You are currently viewing 13 Unmissable Issues To Do In Chicago For First Timers

13 Unmissable Issues To Do In Chicago For First Timers


This publish might include affiliate hyperlinks. We might obtain a small fee, for free of charge to you, for those who make a purchase order. Learn Disclosure.

Chicago is a superb place to go to to see world famend structure (with probably the greatest skylines on the earth), world-class museums and public artwork, lovely parks, style superb meals from world wide, and expertise the vastness of Lake Michigan.

With regards to discovering issues to do in Chicago, you’ll by no means run out of choices. That’s the great thing about this metropolis. It’s so dynamic and various, that every time you go to, there’s all the time one thing new and thrilling to discover.

If it’s your first time in Chicago and also you’re unsure what to do, then on this information I current to you probably the most unmissable sights for any first time customer, which is able to show you how to get a way of town and see it’s most iconic landmarks.

skyrises on lake in chicago
Picture by

A Go Citypass will prevent cash on 30+ Prime Chicago sights. Choose those you need. 3 cross sorts to swimsuit all vacationers. Click on right here for extra data.

Unmissable Issues To Do in Chicago

1. See the artwork in Millennium Park

people underneath a large bean

That is a tremendous art-filled park is true within the coronary heart of downtown Chicago.

See a free live performance, snap pictures of Cloud Gate, additionally extra extensively referred to as The Bean, simply benefit from the gardens, or seize a beer at huge outside beer backyard on the Park Grill.

There are additionally some iconic fountains in Millennium Park to take a look at. Crown Fountain is an element fountain, half interactive paintings, and encompasses a video sculpture behind a waterfall.

There’s additionally Grant Park and Wicker Park, that are two a lot cherished city parks within the metropolis.

2. Try the structure in The Loop

architecture in the loop

The Loop is what’s referred to as the center of the enterprise district. Through the week it’s filled with employees scurrying about.

The realm is stuffed with some nice structure just like the Willis Tower (Sears Tower), the Jeweler’s Constructing, the Cultural Heart, the Thompson Heart, The Board of Commerce and extra alongside the Chicago Riverwalk path.

For a special view, take the Chicago Structure Basis’s boat cruise on the Chicago River.

For superb structure, duck inside these buildings in The Loop for neat interiors (don’t neglect to lookup):

  • The Rookery
  • The Thompson Heart
  • The Cultural Heart
  • Macy’s (has a Tiffany Ceiling)
  • Contained in the Starbucks on Michigan Avenue

3. Stroll down Michigan Avenue

building with clock on Michigan ave chicago

Michigan Avenue is Chicago’s hottest buying road. The most well-liked stretch is nearly a mile lengthy (therefore it being known as the Magnificent Mile) and filled with all the favourite outlets like Macy’s, Nike, the Disney Retailer and the Apple Retailer.

Plus don’t miss two of my favourite buildings – the attractive Wrigley Constructing and it’s neighbor simply throughout the road, The Tribune Tower.

4. Go to Chicago Lakefront

young girl posing beside Lake Michigan Chicago

One among my favourite issues to do in Chicago is go to the massive, ocean-like lakefront. Stroll alongside the lakefront path or constitution a ship out on Lake Michigan – there are lots of methods to benefit from the lake.

On heat, sunny days people of all types can be out having fun with the lake by working, biking, curler blading, boating, strolling or simply sunning themselves.

Lease a motorbike and journey for miles north from Navy Pier, by Oak Avenue Seashore, to North Avenue Seashore (cease for a beer and a burger at Castaways on the Boat Home), watch some volleyball and benefit from the view of town.

5. Stroll round Museum Campus

exterior of field museum and colorful sign
Area Museum | Deposit Pictures

A spot for an exquisite stroll (and probably the greatest skyline views within the metropolis), is the museum campus.

It has a few of our nice museums from the Adler Planetarium to the Shedd Aquarium to the Area Museum of Historical past.

And proper close by, you possibly can’t miss the Artwork Institute of Chicago.

6. Discover the Chicago Neighborhoods

Chicago art murals Illinois

Chicago is a metropolis of neighborhoods. Nothing will provide you with a greater really feel for the actual metropolis than getting out of downtown by simply a few miles and venturing into the ‘hoods the place actual Chicagoans reside, work, and play.

My favorites are the village-like areas of Lincoln Sq. and Andersonville.

A cease in Wrigleyville is a should to see Wrigley Area (the second oldest baseball area within the U.S.) plus the neighborhood is stuffed with enjoyable bars and eating places.

a sign on a building
The Dwelling of the Chicago Cubs

Get on the Brown Line and journey north till the tip. You’ll cross by a number of Chicago’s younger and classy neighborhoods the place many people really reside.

