Illinois Things to Do

  • Chicago River Cruise
    Chicago River Cruise
    by riorich55
  • The Bean in Millennium Park
    The Bean in Millennium Park
    by riorich55
  • Serpentine bridge
    Serpentine bridge
    by leics

Illinois Things to Do

  • Willis Tower (Formerly Sears Tower)

    Chicago Things to Do

    When it was built, Willis Tower was the tallest skyscraper in the world. It still lays claim to that title, being as its extended radio masts stretch up higher than any other building, but officially the Taipei 101 building has sneaked into the lead. Willis Tower does, however, at 412 m (1,353 ft) up, have the highest observation deck of any other...

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  • Main Street

    Galena Things to Do

    Take your time walking along Main Street. If you're tired of shopping, just look around at the buildings. You'll see nearly a dozen styles. Details will begin to show up as you relax and look up. There are differences in windows, cornices, the dentile (may be spelled wrong, as I just learned about them), roof lines, and many other details. Some...

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  • Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site

    Illinois Things to Do

    This is one of the most fantastic sites in the US you have probably never heard of. This city was built by the Mississippian Culture around AD 700 and was at the time the largest city north of Mexico. The center of the city was a great pyramid, flanked by other pyramids and platforms.

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  • Michigan Avenue

    Chicago Things to Do

    Walking along Michigan Avenue you can see Water Tower Plaza - a huge shopping mall that has a Disney store and other stores. "Filenes Bargain Basement" is supposed to be discount name-brands. You will see the Old Water Tower that is one of only two buildings to have survived the great Chicago Fire. There is a nice bookstore on the corner called...

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  • Millennium Park

    Chicago Things to Do

    Chicago's Millennium Park is shrouded in controversy. Through delay and ballooning budget, it became known as "next Millennium Park". Costs spiralled from a proposed budget of just $10 million dollars, to an amazing half a billion. However, for that money, the city of Chicago got itself an impressive waterfront park, which has developed into one of...

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  • John Hancock Center

    Chicago Things to Do

    The voice in the lift up the 314 meters to the Hancock Center's observation deck boasted that the skyscraper was the "most recognizable building in the world". Now I think the Hancock Tower is a fantastic looking building, but if they think it is more recognizable than the Taj Mahal, the Empire State Building, or the Eiffel Tower, to name a few,...

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  • Navy Pier

    Chicago Things to Do

    There is so much to see and do at the Navy Pier! This is an extremly diverse place to visit. it's part amusement park, part ship yard, part shopping destination and all tourist destination! Harry Carry's is a great restaurant! They have a macaroni & cheese that'll knock you out! Thye steak I had was one of the most tender EVER. Well worth the wait...

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  • Shedd Aquarium

    Chicago Things to Do

    This is an impressive aquarium in the Museum Campus next to the Field Museum and Adler Planetarium. It has "stingray touch" where one can touch a stingray and beluga whales among other things. It is also an impressive building in its own right.

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  • Field Museum of Natural History

    Chicago Things to Do

    This is a large and varied museum of natural and human history. It has Sue, a Tyrannosaurus Rex dinosaur fossil skeleton, part of an Egyptian tomb rebuilt along with other Egyptian artifacts, various similar displays and artifacts from around the world. For the U.S., in particular (which generally is very weak on museums compared to the UK, Turkey,...

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  • Art Institute

    Chicago Things to Do

    One of my favorite things to visit at the Art Institute are the vibrant blue Chagall designed "America Windows" which were installed at the Art Institute in 1977. They were designed by Chagall to celebrate our nation's bicentennial in 1976 and after hearing of the death of Mayor Richard J. Daley (Daley the elder who died in 1976, not Richard M....

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  • Grant Park - Buckingham Fountain

    Chicago Things to Do

    One of its famous attractions at the Grand Park is the Buckingham Fountain which was built in 1927 in honor of Clarence Buckingham. The design was inspired by a fountain found in Versailles Palace in France. It is considered as one of the World´s largest Water Fountain with a basin that measures about 280 feet in diameter and height of 23 feet...

