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Best Places to Visit In Chicago

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Famous Attractions and Things-to-do

Museum of Science and Industry

The Field Museum, part of Chicago's Museum Campus, is a full-day outingThe Museum of Science and Industry is a full-day’s worth of fun and adventure. You can ride 50 feet down into a mine shaft and see how coal is mined; visit the Henry Crown Space Center, featuring the Apollo Space Craft, a lunar module trainer and a mock-up space shuttle; or board a real WWII German Submarine. Railroad buffs can board the Silver Streak and take a trip back to 1934 as a passenger on the Pioneer Zephyr.

Little princesses (of all ages) will enjoy a visit to Colleen Moore’s Fairy Castle, complete with miniature artwork, tapestries, and chandeliers made of real diamonds, emeralds, pearls and other exotic materials.

If you need to sit and relax a bit, perhaps a visit to Yesterday's Main Street (circa 1910) is just the ticket. Here you can indulge your sweet tooth at the old-fashioned ice cream parlor (open seasonally), or watch a classic silent movie at the Nickelodeon Theater.

Speaking of movies, the museum has an Omnimax, a five-story, domed, wrap-around theater that shows a variety of thrilling, educational programs that may shake you to the bones.  It's a extra fee, but well worth it.  Programs vary through the year, so check the Museum's website for details on current shows and schedules.

Located at 57th Street and Lakeshore Drive, the Museum of Science and Industry opened in 1933.  It was the first museum in North America to employ interactive exhibits and today features 14 acres of them, along with over 35,000 interesting artifacts. For more information on visiting, see the museum's official website .

Navy Pier

Navy Pier has rides, food, shopping and fun for the whole familyNavy Pier, located at Grand Avenue and the lakefront, was originally built as a naval air-training facility during World War II. The pier is now a full-scale entertainment center with both indoor and outdoor attractions for the entire family.

The outside pier area features amusement park rides, a miniature golf course, stages for live entertainment, as well as a variety of sightseeing ships, including a tall ship, thrilling speedboat rides and dinner cruises. Inside there are restaurants, shops, the Amazing Chicago fun house, the Crystal Gardens, two museums, an IMAX theater and more.

Navy Pier also provides a dazzling fireworks display every Wednesday and Saturday all summer long. For a more detailed list of the Pier’s attractions, go to

Adler Planetarium

The Adler Planetarium, located at 1300 S. Lake Shore Dr., was the first planetarium built in America. It features three full-size theaters where the viewer is surrounded by the heavens as a narrator describes how stars and planets evolve. The Planetarium also houses a variety of interactive space science exhibits, including telescopes. 

In addition, the Adler has three theaters showing highly entertaining and informative programs about space and space science geared to audiences of different ages.  The shows vary throughout the year, so check the official website for "what's on."

The Planetarium is open seven days a week. See the official website

Willis (Sears) Tower

The Willis (Sears) Tower has an observation deck that provides excellent views of the cityThe view from the Skydeck on the 103rd floor of the Willis Tower is spectacular. On a clear day, you can see four states and a panoramic view of Chicago and Lake Michigan. In fact, if you’re not afraid of heights, you might dare to step out on the “Ledge,” where you can look straight down 1,353 ft, and get a true aerial view of the city below. The Skydeck Ledge is a glass box that hangs 4.3 feet out into the air.

Along with spectacular views the Tower’s Skydeck features interactive displays that give information about what you see from the deck, and a movie about the building of the Sears Tower. For further information go to

John G. Shedd Aquarium

The John G. Shedd Aquarium, located at 1200 South Lake Shore Drive, is considered one of the largest indoor aquariums in the World. It houses more than 25,000 fish in approximately 5,000,000 gallons of water. Three of the Shedd’s exhibits replicate unique aquatic environments around the world, and take the visitor on a journey through lagoons, mangrove forests and wild rivers.

There is also an aquatic show featuring the Aquarium’s more talented residents, including the Aquariums famous Beluga whales (a smaller, compact whale species).

For specific information about parking, directions, cost of admission and hours of operation, go to

The John Hancock Center

The top of the Hancock Center is a great place for viweing Chicago and a fine place for dining.The John Hancock Center soars high above Michigan Avenue’s Miracle Mile. A quick ride on the fastest elevators in America (1,000 feet in 40 seconds) will take you to the Hancock Observatory, where you can see up to 80 miles in any direction (depending on atmospheric conditions). The city’s only open-air viewing platform provides  a free multimedia tour narrated by actor David Schwimmer, interactive telescopes, and an 80 foot history wall to complete the experience.

The Observatory is open until 11 p.m. (last admittance 10:30), so hang around and enjoy the sunset or the twice weekly fireworks displays at Navy Pier during the summer. Another great way to catch the view from the John Hancock Center is while dining at its lofty restaurants, the Lavazza Expression Café (at the Observatory), or the Signature Room at the 95th.

In the winter months visitors can enjoy the World’s highest skating rink on the 94th floor of the John Hancock Center. Free skating lessons and rental skates are available.

The John Hancock Building stands 100 stories and 1,127 feet to the top floor. Another 500 feet is added for antenna, which brings the official height to 1,627 ft. It is the fourth tallest building in Chicago and one of only two skyscrapers with a public viewing deck.

The Hancock Center is located at 875 N. Michigan Avenue. For specific information about ticket prices and hours see the official website

Buckingham Fountain

Buckingham Fountain is beautiful day or nightBuckingham Fountain n Grant Park  is one of Chicago’s most popular attractions. It was built by Edward H. Bennett in 1927 to represent Lake Michigan. The four horses surrounding the fountain represent the four states that border the Lake: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin.  Bennett based his design on the Latona Basin in the gardens of Versailles, France.

Every hour, the center jet on the fountain shoots a stream of water one hundred-feet into the airChicago's Buckingham Fountain is one of the largest fountains in the world with a capacity of 1.5 million gallons of water. It recycles approximately 14,100 gallons of water for redisplay each minute.

The fountain runs daily from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. from mid-April until October (depending on the weather).  Every hour on the hour the center jet shoots a stream of water 150 ft into the air.  Buckingham fountain is a particularly spectacular scene  at night as the fountain  is illuminated.


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Places  Described On This Page

Museum of Science and Industry
Navy Pier
Adler Planetarium
Willis (Sears) Tower
Shedd Aquarium
Hancock Center
Buckingham Fountain


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