Chicago

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.

While most museums have a firm “do not touch” policy, the Field is hands-on and kid-friendly. Originally founded in 1893 to house the Columbian Exposition’s natural science and anthropology collections, the museum now owns 23 million artifacts and specimens.

Founded in Andersonville in 1979, Women & Children First is one of the largest feminist bookstores in the country.

One of three venues comprising the lakefront Museum Campus, the Adler was established in 1930, making it the first planetarium in the nation. Today, the museum houses two planetariums, a 3-D theater, and 10 hands-on space science exhibits.

It’s not the drinks that are the star at this rooftop. Nor is it the view (though the 29th-floor spot overlooks the Hancock Building and the Sears Tower). It’s the food.

Floor-to-ceiling windows create a bright, open atmosphere at this Wicker Park clothing boutique. Inside, patrons find an ever-changing selection of stylish, feminine garments from designers like Sophia Reyes, Myne, Poleci, Graham & Spencer, and Genetic Denim.

A satellite of the flagship London store, Graff specializes in fine diamonds sourced from mines around the globe.

For decades American Express Travel Insider Robin Turner has been a foremost expert on Hawaii, and while her personal interests include gardening and snorkeling, she is a pro at taking each customer’s passions and translating them into an unforgettable itinerary.

Rent a Vespa for eco-travels in and around Chicago.

Located on East Huron Street in a bright red building, this upscale women’s boutique is owned by Ikram Goldman, who at one time acted as Michelle Obama’s unofficial style consultant (not that you would ever get her to admit as much in print).

Located in a very popular shopping area along North Michigan Avenue, Alternatives not only stays ahead of current trends, but has been know to inspire them. The Florentine owner and founder prides himself on carrying Italian-designed men’s and women’s shoes that challenge traditional styles.

Part of the University of Chicago, the Oriental Institute is both a research organization and a museum dedicated to the ancient Near East.

Euro-Latin club

With more than 260,000 works of art ranging from ancient Egyptian to contemporary, the Art Institute is home to some of the world’s most celebrated masterpieces. But don’t rush inside without viewing one of its most famous sculptures at the entranceway—the North and South Lions.

Since the late 1920’s, the Swedish Bakery has been serving European-style pastries, cakes, and breads inside a standalone red-brick building in Andersonville.