Chicago is a cosmopolitan city full of opportunities to explore - here a just a few suggestions on what to do when you visit this remarkable city.
This is the site of one of the city's most famous pieces of public art, Cloud Gate ("The Bean"). The reflective surface has drawn people to the park since 2006, but there's so much more to see and do. Splash around in the virtual reality world of Crown Fountain, which features the faces of more than 1,000 Chicagoans spouting at you. Rock climb and skate the ribbon in Maggie Daley Park. Take a photo with the lions in front of the Art Institute of Chicago, where you can easily spend the rest of the day browsing one of the most impressive art collections in the world. Wander south to Grant Park, where Buckingham Fountain's dramatic water shows sync light, music and action every 20 minutes. And don't forget to stroll Chicago's nearby lakefront.
Tours of the City
Touring Chicago's waterways is breathtaking, but there are so many other ways to experience the city. Try different modes of transportation, like bikes, buses or Segway. History buffs will love the city's storied past, and there are all kinds of tours for food and beer experiences.
Try the free Chicago Greeter service, where volunteer locals will walk you through their favorite spots. Scheduled tours throughout the summer will take you on tours through Millennium Park and different Chicago neighborhoods. And you can choose which neighborhood you want to see and language you want the tour conducted in with advance notice.
Some of the best views of Chicago are from the water -- the Chicago River and Lake Michigan. Boat tours allow you to learn more about the city's history, get the inside scoop on Chicago's rich architectural legacy, watch the fireworks display at Navy Pier, or simply take in the sights.
Chicago's Museum of Science & Industry is the largest science museum in the Western Hemisphere (stand in the midst of a tornado, climb into a U-boat, explore a mine -- and that's just for starters). The Art Institute of Chicago houses the largest collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art outside the Louvre. The Field Museum is home to Titanosaur, the largest dinosaur to roam the Earth. Feed sharks, encounter penguins and be a Trainer for a Day at The Shedd Aquarium, as you overlook the waters of Lake Michigan, or view the stars at the lakefront Adler Planetarium.
Visit the 104th floor and step out onto The Ledge at SkyDeck, a glass box that extends four feet from the Willis Tower facade. For more stunning views, go north to 360CHICAGO at 875 N Michigan (formerly the John Hancock Building). Try out TILT, a glass pane that tilts you out over the city from 96 floors up in a little iconic Chicago food culture.
The Magnificent Mile is one of Chicago's most famous shopping districts, and you'll find flagship stores along the stretch of shops. Nearby, wander along State Street, where you can visit the original Marshall Field's, now Macy's.