Museums & Cultural Attractions & Sights
Chicago has so many great museums and such good cultural attractions that we have dedicated an entire page to them.
As one of the top shopping destinations in the U.S. Chicago offers opportunities for all different types of shoppers. The Magnificent Mile and Oak Street cater to the affluent with high end boutique and department stores. North Michigan Avenue contains many flagship stores such as Nike Town, Apple and Crate and Barrel and offers the best window shopping in the city. State Street and the Mag Mile both have several discount and outlet stores, along with reasonable priced apparel stores. Macy's on State is an old fashioned department store well worth a visit, especially during Christmas. River North contains many small, high end art galleries and furniture stores. Those looking for something a little funkier or more fun should head to the Wicker Park neighborhood or Armitage Ave. Navy Pier offers good souvenir and children's shopping. Make sure you factor in the high sales tax rate when making your purchases.
Chicago is a great people watching city. Michigan Avenue, Millennium Park and Navy Pier are but a few of the places to watch the hoards go by. A good thing to do in Chicago when your feet need a rest. To see the good looking and possibly the famous go to the taverns and restaurants on N. Rush Street. Some of the best places are Gibson's, Carmine's, Hub51, Joe's Stone Crab and Tavern on Rush. Hundreds of restaurants and taverns offer outdoor dinning in the warm weather, most of which offer good people watching.
No city in the United States with the exception of New York has such a diverse food scene. With thousands of restaurants representing around a 100 different cuisines there is something for nearly everyone, from cheap deep dish pizzas to high-end cuisine made by world famous chefs. There are several specialties that were either invented in or are unique to Chicago that visitors should consider trying. The most famous of which is deep dish pizza which is widely available in tourist areas. The Chicago hotdog is a unique take on an American classic. It is more salad than hotdog, but is a local favorite. The gyro, pronounced, hero, was supposedly invented here, several Greek families claim to have been the first to make it. Italian beef is a personal favorite. It is basically a wet roast beef sandwich which is best, but messy when wet, dipped in the juice, and with spicy gardiner.
Bus tours offer a quick and easy way to see the city. Boat tours are one of our favorite ways to show visitors downtown. River tours offer a look at many of the cities most interesting buildings, while lake tours offer a good way to see the city skyline from a distance and over the lake. Those with more time should consider a lake/river tour. A cheap alternative is the water taxis. One runs from Navy Pier to the museum campus and another goes down the Chicago River. The Chicago Architecture Foundation offers a wide variety of informative tours. Bike, kayak and Segway tours are also available for the more adventuresome.
Chicago is Americas premier city for architecture. There are examples of works by such legends as Frank Lloyd Wright, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Helmut Jahn, and Mies van de Rohe. The south loop contains some of the world's first high- rises. Chicago boasts several of the worlds tallest buildings and is adding more all of the time. The Gold Coast contains many great late 19th century mansions. North State Street and Astor are a fine place to take a quite stroll. Frank Lloyd Wright fans can head to near by Oak Park to see his studio and some of the best examples of his work.
While Chicago is not a mecca for outdoor sports the lakefront does offer, biking, running, fishing and beach volleyball. Most of the attractions and sights are walkable from most hotels which is a chance to get some exercise. All of the major professional sports have teams in Chicago. Tickets can be expensive and hard to find. Parking is bad at all of the stadiums, and can be as much as $50 so we recommend taking public transportation or a taxi.
Chicago has a thriving art scene. There are many fine galleries, predominantly in River North. Chicago has an abundance of outdoor sculptures by world famous artists. Summer brings many, enjoyable, outdoor art festival, some of the best are, Old Town, Wells Street and Gold Coast. My favorite local artist is Alicia Forestall-Boehm.