Illinois Travel Guide

A modern reflective sculpture often referred to by locals as "The Bean." The artist was inspired by liquid mercury. It's a favorite of tourists for mind-bending reflection photos.

Commonly referred to as Chicago's Front Yard, this 319-acre park holds many of Chicago's main attractions and is frequently the venue for annual events and special occasions.

Millennium Park is a local gathering spot for both Chicagoans and visitors alike. The park holds several famous art installations, including Cloud Gate, and hosts hundreds of programs each year.

One of the largest science museums in the world, the museum has more than 35,000 artifacts and special hands-on areas just for kids in addition to running the Center for the Advancement of Science Education.

An award-winning museum of natural history, The Field was first built for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. One of the most popular exhibits is Sue, a skeleton of the largest T. Rex ever found.

The city's premier art museum, the permanent collection is home to over 300,000 pieces scattered throughout eight buildings. Two iconic lion statues stand guard in front of the museum, the steps of which are a popular proposal spot for Chicago couples.

With views of the city from the top of the John Hancock Center, the observatory is 1,000 feet up in the air and features Tilt, a viewing platform that leans visitors over the edge of the building.

For the best views in town you're going to have to go up. Way up, 103 stories high that is, to the top of Chicago's Willis (Sears) Tower.

A park and trail system along an abandoned rail line, this trail is especially good for biking, walking and running. The many art installations along the path make this stroll through Chicago's urban oasis all the more intriguing.

Family-friendly (and free), the Lincoln Park Zoo is open to the public 365 days a year.

Located inside the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, visitors to this 2,700-square-foot greenhouse share the space with 75 bird species and one-thousand butterflies.

Commonly referred to as "landscape art under glass," this beautiful conservatory occupies approximately two acres inside and often plays host to special events, demonstrations, and weddings. During the summer months, a stroll through the 12 acres of stunning outdoor gardens is a must.

In a neighborhood dotted with music venues, this instrument shop fits right in. Even if you’re not in the market for a vintage Fender, the sheer number of guitars in this place is remarkable, making it seem more a museum than a store.

Those on the hunt for soul classics—as well as classic and contemporary jazz, funk, and reggae beats—can easily kill a day digging in this renowned record shop’s bins overflowing with CDs, LPs, 45s, and other music of the nondigital and downloadable variety.

This delightful nonprofit boutique sells fair-trade and eco-friendly clothing, jewelry, housewares, and foodstuffs from artisans in more than 60 countries. Pick up a recycled messenger rice bag made by artisans in Cambodia or a Tornillo wood platter made by Peruvian carvers.