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Things to do in Chicago

Let the Windy City blow you away. Start Downtown and check out the Chicago Cultural Center; admire the building itself and find out more at the Visitors' Center. Nearby is the must-see Millennium Park and The Art Institute of Chicago. Hop on a bus to the Museum Campus to explore the sea at the John G Shedd Aquarium and the sky at the Adler Planetarium. Then travel to Near North to Navy Pier and the towering John Hancock Observatory.

Chicago Neighborhood Tours, Chicago. © City of Chicago

Museums and Galleries

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  1. 1. Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum - Museums and Galleries

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    Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum, Chicago. Courtesy of Adler Planetarium

    Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum on Museum Campus opened in 1930. It continues to fuel the imagination of visitors with new exhibits and state-of-the-art computer technology in the Sky Theater where you can choose which part of the universe to visit.Show this on map

    Cost

    US$10-US$25; 3-14 yrs US$6-US21; seniors US$8-US$23; discounts for Chicago residents

    Opening hours

    Daily 10am-4pm (till 4.30pm Sat & Sun & till 6pm mid Jun-mid Sep)

    Address

    1300, South Lake Shore Drive, Chicago 60605

    Telephone

    +1 312 922 7827

    Transport

    Museum Campus bus

    Website

    Adler Planetarium

  2. 2. Museum of Contemporary Art - Museums and Galleries

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    Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Courtesy of the Museum of Contemporary Art

    One of the nation's largest contemporary art museums, Chicago's cutting-edge Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) near North concentrates on surrealism, minimalism and photographic works. Rotating exhibits have included creations by notables like Claes Oldenburg and Alexander Calder.Show this on map

    Cost

    US$12; students and seniors US$7

    Opening hours

    Tue-Sun 10am-5pm (until 8pm Tue)

    Address

    220, East Chicago Avenue, Near North, Chicago 60611

    Telephone

    +1 312 280 2660

    Transport

    Chicago/State Subway/El

    Website

    Museum of Contemporary Art

  3. 3. Museum of Science and Industry - Museums and Galleries

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    The Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago. © City of Chicago

    Descend into a coal mine, walk through a human heart or a WWII German submarine at Hyde Park's Museum of Science and Industry. The twinkling of a magic, miniature fairy castle is beguiling. Permanent and visiting exhibits delight all ages.Show this on map

    Cost

    US$13; seniors US$12; 3-11 yrs US$9

    Opening hours

    Mon-Sat 9.30am-4pm, Sun 11am-4pm

    Address

    57th Street and Lake Shore Drive, Chicago 60637

    Telephone

    +1 773 684 1414

    Transport

    Bus X28 Stony Island Express

    Website

    Museum of Science and Industry

  4. 4. The Field Museum - Museums and Galleries

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    The Field Museum, Chicago. Photo by Gregg Block, © Whatsonwhen

    The Field Museum on Museum Campus houses 65-million-year-old Tyrannosaurus Rex 'Sue'. Check out city streets and beautiful Sahara in the 'Africa' exhibit and mummies in 'Inside Ancient Egypt'. 'Shrink' to insect size and burrow into the soil at Underground Adventure.Show this on map

    Cost

    US$23; concessions US$20

    Opening hours

    Daily 9am-5pm

    Address

    1400, South Lake Shore Drive, Museum Campus, Chicago 60605

    Telephone

    +1 312 922 9410

    Transport

    Museum Campus Bus

    Website

    The Field Museum

  5. 5. Art Institute of Chicago - Museums and Galleries

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    Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago. Courtesy of The Art Institute of Chicago

    Bronze lions guard the Art Institute of Chicago's entrance, one of the world's finest art museums, downtown. Works by Monet, Cassatt, Renoir and Degas are on show, as are collections of African, Ancient American and 'modern' American art.Show this on map

