Attractions that Should

While many Chicagoans have spoken about what they consider their top Attractions in Chicago, we have our own favorites. Many of them are among the top 7 - 14 chosen but the following should not be missed.

Visit them all and make your own decisions!  Maybe you'll agree with us.

The Art Institute of Chicago | 111 South Michigan Avenue | (312) 443-3600

One of the great art museums of the world, the Art Institute of Chicago presents a collection spanning 5,000 years of artistic expression. Paintings, prints and drawings, sculptures, photographs, video, textiles, and architectural drawings and fragments are complemented by a year-round schedule of exhibitions. And there's more. The museum presents programs-lectures, workshops, performances, symposia, travel, or courses, every day. From Mini Masters to Elderhostel, there is something for all visitors to do. Visit often, find your favorites, and make the Art Institute your museum.

Go Chicago Card - 25 Chicago Attractions

Adler Planetarium
1300 S. Lake Shore Dr.  |  (312) 922-STAR (7827)

The Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum was the first planetarium built in the Western Hemisphere and is the oldest in existence today. The Adler was founded and built in 1930 by the philanthropist Max Adler, with the assistance of the first director of the planetarium, Philip Fox. It is located amongst many other world famous museums on the shores of Lake Michigan in Chicago's Museum Campus.

The Adler is home to more than 35,000 square feet of exhibits including scale models of the Solar System, antique astronomical instruments, and interactive displays. The Adler's historical collections of astronomical instruments and rare books are considered among the finest in the world.

The Adler is the only museum in the world with two full-size planetarium theaters.

Baha'i House of Worship
100 Linden Ave.  |  Wilmette  |  (847) 853-2300

Found in Wilmette, the Baha'i House of Worship is one of only seven Baha'i temples in the world. Baha'is come from nearly every national, ethnic and religious background and view all the world's major religions as a part of a single, progressive process. This soaring temple features a nine-sided dome (nine is a significant number in the Baha'i faith) surrounded by beautiful fountains and gardens. The Bahai' House of Worship is open to all every day of the year

Brookfield Zoo
8401 31st St  |  Brookfield  |  (708) 485-0263

Go Card USA - Top USA Attractions for 1 Low Price!This 200-acre Chicagoland favorite invites visitors to take a walk on the wild side, encountering animals ranging from elegant zebras to the quirky but loveable naked mole rats. Brookfield Zoo also offers amazing experiences with its Wild Encounters program that invites wildlife lovers to experience a bottlenose dolphin training session or try their hand at feeding a colony of Humboldt penguins.

Chicago Botanic Garden
1000 Lake Cook Rd | Glencoe | (847) 835-5440

The Chicago Botanic Garden is operated by the Chicago Horticultural Society, founded 1890, for collections, education, and research. Its ground-breaking was in 1965, with the official opening in 1972. The Chicago Botanic Garden is located minutes away from Ravinia Festval, a world class outdoor music theatre. The Green Bay Trail, which is a walking and bike path leads from the garden to the Ravinia business district.The business district includes stores and restaurants such as Happy Sushi, Ravinia Grill, Sloppy Jo's Lunchroom, Java Love, and Pierro's Pizza.

Today the garden contains some 2.2 million plants representing 8,310 taxa, displayed in landscape settings. One-third of the site is devoted to horticultural display; another third is native habitats; and the remaining third is lakes and facilities.


Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio Tour
951 Chicago Ave  |  Oak Park  |  (708) 848-1976

Recognized as one of the greatest architects of the 20th century, Frank Lloyd Wright began his career in Oak Park. The Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio served as Wright's private residence and workplace from 1889 to 1909. Visitors can explore this legend's home and see how every structure Wright created was informed by his belief that beautifully designed buildings make a difference in our lives.

Frederick C. Robie House
5757 S. Woodlawn Ave. | U of C Campus

Designated by the American Institute of Architects among the Top Ten Buildings of the Century, the Robie House remains a cornerstone of modern functional form.

The home literally started a revolution in architectural design. It is one of Wright's earlier works and one of the very earliest examples of Prairie style. According to the Historical American Buildings Survey, the city of Chicago's Commission on Chicago Architectural Landmarks stated: "The bold interplay of horizontal planes about the chimney mass, and the structurally expressive piers and windows, established a new form of domestic design."

