Are you visiting Chicago for the first time? There are a few things that you just can’t miss! Like the Chicago-style deep-dish pizza, A walk by the ‘The Bean’, A stroll by the Chicago River and so much more. Keep reading to know the things you just can’t miss and the food you have to try!
Chicago a.k.a Chi-town a.k.a the windy city, makes you fall in love with its architecture, vibes, views, and if you are lucky enough the weather! Summer of Chicago is what a dream city would be like. But, don’t get too excited because you can see all the seasons over a weekend, only in Chicago. Yeah, our visit to Chicago made us understand why Chicago has all the weather memes to its credit. but, on an excellent sunny/ clear day in Chicago, this city makes you fall in love with itself.
The weather aside, let’s talk about all the amazing things Chicago offers. The infamous Chicago Skyline, restaurants and bars- by the river, showing off the skyline, rooftops with amazing views of the city, the architecture and history, and the museums. Let’s dive into the must-do’s list in Chicago.
Also, for amazing recommendations on restaurants and bars visit the blog post ‘Restaurants and Bars not to miss in Chicago!’ here!
Must-see and must-do’s around the Chi-Town:
1. Millennium Park:
You have to visit the most famous and eye-catching park in Chi-town. Located in the heart of Chicago Downtown The mIllennium Park has so much to offer. Take a walk by the park and see “The Cloud Gate” aka The Bean, The Crown Fountain, catch a music show or movie screening at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, grill in the summer, or ice skate in the winters during Christmas. The Bean is a Public attraction and is free to go see.
2. Enjoy a 360 degrees view of Chicago at the John Hancock Building:
Chi-town is known for its skyline and what better view of the city than from the top of 94 floors? You can take an elevator to the 94th floor of the John Hancock Center (one of the tallest buildings of Chi-Town), and visit the observation deck for some amazing views of the city. The 360 Chicago observation deck opens up to amazing views of the city.
You can even enjoy a drink or two at the Bar on the Observation Deck with the amazing views. Another fun thing to try here is THE TILT- A glass platform block where you stand and it tilts outside of the building, leaning you downwards to give a view of Mag Mile from 94 Floors above. It sure will make your heart skip a beat. I admit even I was a little startled and could not stand straight (without bending) but the view was amazing.
The tickets for the observation deck are around $30 and if you combine it with tilt it is $39. To some people, it’s not worth it but to me, I would definitely say it’s worth the experience. After all, where do you get to experience the thrill of a faceoff with height? Another way to access them is to buy the Chicago city pass or the go-city pass which is what we did since we were exploring all we could while we were there. The City Pass included both the 360 observation deck and tilt for us along with skipping the line. For any more details on planning a visit click here.
A walk around the city’s most posh street with all the famous retail shops, fancy restaurants, and luxurious hotels is a must. The Magnificent Mile or the Mag Mile is a part of Michigan Avenue along the Chicago River. While walking you can spot some of the famous landmarks like the Wrigley Building, Trump Tower, John Hancock Center, London House, etc.
Mag mile ranks amongst one of the most expensive places to live in the US. To know all that you can do when visiting Mag Mile click here.
4. Skydeck at Willis Tower formerly known as the Sears tower:
Chicago is known for its tall buildings. The Willis Tower, formerly known as Sears Tower was the world’s tallest building for some time. A visit to the top of WillisTower to get a Bird’s eye view of the city and its hustle is a must. The Skydeck at Willis Tower takes you to the cloud.
The Skydeck is located on the 103rd floor of the Willis Tower. The first trip to Chi-town without a visit here is incomplete. Panoramic windows on all sides give an amazing view of the city and its skyline.
The Ledge is a glass box enclosure that extends about a meter from the facade. The glass balconies extend out, and you can step on them which gives a mesmerizing feeling of walking in the air. A visit to the Ledge is an experience not to miss. Although it is timed and you just get a couple of minutes to enjoy the expansive views of the city and to click the pictures from the top of the city, it is totally worth it! It is a must-visit stop when in Chicago.
Tickets to Skydeck with timed access to the Ledge cost $42 for adults. Another way to access the Skydeck and Ledge is with the Chicago city pass or go-city pass. We used the go-city Cit pass since we were exploring all we could while we were there. For any more details on planning a visit click here. To know more about what all Chicago city pass includes and how to explore the best of Chicago with the Chicago pass or the go-city Chicago pass visit here.
5. Architecture Tour by the boat:
The cruise/ boat takes you on a ride to know the history of the city, revealing hidden architectural gems and the city’s renowned landmarks. The architectural river cruise sails down the Chicago River, with guided insights into how the architecture and landmarks have taken shape over the years. It is about an hour’s tour.
They tell you all about the history of the City, from the Great Fire of 1871 to the thriving metropolis that it is today. The Trump Tower, Wrigley Building, and tribune tower are some of the famous buildings that the tour takes you around. In the end, they also take you to Marina City to enjoy the amazing sight of the Chicago skyline.
Tickets for the cruise range from $46-50 for adults. But we used the go-city pass to enjoy the attractions. To know about the city passes and how to explore the best with the Chicago pass or the go-city Chicago pass visit here.
6. A Stroll by the Chicago Riverwalk:
The iconic Chicago Riverwalk is a perfect combination of leisure, beauty, and chill. A nice sunny day by the riverwalk sipping some drinks and watching how locals love to party on their boats is a perfect summer evening soiree.
Enjoy dining at one of the amazing restaurants by the river like Pizza Portifino, Beatnik by the River, etc. Day or Night the Riverwalk is picturesque, vibrant, and always has a vibe!
7. Navy Pier and ferries Wheel
The Navy pier is about a km long pier on the shoreline of Lake Michigan. The Navy Pier also has many fun outdoor attractions along with the Ferris wheel.
8. Explore the best rooftop bars with a view
Don’t miss out on some amazing rooftop bars in different parts of downtown. Be sure to visit at least a few and enjoy the amazing views of the Bean, the Willis Tower, etc. My favorite: Cindy’s rooftop with the balcony overlooking the Cloud Gate, Aba overlooking the Willis Tower, The London House rooftop bar overlooking the Chicago River, the Trump Tower, and many other famous buildings.
A trip to famous museums is a must on your trip. Head over to the Field’s museum to have a look at Sue, the Adler Planetarium,
10. Chicago-style deep-dish pizza:
Yes, it is a must!! famously there are 2 main spots to try out deep-dish pizza: Lou Malnati’s and Giordano’s. Make sure to go to one of these to try the famous pizza. We tried Lou Malnatis, I enjoyed it while I ate it. But it is not for a weak stomach like mine. I had a bad stomach ache later but it could just be because of all the butter and the heavy crust! Irrespective I wanted to try it I did, but I would always prefer the traditional pizza over it!
Don’t miss the blog post ‘Restaurants and Bars not to miss in Chicago!’ for some amazing recommendations on restaurants and bars to visit!