10 Things to do in Chicago

By Elizabeth May
Posted at 26-06-2014

Chicago is the largest city in Illinois and the Midwest, and the 3rd largest city in the US after New York and Los Angeles.  It is an international hub for finance, commerce, industry, technology, telecommunications and transportation, with the O’Hare International Airport being the 2nd busiest airport in the world! 

Part of the culture of Chicago includes contributions to the visual arts, novels, film, theatre, improvisation comedy, and music, namely jazz, blues and soul.  Lets see what Chicago has to offer while you’re visiting!

  1. 360 Chicago
    Come see all of Chicago from the 94th floor, 1000 feet above the ground!  This place offers the best view of Lake Michigan, the Chicago skyline, and four neighboring states!  Another really cool attraction, for those who are feeling valiant, is Tilt.  Basically it’s an enclosed platform, which safely holds up to 8 people at a time, which then extends from the building at a 30° angle.  It almost feels as if you’re falling slowly.  Experience the thrill!
  2. Art Institute of Chicago
    This museum has won many awards, including being voted the #1 museum in the US.  There are over 300,000 magnificent paintings, drawings, textiles, sculptures, relics, bronze statues, and ancient artifacts housed in this museum. There are also educational tutorials meant for children, teens, parents and instructors.  This museum is internationally known for being one of the leading fine-arts institutions in the US.  If you’re going to visit a museum in the US, why not make it this one?
  3. Green Mill
    “Deep smoky jazz sounds fill the early morning hours as the soulful musicians continue to express their love of jazz by jamming ‘til the early dawn.”  This phrase alone is enough to lure in the musically inclined.  If you need more enticing information to bring you here, how about the fact that Al Capone and other gangsters hung out in this place in the 1920’s.  Don’t you want to see what all the jazz is about?  Literally?  One tip, come early, this place gets busy.
  4. Music Box Theatre
    This theatre is for those who aren’t interested in seeing the Hollywood blockbuster hits.  This is a 2-screen cinema that shows exceptional foreign and independent films and documentaries in a charming environment.  The interior is a mix of romantically imagined Venetian Palazzo with slightly run down but authentic 1920’s vaudeville showcase.  This is where you want to come to get off the tourist track.  www.musicboxtheatre.com/
  5. The Second City
    A comedy club that’s been around for over 50 years, and continues to entertain audiences 7 days a week.  Founded in the 1950’s, this comedy club aimed to seduce a younger audience (when at the time, mother-in-law jokes were more the fashion).  The approach was to incorporate both theatre and comedy, in an unconventional and improvisational kind of way.  The Second City continues to produce the top comedic talent in the industry, including entertainers like Mike Myers, Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, and Tina Fey.  Give yourself the gift of laughter. 
  6. Museum of Science and Industry
    This museum is a fantastic way to spend the day with family and kids.  Their interactive displays and exhibits are great fun, and also educational!  Explore the Earth’s wild eco-zones, compete in simulation games to create a more sustainable city, and experience 9 decades of Walt Disney’s history and artifacts.  They’ve also got an omnimax theatre where you can watch the historic landing of ‘D-Day: Normandy 1944’, or travel the length of a continent with the ‘Flight of the Butterflies’.  This museum has so much to see and do, your kids will love it, and you won’t be bored either.
  7. Ruxbin
    The restaurant aims to get back to the etymology of the word ‘restaurant’, which comes from the French present participle of restaurer; to restore.  The intimate setting is decorated with sephia tones of steam-punk décor.  It merges together the flair for the refurbished, repurposed and reclaimed, while creating an atmosphere of vintage respite.  You really must try the wild caught, copper river salmon with fried green tomatoes, lambs quarter pesto, walnut, red tropea onion, asparagus, black imperial rice and crème fraiche.  Yum!
  8. Palomar Chicago
    Set amidst the city’s most desirable attractions, this is the place to book your reservation.  Near Michigan Avenue, the street for shopping, museums, parks, and entertainment.  Palomar Hotel is contemporary and arty, and this is apparent as soon as you walk into the hotel.  Their contemporary pieces are scattered around the lobby and throughout the hotel.  They provide spacious and quiet rooms to contemplate the art, as well as to relax and unwind from the buzz of the city.
  9. Millenium Park
    This is the place where art and architecture meet.  There are several sections of the park which are worth seeing, such as Cloud Gate (the bean), Wrigley Square, Millennium Monument and the Boeing Galleries.  You can’t come to Chicago and not see this park.  It’s probably not like any other park you’ve seen.  Many Chicagoans say that they enjoy the experience of people watching around Cloud Gate, because of the tourists’ faces when they see it for the first time.   “No one is ever disappointed when they see the bean.” Make sure to bring your camera! 
  10. Buddy Guy’s Legends
    Eat your fill of southern Cajun soul food, be surrounded by the archive of Blues memorabilia, and let yourself be taken away by the live music which plays 7 nights a week.  Every true Blues fan knows that this is the only place in Chicago to experience the finest set.  Let the rhythm and lyrics envelop you, if you were never a blues fan before, you will be after visiting this place.  There’s no dress code, and no reservations, better get here early before it gets too crowded!