John G. Shedd Aquarium 
1200 South Lake Shore Dr.  | U of C Museum Campus

The John G. Shedd Aquarium received awards for best exhibit from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) for Seahorse Symphony in 1999, Go Card USA - Top USA Attractions for 1 Low Price! Amazon Rising in 2001, and Wild Reef in 2004.

Shedd Aquarium is also notable for its architecture. The basic design is taken from classical Greek architecture to match the other structures of the Museum Campus.

The central aquarium building is octagonal, fronted by Doric columns and a formal staircase and topped by a dome. Aquatic motifs are worked in at every opportunity; tortoise shells, dolphins, octopuses, waves, and even the Trident of Poseidon can be found all over the aquarium's exterior and interior. The Oceanarium is done in a more modern style representing the Pacific Northwest, but one that blends with the older part of the building. "Whale Harbor", the Oceanarium's 2 million gallon (7.5 million liter) main tank, is backed by a wall of windows that look out onto Lake Michigan.

John Hancock Observatory
John Hancock Center  |  875 N. Michigan Ave.  |  (312) 751-3680

The Hancock Center's observation facilities compete with the Sears Tower's Skydeck across town. The Hancock Center is in a commercial district, while the Sears Tower is in the financial district. The Hancock Center 94th floor observation deck displays exhibits about the city of Chicago. Maps explain the view in each direction and a special meshed-in area allows the visitors to feel the winds 1,030 feet (314 m) above ground level. The 44th-floor skylobby features America's highest indoor swimming pool.

Kohl Children's Museum 
2100 Patriot Blvd  |  Glenview  |  (847) 832-6600

“As a leader in demonstrating the role of interactive play in learning, Kohl Children’s Museum creates exemplary, developmentally appropriate, hands-on educational experiences for young children in a fun, intimate environment.”

Kohl Children's Museum is a hands-on learning laboratory for children ages birth to 8. All of our exhibits and programs are aligned to the Illinois State Learning Standards and are designed to make learning fun and interesting for young children.

Lincoln Park Zoo
2200 N. Cannon Dr.  |  (312) 742-2000

Go Chicago Card - 25 Chicago Attractions.Lincoln Park Zoo is home to a wide variety of animals. The zoo includes polar bears, penguins, gorillas, reptiles, monkeys, and other species totalling nearly 1,250 animals. Also located in Lincoln Park Zoo is a burr oak tree which dates to 1830, three years before the city was founded. Lincoln Park Zoo is one of two zoos in Chicagoland, the other being Brookfield Zoo; however, Lincoln Park Zoo is the only one within the Chicago city limits and the only one with free admission.

Two sections of Lincoln Park Zoo have been set aside for children.

The Morton Arboretum
4100 Illinois Route 53  |  Lisle  |  (630) 968-0074

More than 3,700 kinds of trees and other plants, beautiful landscapes and gardens, research and education programs and year-round family activities make this 1,700-acre outdoor museum a Chicagoland must-see destination. Kids can explore the interactive Children's Garden, complete with a pond, TreeFinder Grove, a miniature cornfield, a "secret" stream to splash in, and much more. To challenge the mind, the Maze Garden offers a one-acre, living puzzle, fun for kids and adults alike.

Navy Pier
600 E. Grand Ave  |  (312) 595-7437

Rebuilt in the 1990s, the pier's current layout includes fast-food kiosks, shops, a ballroom, a concert stage, and convention exhibition halls. general tag logo

Centerpiece attractions include a 150-foot-tall Ferris wheel, an IMAX theater, the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, the Chicago Children's Museum, and the Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows.

The pier now features a large front lawn showcasing numerous larger-than-life public art sculptures and an interactive dancing fountain. It continues to be used as an embarkation point for tour and excursion boats. One of its most popular yearly attraction is the tall ships Venetian Night festival.

The pier and its grounds encompass more than 50 acres of parks, gardens, shops, restaurants and other entertainment. Navy Pier contains 170,000 total square feet of exhibition space, 50,000 square feet of reception space and 48,000 square feet of meeting room space.

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