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What this city lacks in New York bravado and LA style, Chicago makes up for in the astonishing variety of its architecture, vibrant culture, and thriving art scene, all of which are highlighted by the Art Institute of Chicago. It is also a truly family-friendly destination, with world-class attractions such as the Field Museum and Shedd Aquarium to delight the whole family.

With so much to see, it's worth getting a sense of perspective from the start. Visit the John Hancock Observatory or the Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) Skydeck for views of the city from breathtakingly high up. Then check out Navy Pier for a 3D motion simulation of Chicago's fascinating history and exciting future. Afterwards, hop on a boat tour departing from the adjoining pier to explore the waterfront area.

A good option for visitors is the Go Chicago Card which gives discounted admission to all the city's key attractions, shopping and dining discounts, various free tours, and a guide book. A Go Chicago Card also allows you to skip some long queues, which can be useful in peak season. The card is available from a number of tour operators or online, and costs upwards of $95 for adults.

Art Institute of Chicago

Art Institute of Chicago

An impressive pair of bronze lions guards the entrance to the Art Institute of Chicago, a museum which houses one of the greatest art collections in the world. Works date from 3,000 BC through to the present, including a renowned collection of Impressionist...  see full details



Frank Lloyd Wright's Home

Frank Lloyd Wright's Home

America's most renowned architect lived and worked in this complex, which served as private studio and architectural laboratory for the first twenty years of his career. Wright's haven started out as a simple cottage and was continually added on to by the architect, resulting...  see full details



Rockford

Rockford

Illinois' second city, Rockford, set in rolling hills, is just northwest of Chicago. It is worth a visit for culture vultures and golfers in particular. The city is known for its 'cultural corridor' of which the highlight is the Rockford Art Museum's stunning permanent...  see full details



Navy Pier

Navy Pier

Situated on Chicago's lakefront, Navy Pier has developed into one of the city's main tourist destinations, offering year-round attractions, events, and entertainment for the whole family. Navy Pier encompasses acres of parks and gardens, shops, and restaurants, as well as serving as an embarkation...  see full details



Sears Tower

Sears Tower (Willis Tower)

'You haven't seen Chicago until you've seen it from the Skydeck' is what many visitors will hear from locals and other tourists in the city. The iconic Sears Tower was renamed on 16 July 2009 to the 'Willis Tower', but the old name...  see full details



Millennium Park

Millennium Park

Millennium Park is one of Chicago's most popular destinations and is seen by Chicagoans as the crowning glory of their city. The award-winning park is famous for its innovative architecture and landscape design, featuring the work of several prominent artists, architects, and designers. The...  see full details



Hancock Observatory

360 Chicago

The John Hancock building is Chicago's third highest skyscraper. Located on the 94th floor, 1,000 feet (305m) above street level, the 360 Chicago Observatory is the city's only open-air skywalk, with 360-degree views, a talking telescope, audio Skytours that provide an overview of the...  see full details



Linden Allee, Botanic Garden

Chicago Botanic Gardens

With plenty of wide-open space for kids to run around, the Botanic Gardens is one of Chicago's most beautiful attractions. During the summertime, be sure to explore the Rose Garden, where over 7,750 plants are in full bloom. A number of greenhouses, including...  see full details



Cloud Gate

Chicago Loop

Stunning public art adorns downtown Chicago, created by world-renowned artists such as Pablo Picasso, Joan Miro, Alexander Calder, Marc Chagall, Henry Moore, and David Smith. Numerous walking tours of the Loop are available, with the Chicago Loop Alliance offering some free tours. Exploring the...  see full details



Buckingham Fountain

Buckingham Fountain

Often referred to as the city's front yard, Buckingham Fountain is one of the Chicago's most popular attractions. Located alongside Millennium Park and the Art Institute of Chicago in Grant Park, the fountain used to be the official starting point of the celebrated US...  see full details



Magnificent Mile

Magnificent Mile

The stretch of Michigan Avenue in Chicago that runs from Chicago River to Oak Street is known as the Magnificent Mile. Famed for its nightlife, it also serves as the main thoroughfare between Chicago's Loop business district and the Gold Coast. Visitors will love...  see full details



Route 66

Route 66 Sign

The world-famous Route 66 is colloquially known as the 'Main Street of America' or the 'Mother Road'. This is because it originally ran from Chicago, Illinois, through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California, before ending in Los Angeles. The stretch of...  see full details



Chicago History Museum

Chicago History Museum

Chicago has a colourful and fascinating history, ranging from devastating fires to gangster assassinations. The Chicago History Museum represents this history through an intriguing collections of artefacts from the city's past. This includes the first passenger car to operate on the Chicago L system,...  see full details



North Avenue Beach

Chicago Beaches

While Chicago is not well-known as a beach holiday destination, its position on the shore of Lake Michigan gives the city access to an extensive network of waterfront recreational areas. There are over 26 miles (42km) of open and free lakefront to enjoy....  see full details