Near South Side, Chicago Activities

Part of our Chicago travel guide; our list of the best attractions in Near South Side, including Adler Planetarium, McCormick Place Convention Complex and John G. Shedd Aquarium.
  • The best activities in Near South Side Chicago: Adler Planetarium

    Adler Planetarium

    1300 S Lake Shore Dr
    M-F 10AM-4PM, to 4:30PM Sa-Su; 9:30AM-6PM summer. General admission $12 adult, $8 children, $10 seniors; or $28/$22 including shows. It's the smallest of the three museums, but the oldest planetarium in the Western Hemisphere still packs a lot of fun. There are some interactive exhibits on the second floor, a scale model of the solar system, a few space rocks, and two high-tech dome theaters with nifty "star shows" throughout the day. Adler After Dark, on the third Thursday of each month, runs 6-10PM and features cocktails, a DJ, and wild, unfettered use of telescopes.
    Near South Side food nearby
  • McCormick Place Convention Complex

    McCormick Place Convention Complex

    2301 S Lake Shore Dr
    Prices and hours vary by event. Parking $16, regardless of time spent. Mayor Richard J. Daley believed firmly — as his son, Mayor Richard M., does after him — in total, ruthless domination of the convention circuit. Hence, the massive complex of McCormick Place, which is currently struggling to stay ahead of rivals in Las Vegas and Orlando. There's little reason to seek out McCormick Place if your business isn't already sending you there, but the auto shows are a draw for some visitors.
    Near South Side eat nearby
  • John G. Shedd Aquarium

    John G. Shedd Aquarium

    1200 S Lake Shore Dr
    M-F 9AM-5PM, Sa-Su 9AM-6PM; July/August 8AM-6PM. Admission $26.95 adults and $19.95 children, plus $2 for special exhibits. Home to a massive collection of marine life from throughout the world, among the very best you'll ever see. The Pacific Northwest-themed Oceanarium features otters, beluga whales, and a panoramic view of Lake Michigan, although you'll need to arrive extremely early for the (free) dolphin show. The terrific new Wild Reef exhibit offers floor-to-ceiling windows for an extraordinary view of a Philippine coral reef environment, complete with dozens of sharks.
    Near South Side restaurants nearby
  • Field Museum of Natural History

    Field Museum of Natural History

    1400 S Lake Shore Dr
    9AM-5PM daily, last admission 4PM. General admission $15 adults, $10 children, $12 seniors and students; Admission including some/all special exhibits is $22/$29 adults, $15/$20 children, $18/$24 seniors and students. The largest museum on the campus; highlights include SUE, the largest Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton in the world, and the man-eating Tsavo lions. Part of the collection came directly from the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, adding a layer of intrigue to all of those dusty old animals. Another highlight is the great, kid-friendly Egyptian exhibit, and the Hall of Gems will impress, too. Traveling exhibitions tend to be excellent, so this is one place where it's worth shelling out for the extra shows.
    Near South Side food nearby
  • McCormick Place

    McCormick Place

    2301 S Lake Shore Dr
    Prices and hours vary by event. Parking $16, regardless of time spent. Mayor Richard J. Daley believed firmly — as his son, Mayor Richard M., does after him — in total, ruthless domination of the convention circuit. Hence, the massive complex of McCormick Place, which is currently struggling to stay ahead of rivals in Las Vegas and Orlando. There's little reason to seek out McCormick Place if your business isn't already sending you there, but the auto shows are a draw for some visitors.
    Near South Side eat nearby
  • National Veterans Art Museum

    National Veterans Art Museum

    1801 S Indiana Ave
    $10 adults, $7 children. A collection of over 500 evocative pieces of art, created by artists who served in Vietnam. Recently, the museum has also begun to hold exhibitions on the Iraq war.
    Near South Side restaurants nearby
  • Soldier Field 10m

    Soldier Field 10m

    1410 S Museum Campus Dr
    Home of the Chicago Bears. [1] If you'd like to see a Bears game, then you have something in common with many Chicagoans; there's no point in listing ticket prices, because they sell out long before the season starts. The original Soldier Field was built in 1924 to honor veterans of the First World War, and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. By 2002, the stadium was in dire need of renovations, and the Bears promised to preserve the majestic colonnades of the old stadium. However, when the renovations were complete, what appeared to be a giant spaceship had landed at mid-field. The amenities have improved, and it really is a nice facility...on the inside. On the outside, it's hard to say what it is, other than probably the strangest-looking sports arena in America. (It's not a Historic Place any more, having been stripped of that designation in 2006.) Tours are available during the week, M-F 9AM-5PM, by phone appointment; $15 adults, $10 students, $7 seniors, $4 children.
    Near South Side food nearby
  • Ping Tom Memorial Park

