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Things to do in Chicago

Chicago’s diverse blend of design, art, culture, music, and architecture means you’ll never run out of things to do in Chicago. For a relaxing, loosely structured day, visit Millennium Park to take in views of the Chicago waterfront and admire Cloud Gate, Chicago’s famous reflective bean sculpture. Stimulate your artistic side with a visit to Museum Campus, which houses three museums in one, and showcases the world’s most complete Tyrannosaurus skeleton, among other amazing treasures. One of the most popular things to do in Chicago is to visit the Chicago Blues Festival. Taking place over three days and across five stages, this festival, celebrating Chicago’s foundational role in the blues movement, draws more than half a million fans from around the world to celebrate the scene’s past, present and future. Created in 1984 to honor Muddy Waters, one of the progenitors of the Chicago blues style, the festival has hosted famous performers like BB King, Ray Charles, Bonnie Raitt, and Chuck Berry. (Jazz lovers can take in the Chicago Jazz Festival, too).

More cerebral Chicago activities come courtesy of the Chicago Architecture Foundation, which operates nearly 90 different tours, which you can take by boat, by bus, or on foot, and which cover everything from the city’s ultramodern skyscrapers to the historic downtown district and tours of various neighbourhoods. The foundation also organizes an Appetite for Design series, which merges culinary and architectural appreciation at some of Chicago’s top restaurants.

  • 2nd Fridays Gallery Walk

    What could be better than spending a Friday evening exploring the eclectic galleries of the Chicago Art District? How about socializing with the ar... More
  • 57th Street Books

    The non-academic sister store to the Seminary Co-op, 57th Street Books is located underground in an unassuming red-brick building in Hyde Park. Ins... More
  • Alternatives Shoes

    Located in a very popular shopping area along North Michigan Avenue, Alternatives not only stays ahead of current trends, but has been know to insp... More
  • Andrea Sertoli

    Whether you are hoping to hit the “Big 3” (Rome, Florence and Venice) with tots in tow, sample phenomenal wines in the alluring region of Apulia, o... More
  • Apartment Number 9

    Style-savvy men frequent this Bucktown clothing boutique to find the latest fashions from both established and emerging designers. Owned by sisters... More
  • ArchiCenter

    Housed in the 1904 Santa Fe Building designed by Daniel Burnham, the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s ArchiCenter features temporary exhibits as w... More
  • Arts Club of Chicago

    In operation since 1916, the Arts Club of Chicago hosts three public art exhibits each year in its gallery space on East Ontario Street. The buildi... More
  • Beansprout

  • Belly Dance Maternity

    Even celebrities like Julia Roberts and Naomi Watts have relied on this boutique for stylish, non-frumpy maternity clothes. Located in Wicker Park,... More
  • Big City Swing

    Whether you’re hoping to master complicated dance floor dips or simply tame your two left feet, Big City Swing has you covered with well-priced dan... More
  • Binth

  • Blake

    Eleven months out of the year, this unassuming River North storefront goes unadorned, with no signage, no merchandise displays and a hard-to-find e... More
  • Book Cellar

    Quality over quantity is the rule of thumb at this small, independently owned bookstore in Lincoln Square. Behind a glass storefront brightened by ... More
  • Carole Cambata

    Top tip: Don’t miss early morning prayers at the Thiksey monastery, near Leh, in northern India. “When the prayers end, the younger monks suddenly ... More

Explore things to do in Illinois for more options.

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