15 Best Places To Visit In Chicago (2024)

Chicago, a vibrant city in the heart of the United States, offers a plethora of exciting destinations for travelers If you’re planning a visit to Chicago and wondering where to start, you’re in for a treat. In this guide, I explore the 15 best places to visit in Chicago, each offering a unique and unforgettable experience.

Best Places To Visit In Chicago

From iconic landmarks like Millennium Park and the Navy Pier to cultural gems like the Art Institute of Chicago, this vibrant city has something for everyone.

Whether you’re a history buff, art enthusiast, or simply looking for a taste of Chicago’s renowned food scene, our list has got you covered. So, lace up your walking shoes and get ready to discover the beauty, history, and excitement that make Chicago a must-visit destination!

1. Millennium Park

Millennium Park is a renowned urban park located in Chicago, Illinois. It features iconic attractions such as the famous Cloud Gate sculpture, affectionately known as “The Bean,” the interactive Crown Fountain, and the striking Jay Pritzker Pavilion.

Millennium Park

This vibrant park offers a mix of art, architecture, green spaces, and entertainment, making it a beloved destination for both residents and visitors.

With its stunning views of the city skyline and diverse array of activities, Millennium Park is a must-visit spot for anyone exploring Chicago.

Key Point

Best Things to do
  • Cloud Gate (The Bean): Marvel at the iconic reflective sculpture that has become a symbol of Millennium Park. Take unique photos of yourself and the surrounding skyline mirrored on its surface.
  • Jay Pritzker Pavilion: Check the schedule for concerts, performances, and events at this outdoor amphitheater designed by Frank Gehry. Enjoy a show or simply relax on the lawn.
  • Lurie Garden: Take a peaceful stroll through this beautifully landscaped garden featuring a variety of plants, flowers, and a serene water feature. It’s a great spot for nature enthusiasts and those seeking a tranquil escape.
  • Crown Fountain: Cool off in the interactive Crown Fountain, featuring two towering LED video screens that display the changing faces of Chicago residents. It’s a fun place for both kids and adults to splash around.
  • Maggie Daley Park: Adjacent to Millennium Park, this family-friendly park offers a range of activities including a rock climbing wall, mini-golf, and a unique playground. It’s a great place for outdoor recreation and picnics.
  • Art Installations: Keep an eye out for temporary and seasonal art installations throughout the park. Millennium Park often hosts rotating exhibits and sculptures that add to the cultural vibrancy of the space.
  • BP Bridge: Walk or bike across the BP Bridge for scenic views of the park and the Chicago skyline. The bridge, designed by Frank Gehry, provides a picturesque crossing over Columbus Drive.
Tourist Attractions:
  • Cloud Gate (The Bean)
  • Crown Fountain
  • Jay Pritzker Pavilion
  • Lurie Garden
  • Maggie Daley Park
  • Millennium Monument
  • Wrigley Square
  • BP Pedestrian Bridge
Where to stay?
  • The Blackstone, Autograph Collection
  • Chicago Athletic Association Hotel
  • Hyatt Regency Chicago
  • Palmer House, a Hilton Hotel
  • Virgin Hotels Chicago
  • 201 E Randolph St, Chicago
  • 6 AM to 11 PM

2. Art Institute of Chicago

The Art Institute of Chicago is a fantastic place where you can see amazing art! Located in the heart of Chicago, this museum is like a treasure chest filled with paintings, sculptures, and all kinds of beautiful creations.

Art Institute of Chicago

It’s a big building with lots of rooms, each holding special artworks from different times and places. People from all around the world come to visit and admire the incredible masterpieces inside.

With its rich and extensive collection, the Art Institute of Chicago offers a unique opportunity to explore and appreciate the world of art in all its forms.

