Posted by Nancy D. Brown
My favorite tips and locations for visitors to Chicago, Illinois. The first place I take a visitor from out of town is to Millennium Park, Museum Campus and the Signature Lounge in the John Hancock Building.
When I crave Chicago cuisine, I turn to Giordanos, Gino’s East, Pizzeria Due or Lou Malnati’s for Deep Dish Pizza.
To escape work I go to Oak Street or North Avenue Beach.
For complete quiet, I can hide away at Osaka Garden on Wooded Island in Jackson Park.
If you come to Chicago, get your picture taken in front of The Bean in Millennium Park or on the Museum Campus with Chicago’s skyline in the background.
When I’m feeling cash-strapped, I go to Nuevo Leon in the Pilsen neighborhood.
For a huge splurge, I go to Table 52, Avec, Blackbird, Aliena or Topolobombo.
Photos ops in Chicago include The Bean, Skyline, the Michigan Avenue Bridge over the Chicago River.
The best vantage points are taken by walking to the top of Sears Tower or John Hancock Buildings. Both buildings have observatories that are available for views of the entire city.
In Chicago, an active day outdoors involves walking or hiking or biking or roller-blading the Lakefront Trail.
My favorite walking route is the Lakefront Trail.
Chicago’s best museums, the Museum of Science and Industry, Field Museum, Art Institute, Chicago History Museum, Shedd Aquarium and Adler Planetarium to name a few. On our first trip to Chicago in 2002, we brought our children, then ages six and ten, and visited all of the museums listed above. We broke our trip into bite size pieces and the kids gobbled up all of the activities without a hint of complaint.
For a night of dancing, go to Nacional 27, HideOut or Le Passage.
The Wiener’s Circle is the spot for late night dining.
To find out what’s going on at night or on weekends, read Time-Out Chicago, Metromix, or The Reader.
You can tell a lot about Chicago if you take an architecture river cruise.
In the spring you should attend baseball opening day, the Great Places and Spaces Festival, or Farmers Markets.
In the summer you should attend Taste of Chicago, Millennium Park Concerts, neighborhood street festivals or SummerDance.
In the fall you should visit Fashion Focus and Chicagoween.
In the winter you should go to Holiday Events in Daley Plaza or on Michigan Avenue and check out the holiday windows at Macy’s.
A hidden gem in Chicago is the Water Taxi.
For a great breakfast treat or espresso, go to Milk and Honey, Yok, Lou Mitfchells or Ann Sather.
Just outside of Chicago you can visit Oak Park, have lunch at the New Rebozo Mexican Restaurant.
The best way to see Chicago is to walk Lakefront and Michigan Avenue or ride the El around the loop. You can also take a segway tour.
If you have kids, you won’t want to miss the Zoo, Millennium Park, Navy Pier or the Crown Fountain.
What are your favorite things to do in Chicago, Illinois?
Thank you to Karen Vaughn and Sarah Best of the Chicago Office of Tourism for their assistance with this post.