    Ping Tom Memorial Park

    300 W 19th St
    A riverside park with a Chinese touch, including a riverside Chinese pavilion and a bamboo garden. On a clear day the park has nice southwest side views of the Chicago skyline. The park offers many summertime events from movie screenings to the very popular dragon boat races. Check the Chinatown Chamber of Commerce's website [1] for details.
    Armour Square eat nearby
  • Clarke House Museum

    Clarke House Museum

    1827 S Indiana Ave
    $10 adults, $9 students/senior, $5 children; add $5 to visit the Glessner House as well. Wednesdays free. Built in 1836, this unassuming little white house is the oldest surviving structure in Chicago. Tours are available through the Glessner House, but it's free to walk around the lovely Women's Park & Gardens that surround it.
    Near South Side restaurants nearby
  • Charter One Pavilion at Northerly Island

    Charter One Pavilion at Northerly Island

    1300 S Linn White Drive
    Box office 12-9PM. Tickets vary by event, although if you don't mind not being able to see the stage, you'll hear the show just fine anywhere on the lakefront near the Museum Campus. This small peninsula, jutting out into Lake Michigan, was the site of Meigs Airport until Mayor Daley's midnight demolition raid a few years ago; now it's a 7500-seat concert venue for touring rock and hip-hop acts.
    Near South Side food nearby
  • Soldier Field

    Soldier Field

    1410 S Museum Campus DrGate 14
    Home of the Chicago Bears. [1] If you'd like to see a Bears game, then you have something in common with many Chicagoans; there's no point in listing ticket prices, because they sell out long before the season starts. The original Soldier Field was built in 1924 to honor veterans of the First World War, and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. By 2002, the stadium was in dire need of renovations, and the Bears promised to preserve the majestic colonnades of the old stadium. However, when the renovations were complete, what appeared to be a giant spaceship had landed at mid-field. The amenities have improved, and it really is a nice facility...on the inside. On the outside, it's hard to say what it is, other than probably the strangest-looking sports arena in America. (It's not a Historic Place any more, having been stripped of that designation in 2006.) Tours are available during the week, M-F 9AM-5PM, by phone appointment; $15 adults, $10 students, $7 seniors, $4 children.
    Near South Side eat nearby
  • M Lounge

    M Lounge

    1520 S Wabash St
    Tu-Th 6PM-1AM, F-Sa 6PM-2AM. $12 martinis. $4+ beer, no cover. Martinis and jazz; live performances Tu-W, 7PM-10PM. Nights with music supposedly have a two drink minimum, but for cheapskates, it is unclear how this policy would be enforced.
    Near South Side
  • Second Presbyterian Church

    Second Presbyterian Church

    1936 S Michigan Ave
    Worship Su 11AM, free tours Su 12:15PM and W 2PM. Windows designed by Louis Tiffany and other stained-glass masters for a proudly diverse congregation.
    Near South Side food nearby
  • HoyPoloi Gallery

    HoyPoloi Gallery

    2235 S. Wentworth
    Su-Th 11AM-8PM, F Sa 11AM-9PM. Probably Chicago's strangest upscale boutique with all sorts of interesting artwork and furnishings for interior decorators and gift shoppers.
    Armour Square eat nearby
  • Willie Dixon's Blues Heaven Foundation

    2120 S Michigan Ave
    A major blues hotspot where Muddy Waters, Ahmad Jamal, Chuck Berry, Aretha Franklin, Bo Diddley, Etta James, Buddy Guy, John Lee Hooker, Ramsey Lewis, and many other greats recorded during Chicago's bluesiest period. The Rolling Stones also recorded here, paying tribute in their instrumental "2120 S Michigan Avenue." Public tours.
    Near South Side restaurants nearby
  • Pui Tak

    2214 S Wentworth Ave
    A historical landmark building notable for its traditional Chinese architecture now houses a Christian community center.
    Armour Square food nearby
  • Chinese-American Museum of Chicago

    238 W 23rd St
    Th-F 9:30AM-1:30PM, Sa Su 10AM-5PM. Suggested donation: $1-2. A museum with exhibits on Chinese-American culture, history, and the community's contributions to American society. Long closed due to a fire, the museum has finally reopened 25 September 2010.
    Armour Square eat nearby
  • The Clarke House Museum