    Cost

    US$18; concessions US$12; under-12s free; free Thu 5pm-8pm

    Opening hours

    Mon-Wed 10.30am-5pm; Thu & Fri 10.30am-9pm; Sat & Sun 10am-5pm

    Address

    111, South Michigan Avenue, Loop /Downtown, Chicago 60603

    Telephone

    +1 312 443 3600

    Transport

    Adams Subway/El

    Website

    Art Institute of Chicago

Attractions

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  1. 6. Chicago Cultural Center - Attractions

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    Tiffany Dome, Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago, Illinois

    The three-storey Chicago Cultural Center is located on East Washington Street Downtown and boasts the world's largest Tiffany dome. This grand venue hosts numerous cultural events as well as being home to the Chicago Office of Tourism.Show this on map

    Cost

    Free

    Opening hours

    Mon-Thu 8am-7pm; Fri 8am-6pm; Sat 9am-6pm; Sun 10am-6pm; closed holidays

    Address

    78, East Washington Street, Chicago 60602

    Telephone

    +1 312 744 6630

    Transport

    Washington or Randolph Subway

    Website

    Chicago Cultural Center

  2. 7. John Hancock Center and Observatory - Attractions

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    John Hancock Center, Chicago. Courtesy of the Illinois Bureau of Tourism (www.gochicago.com)

    The towering John Hancock Center and Observatory, 344m (1,127ft), is shorter than the Sears Tower but less crowded and more scenic. On clear days, the Downtown observatory view takes in 129km (80 miles), four states and the Lake Michigan shoreline.Show this on map

    Cost

    US$15, seniors US$14, 4-11 yrs US$10

    Opening hours

    Daily 9am-11pm

    Address

    875, John Hancock Center, North Michigan Avenue, Chicago 60661

    Telephone

    +1 888 875 8439

    Transport

    Chicago/State Subway

  3. 8. Millennium Park - Attractions

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    Millennium Park in Chicago, Illinois.

    Chicago's 24.5-acre Millennium Park is a centre for art, music, architecture and landscape design and hosts a variety of events Downtown. Be mesmerised by 15.24m-tall (50 foot) glass fountains. Stroll the Lurie Gardens or pass Frank Gehry's groundbreaking concert venue.Show this on map

    Cost

    Free

    Opening hours

    24 hours

    Address

    55, North Michigan Avenue, Loop/Downtown, Chicago 60602

    Telephone

    +1 312 742 1168

    Transport

    Millennium Park Bus

    Website

    Millennium Park

  4. 9. The Skydeck - Attractions

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    Willis Tower, Chicago. Photo by Mark Ballogg, courtesy of the Skydeck

    The Willis Tower is America's tallest building at 443m (1,454 feet), and visitors can ascend to the 103rd floor's Skydeck for views up to 80km. One of the world's fastest lifts (488m per minute) reaches the top in 70 seconds.Show this on map

    Cost

    US$14.95; 3-11 yrs US$10.50

    Opening hours

    Daily: Apr-Sep 9am-10pm; Oct-Mar 10am-8pm

    Address

    233, South Wacker Drive, West Loop, Chicago 60606

    Telephone

    +1 312 875 9696

    Transport

    Jackson or Brown Subway/El

    Website

    The Skydeck

  5. 10. Navy Pier - Attractions

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    Navy Pier Ferris Wheel, Chicago. Photo by Mike Gustafson, courtesy of Illinois Bureau of Tourism

    A municipal pier dating to 1914 but renovated in the mid-90s, Navy Pier stretches 800 metres into Lake Michigan, and is full of shops, restaurants and entertainment. It includes a giant Ferris Wheel, Shakespeare Theater and a stained-glass museum.Show this on map

    Cost

    Free

    Opening hours

    Daily 10am-7pm but hours vary widely with seasons and days

    Address

    600, East Grand Avenue, Near North, Chicago 60611

    Telephone

    +1 312 595 7437 or +1 800 595 7437

    Transport

    Navy Pier bus

    Website

    Navy Pier

Special things to do

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  1. 11. Chicago Neighborhood Tours - Special things to do

