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Things to do in The Chicago Area

From classic must-see sights to insider hot spots and local haunts, there are countless things to do in The Chicago Area. How do you decide? Start with our travel guide and get our favorite The Chicago Area attractions and activities—shops, museums, parks, nightclubs, coffee shops, tours, and more.

Our international team of editors and writers handpick the best things to do in The Chicago Area to help travelers discover authentic, local experiences. Whether a hidden boutique with handcrafted products, a popular local festival, a bakery with a cult following, or a picnic-worthy park, Travel + Leisure guides the way, providing information and inspiration. From beaches and bars to cultural attractions and up-and-coming neighborhoods, our list will help you make the most of your romantic getaway, family vacation, or trip with friends. Below find Travel + Leisure’s top picks for what to do in The Chicago Area.

  • Grosse Point Lighthouse

    Rising 113 feet above the shore of Lake Michigan, the Grosse Point Lighthouse provides panoramic views of the water, as well as Chicago skyscrapers... More
  • Homer's Homemade Gourmet Ice Cream

    The Chicago area has plenty of couture ice cream operations—like Ruth and Phils Gourmet Ice Cream, with such arcane flavors as sour cream cinnamon—... More
  • Puma Safaris

  • The Baha'i House of Worship

    This is one of only seven Bahai temples on earth and just one in the Western Hemisphere, built for the more than five million people worldwide who ... More
  • Tor Jensen

    Special Booking: Jensen creates itineraries such as tours of Greenland’s northernmost reaches above the Arctic Circle by private helicopter and dog... More

Explore things to do in Chicago for more options.

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