What to Do in Chicago (An Insiders City Guide)
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Some of the items here would also fit in the other sections, such as free and family-friendly options.

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Within each listing, we provide links for more in-depth exploration of each selection. As a thank you, you'll receive our City Guide! Leave this field empty if you're human:. Free Tours By Foot offers this pay what you like walking tour seasonally, so check out the calendar and see what other tours we have!

We also list and compare the best night bus tours.

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The Chicago Theatre District offers a variety of live performances at renowned venues. In the mood for dining and a show? Tip: On a budget and looking to save on ticket prices? Groupon offers discounts on the hottest shows in town! The Goodman offers half-price tickets in the mezzanine day of performance!

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Book your tickets online for the top things to do in Chicago, Illinois on See traveler reviews and photos of Chicago tourist attractions. 10 reviews. The Classic Lake Tour is a minute sightseeing trip giving you plenty of time to soak up the sights, and with a recorded commentary for interesting titbits. At the.

All discounts subject to availability. See the Chicago skyline from a birds-eye view and marvel at the architecture as the city lights up. All three are included for free on at least a few of the tourist discount passes. The Blue Man Group mixes music, humor, and technology to create an electric experience that has captured audiences of all ages worldwide for over 25 years! Conveniently located at the Briar Street Theatre at N.

Tip: Book early and reserve the Splash Zone seats. Get ready to be covered in neon colors as the group sends paint splattering out of one-of-a-kind instruments while you and your friends dance and shout! Cellular Field. Baseball not in season? And who can deny a chance to see the Chicago Bears play at Soldier Field? There are endless choices for live music in a city as large as Chicago, from local bands at hundreds of bars and restaurants to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra , one of the most renowned symphonies in the world.

Many of the top museums in Chicago offer after hours adults only events with cocktails, special tours and smaller crowds at the exhibits. What else should you do when visiting a new city? On a budget? You can still get a taste of Chicago with some of the Best Cheap Eats in the city. Or if you want to get background with your brunch, take one of the Best Chicago Food Tours.

Things to Do

Chicago has speakeasies — fitting for the mobster history of the Windy City and some of the Best Rooftop Bars. In our Guide to Chicago Bars you can find out about historic bars, game bars and where to have a pint while playing some trivia. No, really! The Chicago Riverwalk is a hidden gem of Chicago Downtown. Open 24 hours, you can stroll along six blocks of a continuously landscaped path along the Chicago River any time of night.

From State Street to Lake Street, each block has its own identity, separated by overhead bridges.

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Many of the activities included above in our top 10 section are free, such as walking down the Magnificent Mile or taking a free walking tour. But there is so much more! Be sure to read our posts on free things to do, both of which include items that are free. Below are some suggestions on how to spend your evening in Chicago for free.

Wherever you might be in the city, you are not far from a local park that is hosting a neighborhood event. Chicago holds over unique events at 77 different neighborhood parks throughout the year, and many are free. You may find a movie showing, a community bonfire, a seasonally-themed party for the whole family, and even a service project. Info: For the schedule of events, go to www.

Be sure to take in the architecture on the outside and inside of the building, as well as the glass roof of the Winter Garden on the 9 th floor. Info: Harold Washington Library is located at S. State St. Check out www. There is music every night of the week, and Monday nights are usually free, featuring local and national musical acts. Chicago is famous for its free summer festivals.

Music goes well into the night and features some of the top acts in each genre, taking place on the biggest outdoor stages in downtown Chicago. Info: www. Find out more about ice skating in Chicago on our post. The Logan Square neighborhood is a trendy scene for nightlife, and two bars in particular have no-cover events almost nightly. Just down the street is the Whistler, which also hosts DJs and music that often caters to the jazz crowd. Visit www. The Whistler is located at N Milwaukee Ave. Visit whistlerchicago.

The work of legendary Chicago painter Ed Paschke is preserved at this Jefferson Park art center, and is open until 7pm every night. Visitors can take either a staff-led tour, or can check out an iPod and take a self-guided tour of the gallery. Info: The gallery is located at W Higgins.

Bookstores, libraries, and cafes in Chicago often host a number of literary events. Book release parties, book readings, and author readings with local and even nationally-known writers are great ways to get to know an author or literary work in an intimate setting. One unique bookstore to check out is City Lit Books in Logan Square, which hosts these events plus open mic nights. Your kids will feel so proud of themselves when they master climbing techniques and make it to the top of a pitch.

Flowers, trees and butterflies are the stars of the show at Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum , open year-round. Be sure to go during the daily butterfly release for an extra magical experience. Tiny sandwiches delivered on tiered trays, mint chocolate tea, and fancy dining outfits are all the rage when it comes to having a special day out with mom.

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Any one will do! Fly around old school on quads and impress the kiddos when take your family roller skating. See beautiful and skilled dancers, as they lead you through stories via dance at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. Kids as young as 18 months through 18 years of age can take classes with their Youth Dance Programs.

They are constantly hosting date night events, so check their website often for those updates. Maggie Daley Park is arguably the best park in downtown Chicago. Kids can climb, swing and crawl on a massive playground, with panoramic views of the city in the background.

Find more things to do in Chicago

And when winter starts to feel endless, pretend it away at an indoor water park. Pumpkin farms , corn mazes and harvest fests keep us busy even after that last leaf falls. Freak your kids out by showing them how people used to see movies by taking them to Cascade Drive-In , a nod to yesteryear in West Chicago.

Walk the streets of China Town for an experience like no other, which can even include a kid-squeal-inducing ride on the water taxi. Eat at any one of the authentic restaurants and take photos under the red gates. Spend a fun day keeping score and triumphing over your kids at one of these mini golf courses around Chicagoland. Or, you can just let them win. Walk or ride your bikes along The , an awesome elevated trail with sculptures and great views, connected to six neighborhood parks that mirrors the Highline in New York City.

Dance and sing at a concert for kids at Beat Kitchen. These musical matinee shows encourage kids to join in the fun, front row. This Japanese-inspired garden will set the tone for a relaxing stroll through nature. The Midwest might not be known for its light meals and juices, but Chicago actually has a number of healthy juice bars that will make you rethink those juice boxes in favor of the fresh stuff.

Kids can see and play inside an ambulance and firetruck, practice running around with a real fire hose, and even dress up in little fire costumes. Bring your camera, maybe even a real non-camera-phone one, and discover one of these colorful murals created by talented street artists throughout the city. Watch your food be delivered by a train at The Choo-Choo , a favorite for birthday celebrations and free cupcakes with train whistles. No midwest autumn is complete without a trip to an apple farm and we have you covered with our favorite spots for picking.

If autumn is reserved for apples, then spring is all about those sweet, sweet berry picking farms. Pick away and let the day inspire you to sign-up for a local CSA. Take a ride through the city on the Chicago Trolley , especially fun during the holiday lights. Often, tickets may include discounts at other Chicago attractions. Stroll through one of the many exhibits at the Museum of Science and Industry , where your kids will learn from in-house scientists through hands-on stations and immersive experiences.