Good stops to get off at for a stroll are Armitage Avenue for boutique outlets, Belmont for another scene. Desire a piercing or tattoo to recollect your go to to Chicago? That is the place for that…and different enjoyable fringe stuff.

Southport has a number of bars and eating places and has a cute Lakeview vibe.

Western is one in all my favourite ‘hoods, and residential to the charming Lincoln Sq.. The previous German neighborhood is now an eclectic space that also retains a little bit of European taste in its fundamental sq. and outside cafes.

Seize a tremendous pastry on the Austrian Cafe Selmarie, sit within the solar with a beer on the rooftop of Gene’s Sausage Store, or settle into a great ebook and glass of wine (and free wifi) on the locally-owned Ebook Cellar. Pure Chicago in a single ‘hood.

7. Try views from a skyscraper

view of a city
Willis Tower views Chicago

My finest insider recommendations on what to do in Chicago can be for an ideal view of town for the worth of a drink.

I like to recommend you skip the Chicago Remark Deck payment and go to the Signature Room Lounge on the 96th ground of the John Hancock Heart. You get superb views, however at a fraction of the worth.

One other fashionable place for views is Willis Tower Skydeck, often known as Skydeck Chicago, which is a spot to go for the adventurous individuals. On the 103rd ground, you possibly can stroll out onto a glass field deck, positioned 1,353 toes above the ground and increasing by 4.3 toes.

The Ledge, because it’s known as, is the place to go for an aerial view of Chicago, when you have the legs for it!

8. Hit the bars in Chicago

St PAtricks Day Chicago Green River (1)
Rooftop bar for St Patrick’s Day

Like eating places, there is no such thing as a scarcity of bars in Chicago. If the climate is sweet you should definitely go al fresco and check out one of many nice rooftop bars, beer gardens, or sidewalk cafes.

For posh and classy locations with wonderful cocktails and a complicated vibe, try the Signature Room and The Wit at Hilton Lodge, plus there are lots of bars alongside Hubbard Avenue. In the event you want sports activities bars, try The Globe Pub for soccer/soccer.

Some nice bars with an out of doors house/rooftops are Terrace 16 at Trump Tower, Studio Paris and Pegasus Rooftop.

Another nice full service eating places with an ideal backyard are Park Grill, Sheffield’s Beer Backyard, and Moody’s Pub.

9. Discover the theatre scene

neon theater lights chicago

Chicago’s reside theater scene rivals New York’s. For an ideal broadway present, try the various theatres within the Loop which are a part of “Broadway in Chicago.”

For low cost tickets, go to Sizzling Tix.

Dozens of well-known comedians similar to John Belushi, Gilda Radner, Invoice Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Mike Myers, Chris Farley, Stephen Colbert, and Tina Fey got here out of Chicago’s Second Metropolis. Go for an ideal comedy present.

10. Buy groceries in Chicago

Chicago Magnificent Mile and water tower
Procuring with Kalyra

For buying, head to Oak Avenue, simply on the north finish of Michigan Avenue. That is the place you go to window store, as you’d want numerous money to drop right here on title manufacturers like Gucci, Prada, and Barney’s New York.

State Avenue has been revived as that “nice road.” Beginning south of the river, you could find tons of inexpensive buying right here at fashionable outlets like Previous Navy, Without end 21, and the grand Marshall Area’s Division retailer (now Macy’s).

If you’re right here in summer season, don’t miss the Inexperienced Metropolis Market up in Lincoln Park each Saturday.

11. Tour a Frank Lloyd Wright dwelling

frederick c robie house
Frederick C Robie home | Deposit Pictures

In the event you’re a fan of structure, then you definitely’ve come to the appropriate metropolis. Chicago is well-known for having a number of the finest examples of contemporary structure in the US, and a pioneering architect that’s world well-known, is Frank Lloyd Wright.

Oak Park is the place the vast majority of Frank Lloyd Wright houses might be discovered, however additionally, you will discover some wonderful examples in Hyde Park and Downtown.

One of the simplest ways to find out about his life and legacy, in addition to see his architectural wonders, is on an architectural tour. You may tour his dwelling and studio, the Rookery, Unity Temple or Frederick. C Robbie Home. Try excursions right here!

12. Watch a band at Inexperienced Mill Jazz Membership

Green mill Jazz cafe neon sign
Inexperienced mill Jazz cafe | Deposit Pictures

One of the vital iconic golf equipment within the metropolis is Inexperienced Mill Jazz Membership, which is open to visitors each night time of the week and have reside music each night time.

They’re open in a while Fridays and Saturdays, and now have a restaurant.

On the third Sunday of each month, they’ve an Uptown Poetry Slam Sundays occasion.

This can be a money solely bar. Try the what’s on calendar to see who’s enjoying if you go to.

