Chicago has been known for its multicultural heritage and is a home to people of varied ethnic and racial origins like African, Chinese, German, Greek, Vietnamese, Italian and Scandinavian. This very fact makes this largest city in Illinois, to attract thousands of visitors every year. Right from art and entertainment, museums, shopping venues to delightful and mouth-watering delicacies, Chicago is one fine place where there is so much to experience. If you have 'all the time in the world', then you are the lucky one to fill your heart with the memories of every nook and corner of this wonderful place. On the other hand, if you think you should narrow down your choices for the best Chicago attractions as you are short on time, then here is a quick guide to help you out.
Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum
Get your pockets full of some fine collection of historical astronomy artifacts in the Adler planetarium and astronomy museum. Explore the depths of the Universe and add to what you know about space and the world beyond our planet Earth. This planetarium marked its beginning in 1930 and it is the first one of its kind to be established in America. Scale models of the Solar System, astronomical instruments bearing the touch of the ancient times and several interactive adventures and rare books are some of the many amazing assets of the Adler planetarium & astronomy museum. To add to all these, this is the only museum in the world to have two full-size planetarium theaters.
The Brookfield zoo is among the many great places to hang out with kids while you are in Chicago. It is in Illinois, west of Chicago. The zoo was established in 1934 and it homes about 2000 animals, apart from having a zoo for children and family. Also known as Chicago Zoological Park, the Brookfield zoo gained popularity due to its use of moats and ditches, instead of cages for animals. Apart from featuring the Australia House, Baboon Island, Wolf Woods, Reptile House, Pachyderm House and more, the zoo also has a butterfly garden, a simulated tropical rain forest and even a simulated thunderstorm. What's more? The zoo is open every day of the year and it also has dining options and gift shops.
John Hancock Center
Want to have a breathtaking view of the city? Make way for the John Hancock Center. Located at an altitude of 1127 feet (343.5 m), this structure is currently the 12th tallest building of the world. Popularly known as 'Big John', the John Hancock Center was completed in the year 1969 and it's an amazing 100-story building. No wonder you can view the whole of Chicago from this remarkable construction. Apart from its magnificent built, what's more interesting is that, different visits during the day or night will give you a different view of the city of Chicago altogether.
You will be amazed to know that this avenue has about 22 million visitors every year! And why not? Being the line of stores tucked between the Chicago river and Lake shore drive on Michigan Avenue, it consists of a myriad of stores, restaurants, hotels, handful of museums and a variety of sightseeing and entertainment attractions for shoppers.
Harold Washington Library Center
This is the place for those voracious readers who are in a constant search for bestselling thrillers, biographies, non-fiction audio books and many others. October 7, 1991 was the day when this library opened and it has the finesse of ancient Greek and Roman structures. The Harold Washington Library Center has its name mentioned in the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest public library building in the world.
Enjoy a day of your tour or holidays at this landmark of Chicago known as the Navy Pier. Carnival-style rides, concerts and exhibitions, picnics by the lake, restaurants and unique collection of souvenirs for remembrance are what this place offers to its visitors. The Navy Pier is a fine place to enjoy the thrill of the nightlife in Chicago, as otherwise, you may miss the chance to enjoy an amusement ride and glimpse of the city from the top of the Ferris wheel.
It was once said by a prominent civil figure, "Millennium Park will be a worthy creation for all time. It will define Chicago to the entire world as America's greatest city." This park is famous for its architecture and landscape design. Do visit this lovely place and do not miss the Frank Gehry-designed Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Joan W. and Irving B. Harris Theater, Lurie Garden, Cloud Gate, BP Bridge, Millennium Monument, Chase Promenade, Boeing Galleries and the most exciting of all, the Crown Fountain.
For music and entertainment, Ravinia should be among the first place you should visit. Well, why am I saying this? It's a great place for music lovers, wherein you can have a taste of classical, pop, contemporary, blues and jazz. Apart from people visiting this festival for the varied musical acts and performances, what is mostly fancied by most tourists is picnicking on the lawn. You can purchase different food items from the onsite restaurants or you also have the option to pre-order them. Ravinia also offers gift shops and it is a smoke-free environment.
Known as Chicago's primary cultural attraction, the Shedd aquarium is an indoor public aquarium which features five permanent exhibits; the Caribbean Reef, Amazon Rising, Waters of the World, Oceanarium and Wild Reef. It was inaugurated on May 30, 1930. On your visit to this aquarium, you will be amazed to see bonnet head sharks, southern stingrays, angelfish and hawksbill sea turtle, divers hand-feed sharks and eels, otters, octopus, whales, penguins, lizards, sea jellies, dolphins and many more - about 32,500 of them!
The Art Institute of Chicago
As the name suggests, the Art Institute of Chicago is a historical landmark which holds one of the world's greatest art collections. If you plan to spend an entire day of your visit at this Art Institute, you can get yourself acquainted with various exhibits and collections from Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. Do remember to see the exhibits such as the African & Amerindian collection, the Ernest R. Graham Study Center for Architectural Drawings, the European Painting collection, the European Decorative Arts collection, the holdings of the Department of Textiles and the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art. For dining facilities, you can go for the Court Cafe and the Garden Restaurant.
Besides these, there are other places in Chicago to loiter around. So if you have 'loads' of time in your hand, then you must go for the famous Sears Tower Skydeck, Amazing Chicago Funhouse Maze, Buckingham Fountain Northwestern Station, Ogilvie Transportation Center, Six Flags Great America, Chicago Air & Water Show, Chicago Blues Festival, Chicago Cultural Center, ESPN Zone, Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio and the Union Station.
Rest assured that the money that you might spend on your visit to these places in Chicago, would be worth all the enjoyment and pleasure you will get from the trip. So, give yourself a small break and go have a blast in the 'Windy City' of America!