Key Point

Best Things to do
  • Explore the Impressionist Collection: Discover masterpieces by renowned artists like Monet, Renoir, and Van Gogh in the museum’s impressive collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works.
  • Visit the Modern Wing: Immerse yourself in contemporary art by exploring the Modern Wing, which features a diverse range of 20th and 21st-century artworks, including pieces by Picasso, Matisse, and Calder.
  • Marvel at the Thorne Miniature Rooms: Experience the fascinating Thorne Miniature Rooms, showcasing incredibly detailed and historically accurate miniature interiors from different periods and cultures.
  • Admire the Ancient Egyptian Collection: Step back in time and explore the Ancient Egyptian collection, featuring mummies, artifacts, and sculptures that provide insights into the rich history of this civilization.
  • Attend Special Exhibitions: Check out the museum’s rotating special exhibitions, featuring a variety of art forms and styles, ensuring there’s always something new and exciting to see during your visit.
  • Participate in Educational Programs: Take advantage of the museum’s educational programs, including lectures, workshops, and guided tours, to enhance your understanding and appreciation of the artworks on display.
  • Relax in the Sculpture Garden: Take a break and stroll through the museum’s outdoor Sculpture Garden, featuring iconic sculptures set amidst a tranquil environment—an ideal spot for reflection and relaxation.
Tourist Attractions:
  • The Art Institute of Chicago
  • Millennium Park
  • Grant Park
  • Buckingham Fountain
  • Museum Campus (Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum, Adler Planetarium)
  • Cloud Gate (The Bean)
  • Navy Pier
  • Chicago Riverwalk
  • Chicago Cultural Center
  • Magnificent Mile (high-end shopping district)
Where to stay?
  • The Palmer House Hilton
  • The Blackstone, Autograph Collection
  • Congress Plaza Hotel
  • Virgin Hotels Chicago
  • Silversmith Hotel Chicago Downtown
  • 111 S Michigan Ave, Chicago
  • 10 AM to 5 PM

3. Riverwalk

Riverwalk is a beautiful and serene place where you can enjoy the tranquility of nature. It’s like a special pathway next to the San Antonio River, surrounded by shops, restaurants, and vibrant scenery.

Imagine strolling along the riverbanks, enjoying the charming atmosphere, and taking in the unique sights and sounds.


The Riverwalk is not just a walkway; it’s a whole experience, filled with history, culture, and delightful moments.

From boat rides to delicious food, the Riverwalk is a must-visit destination that offers a perfect blend of relaxation and excitement.

Key Point

Best Things to do
  • Stroll along the Riverwalk: Take a leisurely walk along the scenic Riverwalk, enjoying the picturesque views of the river and surrounding architecture.
  • Explore Museums: Visit the various museums along the Riverwalk, such as the Museum Reach or the San Antonio Museum of Art, to delve into local culture and history.
  • Riverboat Cruise: Experience the river from a different perspective by taking a riverboat cruise. Learn about the city’s history while enjoying a relaxing ride.
  • Dine at Riverfront Restaurants: Enjoy a meal at one of the many restaurants with riverside seating. Savor local cuisine while taking in the ambiance of the river.
  • Shop at Rivercenter Mall: Indulge in some retail therapy at the Rivercenter Mall, located conveniently along the Riverwalk, offering a variety of shops and boutiques.
  • Enjoy Live Music: Many bars and restaurants along the Riverwalk feature live music. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the tunes while soaking in the atmosphere.
  • Riverwalk Barges: Take a ride on one of the river barges for a guided tour, providing insights into the history and attractions along the Riverwalk.
  • Relax in Riverfront Parks: Find a quiet spot in one of the riverfront parks to unwind, have a picnic, or simply enjoy the natural surroundings.
Tourist Attractions:
  • The Alamo
  • San Fernando Cathedral
  • La Villita Historic Arts Village
  • Arneson River Theatre
  • Shops at Rivercenter
  • Hemisfair Park
  • Museum Reach
  • Pearl District
  • Riverboat Cruises
  • Tower of the Americas
Where to stay?
  • Hyatt Regency San Antonio
  • Marriott Plaza San Antonio
  • Hotel Valencia Riverwalk
  • Mokara Hotel and Spa
  • Drury Plaza Hotel Riverwalk
  • Omni La Mansión del Rio
  • Wyndham San Antonio Riverwalk
  • Grand Hyatt San Antonio
  • Embassy Suites by Hilton San Antonio Riverwalk
  • The Westin Riverwalk San Antonio
  • Chicago Riverwalk, Chicago
  • 6 AM to 11 PM


  • EVE Arnold

    EVE Arnold is a Blogger in the USA Travel section at Best Places to Travel where he writes and edits travel guides, tours and articles.

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