Almost 40 million visitors flock to Chicago each year, because not only is it one of the most beautiful cities in the country, but it’s overflowing with things you won’t be able to see anywhere else.
Because of the sheer volume of activities in the area, you’re going to have a full itinerary during your stay. However, we’ve compiled a list of seven of the most interesting things you can’t miss when you land in Chicago, from tourist hotspots to local establishments that are popular among the natives.
Climb 103 floors of the Willis Tower to arrive at Skydeck Chicago, the observation deck that attracts nearly 1.3 million visitors a year. Atop the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, you can step onto The Ledge, a glass-enclosed balcony where you can see all the way to Michigan on a clear day. Make reservations at a nearby Chi-town hotel such as theWit, so you can get there early and beat the crowds.
Reggie’s Rock Club
There’s a lot to love about Reggie’s Rock Club, even if you aren’t into the live music scene. Here you’ll find a live music venue, host to some of the coolest names in the industry, a record store with an unbelievable selection upstairs, and a bar and grill downstairs, all under one roof!
Art Institute of Chicago
Chicago is home to dozens of museums, but the one you can’t miss is the Art Institute of Chicago, which houses some of the most well-known treasures from all over the world. You’ll want to devote an entire day to this museum’s offerings, including its extensive collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings.
Brown Elephant Resale Shop
Inside the Calo Theater, with its stunning 1920s era architecture, you won’t find movies or performances. The beautiful movie house, with its vaulted ceilings and decorative moldings, is now home to the Brown Elephant Resale Shop. It’s arguably the fanciest consignment shop in the nation, including selections from Andy Warhol’s clothing line. All proceeds from the Brown Elephant go to AIDS research and to provide medical care to the LGBT community, so you’ll be making a difference while enjoying this unique shopping experience.
Wander through over 80 habitats of 1,500 species of marine life, from beluga whales to California sea lions. The Caribbean Reef exhibit plays a large part in drawing much of the 2 million visitors a year, making Shedd Aquarium Chicago’s most visited attraction.
The Field Museum
You can’t miss the Field Museum, where you’ll be transported back millions of years to when dinosaurs ruled the earth. Journey through the world’s history by visiting the Evolving Planet exhibit, and don’t miss a date with Sue, the world’s largest and best-preserved T-Rex.
Judy Istock Butterfly Haven
Outside the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, you can step into an enclosed space with beautiful trellis vines and a flowing waterfall to hang out with thousands of fluttering butterflies. The delicate beauties fly around the space freely, camouflaging themselves in the flowers and plants when they aren’t landing on your shoulder.
Are you even more excited about your trip now? Good! Chicago has much to offer in addition to these seven wonders. As soon as you arrive, you’ll be making memories you won’t soon forget.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.