Top Places to Visit on Your Next Trip to Chicago

by Oscar Collins
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Chicago should be on everyone’s list of interesting go-to travel destinations. And with good reasons. There’s a variety of attractions and cultural amenities in the Windy City, offering a spectrum of sights and experiences. From art museums to green spaces and outdoor views, you’ll find no shortage of options for your itinerary. Here are some of the top landmarks and attractions to check out if you’re looking for some inspiration for your next trip to Chicago.

The downtown Chicago Theater (Photo by Photo by Chait Goli)

Navy Pier

Navy Pier is one of the best-known (and free!) attractions you can visit in Chicago. The boardwalk, which overlooks Lake Michigan, offers stunning views of the shoreline.

There’s also a Ferris wheel, if you want to take a ride and go even higher. The shopping, theater, eats and more can’t be beaten, either.

trip to Chicago

Navy Pier has something for everyone (Photo on Pexels)

Museum of Contemporary Art

The Museum of Contemporary Art, established in 1967, is one of the largest venues for contemporary art in the world. If you’re a fan of modernism and new, exciting exhibitions, this could be a worthwhile activity to add to your trip. Be sure to enjoy time in River North neighborhood as well.

Tickets start at just $15, and you can reserve them in advance so there’s no fear of missing out.

Volo Auto Museum

The Volo Auto Museum, which is located on the outskirts of Chicago, offers an array of attractions for gearheads and those who love everything about cars.

The museum is accessible through public transportation, making it a great summer activity or day trip for Chicago natives and visitors alike.

(Photo by Nancy Zaffaro)

Garfield Park Conservatory

Big fans of plants and botanical gardens must check out the Garfield Park Conservatory. It features a greenhouse filled with clean air and beautiful plant life that spans 12 acres, making it an ideal daylong destination for anyone with a green thumb (or who wishes they had one!).

All told, the grounds stretch for more than 184 acres and include a swimming pool, athletic fields, and other appealing amenities.

The Art Institute of Chicago

The Art Institute of Chicago, founded in 1879, is one of the oldest and most celebrated art museums in the country.

It’s open Thursday through Monday, so make sure you plan your visit accordingly before arriving. More than 1.5 million people visit this attraction each year, speaking to its broad and lasting appeal.

trip to Chicago Nancy Zaffaro

The Art Institute of Chicago (Photo by Nancy Zaffaro)

Millennium Park

Millennium Park is to Chicago what Central Park is to New York — at least, that’s how residents typically see it. It’s home to Cloud Gate, also known as The Bean, which is an attraction you won’t want to miss.

Also, be sure to visit Lurie Garden and Crown Fountain for additional distinctive sights and sounds.

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The Bean in Millennium Park (Photo by Bhargava Marripati)

Randolph Street Market

Do you love flea markets and shopping? If so, you need to check out Randolph Street Market. More than 250 vendors offer everything from vintage clothes and housewares to art and delicious foods.

Admission is only $10 if you pay online or $12 at the door, which makes it a perfectly affordable summer activity even if you don’t buy anything.

The American Writers Museum

Fans of literature, the written word, and history will enjoy the American Writers Museum, which has interactive exhibits, informative artifacts, and all kinds of relics.

Whether you plan to bring the kids along for a bit of education or you want to take it all in solo, this is a great place to find some peace and quiet while learning a bit more about your favorite writers.

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The Chicago skyline offers sweeping views (Photo by Photo by Mark G on Pexels)

Bloomingdale Trail

If you’re looking for a great place to take a walk or a run and enjoy the sights and views of The Windy City, Bloomingdale Trail — also known as the 606 — is one of the best places to do it.

This three-mile elevated greenway lets you enjoy all the views the city has to offer. In fact, there are even public events during the warmer months that take place here.

Planning Your Successful Chicago Trip

Chicago has so much to offer, from arts and culture to niche museums. There really is something for everyone in the Windy City. Whether you start at The Bean or on the 606, you can enjoy Chicago to the fullest no matter where you go with this handy list and just a bit of planning.

trip to Chicago Nancy Zaffaro

The courtyard restaurant at the Art Institute of Chicago (Photo Nancy Zaffaro)

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-All photos as credited. Cover photo by Chait Goli.

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