Photo by by Sawyer Bengtson on Unsplash.com
Chicago is famous for so many things: The restaurant scene, the architecture, the sports, the festivals, and the music scene, to name a few. I’m a big fan of the city, and it’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of the city’s tourist attractions, but there are actually a lot of things to do in Chicago that aren’t tourist attractions. Here are a few of my favorite things to do in Chicago.
Chicago’s Best Museums
Chicago is an art-lovers’ paradise and even the most casual art lovers will enjoy some of the most famous art museums around the city. Chicago’s Museum Campus is home to four of Chicago’s most famous museums: The Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Science and Industry, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Shedd Aquarium. The Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum of Science and Industry are easily accessible to the train, and it’s a simple 10-minute walk from the train station to the Shedd. The Chicago Cultural Mile is home to almost 50 art museums and 70 other museums that are all within a short walking distance. You can even combine two museum visits into one day, as The Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum of Contemporary Art are both within two miles of each other.
Chicago’s Best Experiences
I’m sorry, but the Windy City doesn’t get the same attention as some of the more famous cities. That’s because it has so many attractions that are outside the core tourist attractions. The Willis Tower On top of being the tallest building in the Windy City, the Willis Tower has an observation deck that offers 360-degree views of the city. The viewing platforms are super smooth and comfortable and it’s great for both standing and sitting.
Chicago's Best Markets
On your way to the Windy City, you’ll pass through the L train's Calumet Heights neighborhood, and you may be passing one of the best local farmers markets in the city. Boulevard Grocery, with locations in Beverly and Matteson, has been growing since its first location opened in 2005, and the Beverly location is a go-to. On Saturday mornings, the Beverly location is crowded with a few hundred people, many of whom are visiting the Chicago Bears. The Beverly Boulevard location is known for its wild and delicious (and probably high in calories) deep-dish pizza, but the store also offers grilled paninis, soups, and pastas. They're serving up a smoked chicken Caesar salad for lunch, and for dessert, I'm dying over their delicious crepes.
Chicago’s Best Parks
This might be the number one thing to do in Chicago that’s not in a touristy part of town. In the Lincoln Park neighborhood, there are more than a dozen excellent restaurants to choose from.There is also the Lincoln Park Zoo. It’s also right across the street from one of the most beautiful and famous art museums in the world: the Art Institute of Chicago. A short walk away is Grant Park, which was the site of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition.
Chicago's Best City Views
Chicago is the city of skyscrapers and city views, so it should be no surprise that there are tons of places to watch the city lights twinkle at night. Some of my favorite places to watch the city skyline are the Buckingham Fountain on the Chicago River, with its dramatic design; the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), with its bright colors and whimsy; and even the Willis Tower, which, in addition to being Chicago's tallest building, has 360-degree views.
Chicago's Best Sport
Chicago is a huge sports town, as it's the home of the Chicago Bears, Chicago Bulls, Chicago Cubs & Chicago White Sox, and many others. If you love sports you will love this city too.