Chicago is an amazing city and offers many cool things to do! So many things in fact, you could definitely spend a whole week and still not see everything. This guide will help you map out your plan to visit the top attractions to see if you only have one day in Chicago. You will also find that many of the attractions to see are family and budget friendly.
Before we begin, if you think you will be in Chicago longer than a day, you may want to consider purchasing the Chicago City Pass to save money on entrance fees.
A note regarding COVID-19 – Due to suggested National and State restrictions over the spread of Coronavirus, many attractions, restaurants, bars, hotels have been temporarily closed or offering restricted hours. Please make sure to check the website, social media and/or call ahead to confirm that the location is open.
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Millennium Park is defiantly one of the top attractions to see in Chicago, not to mention it is free and family friendly! You will want visit the Cloud Gate, aka, The Bean, one of the most Instagrammable spots in Chicago. If you are visiting Chicago with children, you will also want to visit Maggie Daley Park. Not only does it feature a fun Play Garden, its design is inspired by Alice in Wonderland and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but there is a 40-foot climbing wall, and 18-hole mini golf course as well.
Certainly there is something for everyone in Millennium Park. In addition to these mentioned above there is also the Chicago Cultural Center, Lurie Garden and spectacular Crown Fountain.
Visit the Art Institute of Chicago
Next you can take the Nichols Bridgeway from Millennium Park to the Art Institute of Chicago. Certainly one of the best art museums in the U.S. and home to countless works by Monet, Renoir, Seurat, and Van Gogh, not to mention the Modern Wing’s collection of works by Chagall, Dalí, Matisse, Picasso, and Pollock. Also, children and families will love the interactive programs at the Ryan Learning Center.
Skydeck at Willis Tower
Skydeck at the Willis Tower, (formerly the Sears Tower) dares you to step out onto the 103rd floor. There you will find a 4 foot glass box to experience the view. Not only can you see straight down over 1,300 feet, but you have a 360 degree view, 50 miles out and expanding across four states as well. Willis Tower is also one of the tallest buildings in the world, and, as you might expect, the views from Skydeck are amazing.
Check out the Navy Pier
If you are visiting Chicago with children, then you will want to visit the Navy Pier. Of course, many adults will enjoy it as well. The Navy Pier features lots of fun activities like a giant Ferris wheel, an IMAX Theatre, restaurants and shops. In addition to these attractions, you will also find the Chicago Children’s Museum, the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, as well as sightseeing cruises and boat rides. In the summer months the Navy Pier host fireworks shows on Wednesday and Saturday nights.
Experience Chicago’s Riverwalk
The Riverwalk is one of the top attractions to see in Chicago. It’s not only beautiful, it’s a great way to view some of Chicago’s best architecture. A guided cruise tour makes it easy to view the architecture. In addition you can learn quite a bit about it as well. There are numerous cruise lines to choose from and you can learn more about them here.
Of course, if you’re traveling on a budget or just really enjoy being active, then walking along the river is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.
Enjoy the View at 875 North Michigan Avenue
Formerly known as the John Hancock Center, this building also offers amazing 360 degrees views of Chicago. Even though it’s not the tallest building in Chicago, it’s still one of the top attractions to see, because it features TILT, an enclosed moving platform that tilts you out over Michigan Avenue. In addition, 360 Chicago, is less crowded and has shorter elevator wait times than Willis Tower.
Chicago is known for wonderful food. but if you only have one day in Chicago, then you must enjoy one of the two most famous options. A Chicago style hot dog or Chicago deep dish pizza.
For deep dish pizza you can’t go wrong with either Lou Malnati’s or Giordano’s. Of course, there are so many options for great Chicago pizza, but these are two of the favorites and have numerous locations, therefore you don’t have to deal with long wait times to eat. Similarly, you have lots of options for great hot dogs in Chicago. That being said, Superdawg’s, Portillo’s, and Wolfy’s, are some of the favs in Chicago.
Handy, Dandy Map Included
If you’ll only be in Chicago one day, your time is limited. Therefore I’ve included a map of all the top attractions to see that you can easily download onto your mobile device.
In conclusion, I hope you have enjoyed this guide of top attractions to see in one glorious day in Chicago. Of course, if you find other cool things to do, please leave a comment here on the post.
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