13. Try the Nationwide Museum of Mexican Artwork

Pilsen Mexican Independence Day Parade, chevrolet, monte Carlo, with mexican flag, going down the street
Plisen Mexican Independence Parade | Deposit Pictures

Opening its doorways in 1982, the Nationwide Museum of Mexican Artwork in Pilsen is the one museum devoted to the Mexican group of the USA.

The 48,000 square-foot facility is dwelling to three,600 years price of paintings from either side of the border.

Guests can admire Mexican artwork in all kinds, from pictures to textiles to theater and movie.

Annually in September, the Pilsen neighborhood hosts one of many nation’s largest Mexican Independence Day celebrations.

The place to Eat in Chicago

pizza pie on table
Jimmy’s Pizza Cafe

The most effective actions you are able to do in Chicago is eat. Chicago has a whole lot of eating places and bars of all varieties and ethnicities. After all it’s well-known for its deep-dish pizza, however there may be rather more than that.

From Ethiopian to Thai to sushi to Peruvian, you possibly can nearly discover something from all corners of the world.

Listed here are only a few concepts of some locations to eat. For some inexpensive, but tasty spots, try:

For a splurge attempt:

Nice areas for Ethnic, native joints:

  • Devon Avenue for Indian
  • North Broadway for Ethiopian
  • Argyle Avenue for Vietnamese
  • Milwaukee Avenue for Polish

The right way to Get To and Round Chicago

the l trail chicago

Chicago has two airports, O’Hare Worldwide and Halfway, and each are linked simply to town by the CTA practice. It’s tremendous simple and low-cost to get to town by way of the practice.

Chicago can also be the house of United Airways, so there are tons of their flights right here.

Southwest is one in all my favourite choices for cheaper flights between Chicago and plenty of different U.S. cities. Their on-line fares might be very low-cost. You may also take the Amtrak practice to and from Chicago to different cities within the USA together with all the way in which to California.

There are lengthy distance buses as properly, together with a budget journey, Mega Bus (with hit and miss opinions) to many different mid-western cities.

With regards to getting round, public transport is nice in Chicago – a lot so that you simply don’t want a automotive.

To get round, merely both stroll, journey a motorbike, or use the trains or buses. You may take the “L” often known as the CTA (Chicago Transit Authority), most locations it would be best to go.

Buses and trains use the identical “CTA card” (you could get out of a machine on the airport if you arrive) and fares are respectively low-cost.

Remember this cash saving tip: For one fare, you possibly can switch two occasions in a two hour interval.

Finest Time of Yr to Go to Chicago

Personally, I like all seasons, however Chicago can have a really chilly winter which is commonly beneath freezing. Particularly as Chicago is known for its wind, which will get bitterly chilly within the winter – it’s not known as The Windy Metropolis for no purpose.

The snow is fairly at Christmas time and there’s ice skating and the superb German Market in Daley Plaza.

However for probably the most comfy occasions of 12 months, I might say Spring, Summer time, and Fall are nice occasions to go to Chicago – between Could and September or October.

Ultimate Ideas

The Centennial Wheel Chicago Illinois-1080862

I’ve by no means lived wherever else the place so many residents love their metropolis. And I’ve by no means met a traveler that didn’t fall in love with Chicago as properly.

It’s very likeable – clear, pleasant, enjoyable, youthful – there’s a nice vitality right here and but so many are down-to-earth of their Midwest mentality.

There’s a nice satisfaction right here – everybody is aware of we reside in an ideal place and it’s an infectious angle. When it begins to get hotter, everybody comes out to take pleasure in this excellent, gleaming metropolis by the lake.

Even after touring the world, I nonetheless can’t get sufficient of it.

Writer Bio: Lisa Lubin is a three-time Emmy® Award profitable tv author, producer/director, photographer, and video guide. She paperwork her (mis)adventures on her weblog,, with images and articles from the street/practice/rickshaw/camel. Her writing and pictures has been revealed by the Wall Avenue Journal, the Chicago Tribune, Smithsonian and American Method Journal. She can also be the proprietor of LLmedia, a video consulting enterprise.

Excursions in Chicago

The place to Keep in Chicago

bed in hotel

Kalyra and I stayed on the Cambria Lodge and Suites (the Magnificent Mile location), and the situation was wonderful.

We had been a few blocks south of the river and solely a five-minute stroll to Millennium Park. It’s additionally proper close to public transportation, such because the “L” practice line.

The rooms had been comfy and quiet and the lavatory massive and the bathe good – priorities. Kalyra commented a number of occasions how a lot she favored the lodge.

We had been so busy we didn’t use any of the amenities however additionally they have health middle, a bar and a restaurant.

See costs and availability for Cambria Lodge and Suites right here!

You may also use the map beneath to seek out your best trip rental or lodge in Chicago.

Pin To Save On Pinterest

Do you might have any recommendations on what to do in Chicago? What are you most excited to do? Tell us within the feedback beneath.