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    Chicago Neighborhood Tours, Chicago. © City of Chicago

    Learn about its diverse neighbourhoods with Chicago Neighborhood Tours. For example, the late 19th-century Pullman Historic District was the nation's first industrial community. Built to house Pullman Palace Car workers, everything in this model town was company owned. Reservations necessary.Show this on map

    Cost

    US$30, seniors, students and children 8-18 US$25, special interest: US$50; seniors, students and children 8-18 US$45

    Opening hours

    Daily 10am

    Address

    78, Chicago Cultural Center, East Washington Street, Chicago 60602

    Telephone

    +1 312 742 1190

    Transport

    Washington or Randolph Subway

    Website

    Chicago Neighborhood Tours

  2. 12. John G. Shedd Aquarium - Special things to do

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    John G Shedd Aquarium, Chicago. Photo by Gregg Block

    At the faux-Greek-style John G Shedd Aquarium on Museum Campus, 8000 creatures from 650 species like sharks, dolphins, giant octopi and tiny clown fish live. There's an oceanarium and giant anacondas slither at Amazon Rising.Show this on map

    Cost

    US$24.95; 3-11s US$17.95

    Opening hours

    Mon-Fri 9am-5pm, Sat & Sun 9am-6pm; end of May to first week in Sep: daily 9am-6pm

    Address

    1200, South Lake Shore Drive, Chicago 60605

    Telephone

    +1 312 939 2438

    Transport

    Museum Campus CTA Bus

    Website

    John G. Shedd Aquarium

  3. 13. Untouchable Tours - Special things to do

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    Untouchable Tours, Chicago. Courtesy of Untouchable Tours

    Touring the haunts and infamous sites of 1920s gangsters like Al Capone and John Dillinger is a fun time for young and old alike. Untouchable Tours guides relate gangster lore, make bad jokes and pass around garlic in Little Italy.Show this on map

    Cost

    US$28; children US$24

    Opening hours

    Various

    Address

    Clark Street and Ohio Avenue, Chicago 60610

    Telephone

    +1 773 881 1195

    Transport

    Grand Subway/El

    Website

    Untouchable Tours

  4. 14. Lincoln Park Zoo - Special things to do

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    Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago. Courtesy of Illinois Bureau of Tourism

    Bordering Lake Michigan, Lincoln Park Zoo is a favourite with visitors and locals. Popular attractions include the Great Ape, elephant and lion houses. Small mammals and reptiles prefer the glass dome enclosure that simulates their river, jungle and forest habitats.Show this on map

    Cost

    Free

    Opening hours

    Apr-May & Sep-Oct 10am-5pm; Memorial Day-Labor Day Mon-Fri 10am-5pm; Sat & Sun 10am-6.30pm; Nov-Mar 10am-4.30pm

    Address

    2200, North Cannon Street, Lincoln Park, Chicago 60614

    Telephone

    +1 312 742 2000

    Transport

    Stockton and Webster Bus

    Website

    Lincoln Park Zoo

  5. 15. Chicago Architectural Foundation Tours - Special things to do

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    Chicago Architectural Foundation Tours, Chicago. Photo by Anne Evans, courtesy of Chicago Architectural Foundation

    A multitude of Chicago Architectural Foundation Tours examine the city's fascinating architecture, particularly Downtown. One of the most interesting is the Architecture River Cruise. Floating down the Chicago River, you see and learn about 50 significant sites.Show this on map

    Cost

    Various

    Opening hours

    Various

    Address

    Chicago Architecture Foundation ArchiCenter Shop & Tour Center, 224 South Michigan Avenue, Loop/Downtown, Chicago 60604

    Telephone

    +1 312 922 3432

    Transport

    El to Adams or Jackson

    Website

    Chicago Architecture Foundation Website

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