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  • Chinatown

    Chicago Things to Do

    The Chicago Chinatown is I imagine a quite smalll Chinatown compared to other cities in the US. It's well worth a visit and easy to get there using the subway. Easy to reach. I stayed for about an hour or so, checking the tourist shops with alll the Asian artifacts.

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  • Wrigley Field - Chicago Cubs

    Chicago Things to Do

    During the baseball season (end of March - beginning of October), going to a Cubs game is THE thing to do in Chicago. Especially on a Friday, where the game usually starts around 1pm. Tickets are sold all over the internet but I recommend buying them in advance on the official Cubs website. Also, sit in the bleachers: it's the most fun area where...

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  • Lincoln Park and Brookfield Zoos

    Chicago Things to Do

    Traveling with kiddies? On a budget? Here's a fun day out for you! Lincoln Park Zoo has been around forever, and is completely free for people both big and small to enjoy. There are enough critters to keep the tots happy for hours, and you can really save some $$ by bringing a picnic lunch for noshing on the grounds. All-in-all, it's one of the...

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  • Lake Michigan & Lincoln Park

    Chicago Things to Do

    The conservatory and gardens of Lincoln Park are a nice escape from the noise and traffic of downtown and are free for the rambling. Greenery and exotic florals abound in all shapes and colors inside the glassed-in greenhouse, and seasonal varieties bloom in the lily pool, Grandma's and Great Gardens. Fun for all ages to combine with nearby...

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  • The Chicago River

    Chicago Things to Do

    One thing i really liked about central city of Chicago is the river. The greeniest I've ever seen. I had a good view of it from our hotel window. Lots of opportunites getting on a boat and ride down it.

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  • Museum of Science and Industry

    Chicago Things to Do

    Last visit 12/31/06, check their website for free days for Illinois residents only. If you are visiting with children in a wide age range, this is where I would go, there's something for kids of all ages and adults. This was my favorite museum when I was a kid. I loved Colleen Moore's fairy castle, was grossed out by the human body slices, always...

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  • State Street & The Loop

    Chicago Things to Do

    No ordinary transit system, the Elevated Lines (or L) is rated by the locals as one of the Seven Wonders of Chicago, greater even than the Willis Tower. It's historic, distinctive, and downright noisy. The trains of the L clatter their way along the lines a little above head height, and the entire wrought iron structure that supports them rattles...

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  • Adler Planetarium

    Chicago Things to Do

    Opened in 1930, this is the oldest planetarium in the Western Hemisphere and it is a wonderful place. It has several different shows, a collection of astronomical and location-finding instruments, and the Atwood Sphere, created in 1913 and the first planetarium ever built. The old building is architecturally interesting, as well, the new part has a...

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  • Cultural Center

    Chicago Things to Do

    The Chicago Cultural Center, formerly the public library, is a magnificent building that provides an unusual role as a cultural center for the public, with free art exhibits, performances, lectures, workshops, and more in a magnificent setting. As I note in my "Untouchables" tip, it also provided the location for several scenes in the film The...

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  • Tribune Tower

    Chicago Things to Do

    Although the Tribune Tower (1922-25), built for the Chicago Tribune newspaper, is a magnificent example of 'sortof Gothic' skyscraper, with some elements strongly reminiscent of European Gothic cathedrals, it was no that which drew me to visit. It was the fact that, for a reason which is entirely beyond my ken, correspondents from the newspaper...

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  • Millennium Park - Cloud Gate

    Chicago Things to Do

    I haven't been doing a lot of traveling lately (as of March, 2013) and although I still have plenty of tips to write about trips over the years I've decided to go through the Chicago categories and see what other tips I can write to go along with my pictures of Chicago. My wife and I live in a suburb of Chicago about 30 miles southwest of the city...

