One of Chicago’s greatest achievements is its skyline, complete with architectural stunners such as the Wrigley Building, Willis Tower and Trump International Hotel & Tower. Float down the Chicago River on an architectural boat tour by kayak or cruise ship, or go sky high by helicopter tour. Check out one of the eye-opening options from one of the 85 Chicago Architecture Foundation tours, offered an astonishing 6,000 times per year. Get swept up in panoramic views of the city from 103 stories up at The Ledge at Skydeck Chicago or from the 94th floor of the TILT experience at 360° CHICAGO (formerly John Hancock Observatory).
There are over 500 parks and gardens to explore in Chicago, but stretched along the lakefront are three of our most prominent green spaces. Art-filled Millennium Park, where the iconic Cloud Gate sculpture resides, is fresh off its 10th anniversary celebration and is as stunning as ever. Grant Park, home to Buckingham Fountain, gardens and open play spaces, is still "Chicago's Front Yard." And further north Lincoln Park, which at 1,200 acres is larger than New York’s Central Park, has no shortage of attractions: Lincoln Park Zoo, Lincoln Park Conservatory and Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool being just some of them.
Art, animals, history, space and science are all well-represented in Chicago's 60 museums. Voted the "Number One Museum in the World" in the 2014 TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice Awards, the expansive Art Institute of Chicago woos art lovers who revel in its permanent collection of 300,000 works.
Nearby, Chicago's Museum Campus brings an impressive trifecta of attractions to the lakefront: See the largest, most complete T. rex at The Field Museum, meet the beluga whales at Shedd Aquarium and journey through the expansive universe at the Adler Planetarium. Further south, the Museum of Science and Industry is the biggest science museum in the Western Hemisphere.
Gallery spaces are lined with rotating exhibitions at the Chicago Cultural Center, a piece of art itself worth a visit just to see the world's largest Tiffany stained-glass dome. At 90 art galleries and 20 art centers, discover works from local, national and international artists.
Scour the streets of downtown and outdoor spaces across the city to see a sampling of the 700+ public art works. Arts districts such as River North, Pilsen and Bridgeport pack in multiple stops, while you can use special open house events like First Fridays to build your itinerary. Even bigger events, EXPO Chicago (September) and SOFA | Sculpture Objects Functional Art and Design (November) are just two of the highlights for the year.
Celebrity chefs? Check. World-renowned restaurants? Check. Ethnic dining from around the globe? Check. Chicago's dining scene is unparalleled. From lavish cuisine to deep dish pizza, one thing is for certain in Chicago: an appetite is required.
From shopaholics and sports enthusiasts to thrill seekers and foodies, Chicago has something for everyone.
Photo Courtesy of Chicago skyline @ Wikipedia.