more information on beaches in Chicago
Photo by Ed Yourdon