top of page

Discover the Best of Chicago: Attractions, Transportation, and Things to Do

Updated: Jul 8, 2023

Chicago is a vibrant and diverse city that offers something for everyone. Whether you are looking for culture, history, entertainment, or nature, you will find it in the Windy City. Here are some of the best things to do in Chicago that you should not miss.

Discover the various transportation options to reach Navy Pier in Chicago, from public transportation to water taxis. Get answers to frequently asked questions about visiting this iconic waterfront attraction.
Discover the Best of Chicago: Attractions, Transportation, and Things to Do

Things to do in Chicago

  • Visit the Art Institute of Chicago.

This world-class museum houses one of the largest collections of art in the United States, with over 300,000 works spanning from ancient to contemporary times. You can admire masterpieces by Monet, Van Gogh, Picasso, and more, as well as explore exhibits on African, Asian, and American art. The museum also features a stunning modern wing, a sculpture garden, and a library.


  • Experience the Skydeck at Willis Tower.

Formerly known as Sears Tower, this iconic skyscraper is the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, standing at 1,450 feet. You can take an elevator to the 103rd floor and step onto the Skydeck, a glass balcony that extends four feet from the edge of the building. You will get a breathtaking view of the city and beyond, and feel like you are floating in the air.


  • Enjoy the Navy Pier

This popular attraction is a waterfront playground that offers fun for all ages. You can ride the Ferris wheel, carousel, and other amusement rides, watch a movie at the IMAX theater, catch a show at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, or visit the Children's Museum. You can also stroll along the pier and enjoy the views of Lake Michigan and the skyline, or hop on a boat tour or cruise.


  • Explore Millennium Park

This 24-acre park is a masterpiece of urban design and art, featuring stunning architecture, sculptures, and gardens. You can see the famous Cloud Gate, also known as "The Bean", a shiny stainless steel sculpture that reflects the cityscape. You can also admire the Crown Fountain, a pair of interactive video towers that display faces of Chicagoans and spout water. You can also enjoy concerts and events at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, or relax at the Lurie Garden.


  • Learn at the Museum of Science and Industry

This is one of the largest science museums in the world, with over 400,000 square feet of exhibits and experiences. You can see a real U-505 submarine, a replica coal mine, a 40-foot tornado, and a giant model of the human heart. You can also explore topics such as space, genetics, robotics, and energy in interactive and engaging ways.


  • Immerse yourself in the vibrant food scene

Chicago is known for its diverse culinary offerings, from deep-dish pizza to gourmet hot dogs and everything in between. Explore the city's neighborhoods and indulge in delicious dishes from around the world. Don't forget to try iconic Chicago specialties like the Chicago-style hot dog and Italian beef sandwich.


  • Take a stroll along the Magnificent Mile

This renowned stretch of Michigan Avenue is lined with luxury shops, department stores, restaurants, and entertainment venues. Whether you're looking to shop 'til you drop, dine at upscale eateries, or catch a Broadway show, the Magnificent Mile has it all. Enjoy the beautiful architecture and soak in the bustling atmosphere of this iconic Chicago street.


  • Catch a game at Wrigley Field or Guaranteed Rate Field

Chicago is a sports-loving city, and baseball fans won't want to miss the chance to watch a game at one of the city's historic ballparks. Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs, offers a classic ballpark experience with its ivy-covered walls and lively atmosphere. Similarly, Guaranteed Rate Field, home of the Chicago White Sox, provides an exciting setting to cheer on the team.


  • Discover the rich history at the Chicago History Museum

Dive into the fascinating stories that have shaped Chicago's past at this engaging museum. Learn about the city's role in the Prohibition era, its architectural heritage, and its cultural contributions. The museum showcases a range of exhibitions and artifacts that offer insights into Chicago's vibrant history.


  • Escape to nature at the Lincoln Park Zoo

Located in the heart of the city, this free zoo is a perfect retreat for animal lovers. Explore various habitats and encounter a diverse array of wildlife, from lions and giraffes to penguins and monkeys. The Lincoln Park Zoo also hosts educational programs and events for visitors of all ages.


  • Experience live performances at the Chicago Theatre

This iconic venue has been a cornerstone of Chicago's entertainment scene for decades. Catch a Broadway show, comedy performance, or musical concert in the opulent surroundings of this historic theater. The stunning architecture and lively atmosphere make for an unforgettable night out.

These are just a few of the many incredible things to do and see in Chicago. Whether you're interested in art, history, sports, nature, or simply exploring the vibrant city streets, Chicago offers a wealth of experiences that will leave you wanting to come back for more.


How do I get to Navy Pier?


Navy Pier is a popular tourist destination in Chicago and can be reached by various transportation options. Here are a few ways to get to Navy Pier:

  • Public Transportation: The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) operates buses that serve Navy Pier. You can check the CTA's website or use a navigation app to find the most convenient bus route to reach Navy Pier.