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  • Theater & Music

    Chicago Things to Do

    one of the architectural wonders in Wacker Area near the Chicago River due to the Art Deco Motif of the Building and on the Inside and a fine destination for Opera Lovers (unfortunately, I'm not fond of opera plays). They have assorted plays going on everyday and each play would lst from 1 1/2 to 4 hours depending on the motif and the prices will...

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  • Marina City

    Chicago Things to Do

    Two circular towers containing apartments, parking garages and a boat marina were built on the Chicago River between 1959 & 1964. It was the architectural dream/invention of Bertram Goldberg that never really fulfilled its intentions. After a period of disrepair -- it has been renovated and considered a valuable landmark -- but it took a while for...

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  • Water Tower

    Chicago Things to Do

    In 1891, as the legend goes, a cow belonging to a Mr. and Mrs. O'Leary kicked over a lantern and started one of the most destructive fires in U.S. history. The inferno that blazed for two days wiped out over 2,000 acres of urban Chicago, left many thousands homeless, and took between 300 - 400 lives. Two of the few structures to survive were a 2...

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  • Museums

    Chicago Things to Do

    Originally opened as the National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum, this museum has recently dropped "Vietnam" from its name. Its purpose is to inspire greater understanding of the real impact of war with a focus on Vietnam. They collect, preserve, and exhibit art inspired by combat and created by veterans. Admission is free but there is a suggested...

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  • Festivals

    Chicago Things to Do

    August 17-18, 2013 Due to the federal sequester, two of the show favorites, the Thunderbirds and the Golden Knights, will not be performing in 2013 Held in mid to late August on a Saturday and Sunday from 10 am-3pm, the Chicago Air and Water Show is a free show featuring civilian and US military aircraft and watercraft, the highlight being the US...

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  • Frank Lloyd Wright

    Chicago Things to Do

    I have already discussed this in my tip on Frank Lloyd Wright in general but the Robie House deserves its own tip and pictures. Completed in 1910, this is a prime example of Wright's Prairie style and is open to visitors, who must take a tour. Unfortunately, one may not take photos inside the house. It's set on the edge of the University of...

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  • Fourth Presbyterian Church

    Chicago Things to Do

    This is an historic church in Chicago, built in Gothic Revival style in 1912. It serves a congregraiton founded in 1871. It is an interesting as well as peaceful place to relax in the church itself and in the enclosed garden, nice since it's in the middle of the Magnificant Mile area of Michigan Ave. right in the city core.

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  • Financial District

    Chicago Things to Do

    This center is all about money, but you can visit it for free :) The Chicago Fed is one of 12 regional branches of the Federal Reserve System. You will find the visitor's centre on the first floor. Through a series of videos, interactive games and more, the visitors' center describes what the Federal Reserve does, the history of money and banking...

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  • Wrigley Building

    Chicago Things to Do

    "Chicago is the Wrigley Building." - Frank Sinatra, My Kind of Town. This is one of the most famous buildings in America. Built as the headquarters for the mega-corporation of the Wrigley Company, and its upper floors were home to its founder, William Wrigley Jr. I spent most of my time in Chicago inside this wonderful building, right up on the...

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  • Merchandise Mart

    Chicago Things to Do

    I've included this on my must see list for the exterior only. I used to work across the street from the Mart and with the exception of an occasional chocolate fix at Fannie May never seem to find any other reason to visit. The Mart sits on the banks of the Chicago River and can be seen on the Architectural boat tour. It was completed in 1930 by...

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  • Architecture Foundation Cruise

    Chicago Things to Do

    Although I know that many people know about this, I would nevertheless like to suggest obviously for everyone who goes to visit Chicago to take the architectural boat tour. There are many of them and several companies which organize the tour and it really is interesting, as Chicago really has a lot to show. The boat ride is mostly on the river, but...

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  • The Dolls House Store

    Chicago Things to Do

    This is a store for everybody, not jsut for kids (yes, I saw lots of men there too). For whom ever that love dolls or want to see something different and unique - this is the right place (and very sweet one).