    1827 S Indiana Ave
    $10 adults, $9 students/senior, $5 children; add $5 to visit the Glessner House as well. Wednesdays free. Built in 1836, this unassuming little white house is the oldest surviving structure in Chicago. Tours are available through the Glessner House, but it's free to walk around the lovely Women's Park & Gardens that surround it.
    Near South Side restaurants nearby
  • Glessner House Museum

    Glessner House Museum

    1800 S Prairie Ave
    Tours W-Su 1&3PM. $10 adults, $9 students/senior, $6 children; add $5 to visit the Clarke House as well. Wednesdays free. A stately Arts & Crafts mansion from 1887, now fully restored and refurnished to its original Gilded Age atmosphere. The staff are knowledgeable and enthusiastic.
    Near South Side food nearby
  • Arie Crown Theater

    2301 S Lake Shore Dr
    Box Office: M-Sa 10AM-6PM. Comfortable sit-down music venue in the midst of McCormick Place. It hosts big pop, rock, gospel, and R&B concerts as well as occasional musical.
    Near South Side eat nearby
  • Chicago Chinese Cultural Institute

    2145 S China Pl, 2F
    Offers an assortment of services and events, such as: neighborhood tours, film screenings, language instruction, and cooking classes.
    Armour Square restaurants nearby
  • Museum Campus Chicago

    Museum Campus Chicago

    Museum Campus is a 57-acre museum park that sits in front of Lake Michigan in Chicago and surrounds three of the city's most notable museums, all dedicated to the natural sciences: the Adler Planetarium, the Shedd Aquarium, and the Field Museum of Natural History. It is also known for holding the Soldier Field football stadium and the Lakeside Center of the McCormick Place. It used to hold the now demolished Meigs Field airport, which is now Northerly Island. The campus now comprises the southeast corner of Grant Park.
    Near South Side food nearby
  • Pui Tak Center

    Pui Tak Center

    2216 S. Wentworth Avenue
    The Pui Tak Center, formerly known as the On Leong Merchants Association Building, is a building located in Chicago's Chinatown. Designed by architects Christian S. Michaelsen and Sigurd A. Rognstad, the building was built for the On Leong Merchants Association and opened in 1928. The Association used it as an immigrant assistance center, and the building was informally referred to as Chinatown's "city hall". In 1988, the FBI and Chicago Police raided the building as part of a racketeering investigation. The US federal government seized the building that same year.
    Armour Square eat nearby
  • John G Shedd Aquarium

    John G Shedd Aquarium

    1200 S Lake Shore Dr
    The Shedd Aquarium is an indoor public aquarium in Chicago, Illinois in the United States that opened on May 30, 1930. The aquarium contains over 25,000 fish, and was for some time the largest indoor aquarium in the world with 5,000,000 US gallons of water. The Shedd Aquarium was the first inland aquarium with a permanent saltwater fish collection. It is surrounded by Museum Campus Chicago, which it shares with the Adler Planetarium and the Field Museum of Natural History. The aquarium has 2 million annual visitors; it was the most visited aquarium in the U.S. in 2005, and in 2007, it surpassed the Field Museum as the most popular cultural attraction in Chicago. It contains 1500 species including fish, marine mammals, birds, snakes, amphibians, and insects. The aquarium received awards for best exhibit from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums for Seahorse Symphony in 1999, Amazon Rising in 2001, and Wild Reef in 2004.
    Near South Side restaurants nearby
  • Northerly Island

    Northerly Island

    1400 S. Lynn White Drive
    Northerly Island is a 91-acre man-made peninsula along Chicago's lakefront. The site of the Adler Planetarium, Northerly Island connects to the mainland through a narrow isthmus along Solidarity Drive dominated by Neoclassical sculptures of Kościuszko, Havliček and Copernicus. With the demolition of Meigs Field Airport, it is now a part of the Museum Campus and has been converted into parkland. A semi-temporary concert venue, the Charter One Pavilion occupies part of the site of the former airport.
    Near South Side food nearby
  • The Velvet Lounge

    The Velvet Lounge

    67 E Cermak Rd
    Another essential stop on The Jazz Track, best reached by taxi. If you want to go to a bar that represents the real Chicago jazz tradition from Louis Armstrong right up to Pharaoh Sanders, then you must go to the Velvet Lounge.
    Near South Side
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EDIT THIS ITINERARY Our list of activities in Near South Side Chicago uses some content from Wikipedia and Wikivoyage.