  • Metra: If you're coming from the suburbs or neighboring cities, you can take a Metra train to downtown Chicago and then transfer to a bus or walk to Navy Pier. The closest Metra stations are Millennium Station and Ogilvie Transportation Center.

  • Taxis, Rideshares, and Car Services: Taxis, rideshare services like Uber and Lyft, and car services are readily available in Chicago. You can simply input Navy Pier as your destination in the app or tell the driver to take you there.

  • Water Taxi: From spring to fall, you have the option of taking a water taxi to Navy Pier. Shoreline Sightseeing and Chicago Water Taxi are two companies that operate water taxis along the Chicago River, with stops at various locations including Navy Pier.

  • Walking: If you're staying in the downtown area, Navy Pier is within walking distance for many people. Simply head east towards Lake Michigan and follow the lakefront path until you reach Navy Pier.

It's worth noting that parking at Navy Pier can be limited, especially during peak times. If you choose to drive, there are parking garages available at Navy Pier, but it's advisable to arrive early or consider alternative transportation if possible.


What are some other museums in Chicago?


In addition to the Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum of Science and Industry mentioned earlier, here are some other notable museums in Chicago:

  • Field Museum of Natural History: Located in Grant Park, the Field Museum is one of the largest natural history museums in the world. It houses a vast collection of artifacts and exhibits on topics such as dinosaurs, ancient civilizations, gemstones, and biodiversity.

  • Museum of Contemporary Art: This museum is dedicated to showcasing contemporary art in various forms, including painting, sculpture, photography, video, and performance. It features rotating exhibitions by both established and emerging artists, offering visitors a glimpse into the current trends and expressions of modern art.

  • Adler Planetarium: Situated on the shores of Lake Michigan, the Adler Planetarium is America's first planetarium and a premier space science institution. Visitors can explore immersive exhibits on astronomy, space exploration, and the universe. The planetarium also has a domed theater that offers captivating shows about the cosmos.

  • National Museum of Mexican Art: Located in the vibrant Pilsen neighborhood, this museum celebrates and preserves Mexican art and culture. It showcases a diverse range of artworks, including paintings, sculptures, textiles, and folk art. The museum also hosts cultural events, performances, and educational programs throughout the year.

  • DuSable Museum of African American History: As the oldest independent black history museum in the United States, the DuSable Museum highlights the contributions and experiences of African Americans. Through exhibits, artifacts, and interactive displays, visitors can learn about African American history, art, culture, and social movements.

  • Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum: Nestled within Lincoln Park, this museum focuses on promoting an understanding of nature and environmental conservation. It features exhibits on local wildlife, ecosystems, and sustainability. The museum also houses a butterfly haven, where visitors can observe hundreds of species of butterflies in a lush tropical setting.

These museums offer a diverse range of topics and perspectives, providing enriching experiences for visitors interested in art, science, history, culture, and the natural world.


FAQs


  1. How do I get to Navy Pier using public transportation?

    • You can take a bus operated by the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) to Navy Pier. Check the CTA website or use a navigation app to find the best bus route for your location.

  2. Can I reach Navy Pier by train?

    • While there is no direct train station at Navy Pier, you can take a Metra train to downtown Chicago and then transfer to a bus or walk to Navy Pier. The closest Metra stations are Millennium Station and Ogilvie Transportation Center.

  3. Are taxis and rideshares available to reach Navy Pier?

    • Yes, taxis, rideshare services like Uber and Lyft, as well as car services, are widely available in Chicago. Simply input Navy Pier as your destination in the app or inform the driver of your desired location.

  4. Is there a water taxi service to Navy Pier?

    • From spring to fall, you have the option of taking a water taxi to Navy Pier. Companies like Shoreline Sightseeing and Chicago Water Taxi operate water taxis along the Chicago River, with stops including Navy Pier.

  5. Can I walk to Navy Pier from downtown Chicago?

    • Absolutely! If you're staying in the downtown area, walking to Navy Pier is a viable option. Head east towards Lake Michigan and follow the lakefront path until you reach Navy Pier.

  6. Is parking available at Navy Pier?

    • Yes, there are parking garages available at Navy Pier. However, parking can be limited during peak times. It's recommended to arrive early or consider alternative transportation if possible.

  7. Are there bike racks or Divvy bike stations near Navy Pier?

    • Yes, Navy Pier has bike racks available for cyclists. Additionally, you can find nearby Divvy bike-sharing stations where you can rent bikes for your visit.

Exploring Navy Pier in Chicago is a breeze with these transportation options. Whether you choose public transportation, taxis, water taxis, or prefer to walk, you'll have a memorable experience at this iconic waterfront attraction.


36 views0 comments
bottom of page