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  • Millennium Park - Crown Fountain

    Chicago Things to Do

    Walking along Michigan Ave. you will eventually pass by this golden nugget. It's nice to see the sculpture spit water, but you must have your camera ready bc it doesn't last long. There is some nice seating around this fountain and a panera across the street where you bring a coffee over from. It's fun to play in the water and watch the kids splash...

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  • History Museum

    Chicago Things to Do

    Al CAPONE´S MUSEUM Al Capone stated: “Ninety per cent of the people of Cook County drink and gamble, and my offense has been to furnish them with those amusements. Whatever else they may say, my booze has been good and my games have been on the square. Public service is my motto.”-Al Capone. This might be a weird “Thing to do” to visit Chicago. But...

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  • Picasso

    Chicago Things to Do

    Placed on this square the year I was brought to this earth (1967), Picasso's untitled piece (popularly called, well, "The Picasso") graces Daley Plaza like some bull-skulled vulture hovering over this center. I like it! It's huge. It's weird. And it's 3-dimensional! So all those fractured Picasso cubist pieces I've been trying to coalesce into a...

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  • Museum of Contemporary Art

    Chicago Things to Do

    Less well known (and much smaller) than the Art Institute of Chicago is the Museum of Contemporary Art. Located just around the corner from the John Hancock Center and the Water Tower, the MCA focuses on post-WWII era art. The MCA is composed of exhibitions rather than displaying items from their permanent collection. We went on a Sunday afternoon...

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  • Millennium Park - Jay Pritzker Pavilion

    Chicago Things to Do

    One of the fun things to do in Millennium Park is to take in a free concert. All throughout the summer months and periodically during the spring and autumn you will be able to enjoy a free concert. Sitting in the many seats or on the expanse of the Great Lawn you are sure to enjoy a nice evening under the stars. Several years ago Sue and I were...

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  • Chicago Architecture Foundation - CAF

    Chicago Things to Do

    If you are interested in architecture or the history of Chicago, I strongly encourage you to check out which tours are being offered by the CAF when you visit Chicago. There's a free Loop Tour Train that's offered several times each Saturday from May through September (see Chicago Cultural Center tip). The "Historic Skyscrapers" and "Modern...

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  • Eating & Drinking

    Chicago Things to Do

    A tradition since 1949. A trip to downtwon Chicago is not complete without a stop at GARRETT POPCORN SHOP. The heavenly scent of freshly popped popcorn literally lures you into their shop. On this day, Thursday December 14, with Christmas just around the corner, it was absolutely crazy in there. I ordered a large "buttery" at $3.95 plus tax. The...

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  • Soldier Field

    Chicago Things to Do

    Attention sports fans! This is a must-see for all of you. It's one of the most famous stadiums in the world. Like most things in Chicago, Soldier Field has a grand style of architecture that reflects the way people here think--BIG.

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  • Harold Washington Library

    Chicago Things to Do

    Reputedly the largest library building in the world, Chicago's central library, the Harold Washington Library in the downtown Loop area (although my understanding is that it is technically in the South Loop, it is right on the edge of the core Loop area), is an impressive building to visit, not to mention an impressive library as such. It is indeed...

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  • Baha'i Temple

    Chicago Things to Do

    Maybe it's my own issues, but going to religious sites, particularly in the US, is often pretty uncomfortable for me. The Mormon Temple in Salt Lake is always bad, and even with historic churches, I feel like I shouldn't be there. They feel cold to me. The Baha'i Temple, just north of the city in the quiet, wealthy, lakeside suburb of Wilmette, was...

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  • South Side Highlights

    Chicago Things to Do

    The University of Chicago campus is located in Hyde Park on the city's South Side. It is where I got my bachelor's degree. The school, whose campus is not too big, was founded in 1890 by John D. Rockefeller. Besides enjoying the neo-Gothic architecture, there are several historically significant or famous spots on campus that should be noted. First...

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Illinois Things to Do

Reviews and photos of Illinois things to do posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Illinois sightseeing.
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