Chicago Places

TripWhat's travel guide to the Windy City; our list of the best things to see, including Lincoln Park Zoo, Metro and Steppenwolf Theatre Company.
  • The best place in Chicago: Lincoln Park Zoo

    Lincoln Park Zoo

    2200 N Cannon Dr
    Daily 9AM-6PM, winter 9AM-5PM, summer weekends 9AM-7PM. Free. Few things in Chicago are finer than the Lincoln Park Zoo. It's world-class, yet admission is free; its winding, expansive grounds have the charm of age, yet its facilities are modern and the animals are healthy, happy, and personable. The brand new Great Ape House is one to see, and the Farm In The Zoo features plenty for kids to do, but everyone has their own favorites (penguins).
    Lincoln Park food nearby
  • Metro

    Metro

    3730 N Clark St
    Tickets vary by event. Chicago's foremost rock venue, although other genres like electronic and hip hop figure in the lineup as well. If a band is on the verge of stardom and they're on their way through Chicago, the Metro has a knack for booking them. Many shows are all ages, and are generally affordable. Tickets general admission (e.g. standing room only), so be prepared to stand, and press forward for your right to see a guitarist's nostrils. Smart Bar, next door, is owned by the Metro and features good DJs most nights of the week.
    Lake View eat nearby
  • Steppenwolf Theatre Company

    Steppenwolf Theatre Company

    1650 N Halsted St
    Box office M-Sa 11AM-5PM, Su 1-5PM. Tickets from $40. The creation of John Malkovich, Gary Sinise, and many others, Steppenwolf features cutting-edge theater and doesn't trade on the famous name, offering both original material and incisive re-stagings of classic plays (like a terrific recent production of The Crucible). Unlike Second City, the famous alumni of Steppenwolf make occasional returns to the stage as their schedules allow.
    Lincoln Park restaurants nearby
  • 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
  • Frederick C Robie House

    Frederick C Robie House

    5757 S Woodlawn Ave
    Tours Th-M 11AM-3PM every 30 minutes. $15, $12 youth and seniors, children under 4 free. This fabulously impractical house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright is one of the world's most famous examples of the Midwestern "Prairie School" of architecture, which aimed to create buildings with prominent horizontal lines evocative of the prairie landscape. The interior is bizarre, intended to remind its inhabitants of a ship, and is surrounded by stained art glass windows. You must take an official tour to see the interior, which lasts about an hour. Tours of the surrounding historic neighborhood are offered as well — it is best to make reservations online beforehand. Be sure to take a gander at the University of Chicago's Business School across the street, which was designed to emulate the style of the Robie House in a more modern fashion.
    Hyde Park eat nearby
  • Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio

    Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio

    951 Chicago Ave
    Admission and guided tour is $15 adults, $12 children and seniors, free for children 3 and under. This amazing house is not very large and admission is strictly limited. You may be able to turn up on a wet February day and gain immediate entrance but for most of the year you will have to book in advance. Walking tours to other Frank Lloyd Wright houses in the Oak Park area are also organized.
    Austin restaurants nearby
  • National Museum of Mexican Art

    National Museum of Mexican Art

    1852 W 19th St
    A lovely, small gallery full of vibrant colors and well-curated installations focused on understanding Mexican as well as Mexican-American history and culture through art. The museum serves as the center of the annual Day of the Dead celebration in the fall — this is a great time to visit to see all the brightly painted, skull-filled, and often humorous Ofrendas.
    Lower West Side food nearby
  • Chicago History Museum

    Chicago History Museum

    1601 N Clark St
    M-W noon-8PM, Th-Sa 9:30AM-4:30PM, Su noon-5PM. $5 adult, $1 children; Free on select days. A creative urban history museum. Exhibits include The Pioneer, the first railroad locomotive to operate in Chicago, and the bed upon which Abraham Lincoln died; more fun for kids is the Chicago-style Hot Dog showcase, which supplies all the giant plastic ingredients you'll need to turn yourself (or your little brother) into a life-sized hot dog (no ketchup, of course). They also host regular tours of different CTA lines and walking tours of Lincoln Park and Old Town.
    Lincoln Park eat 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 restaurants nearby
  • John Hancock Center

    John Hancock Center

    875 N Michigan AveSte 3614
    $15 adults, $10 children. 360-degree view from the 94th floor. Not quite as high as the Sears Tower Skydeck, but with a better view, and from January to March, an ice-skating rink! For drinks, see the Signature Room below.
    Loop food nearby
  • Portage Theater

    Portage Theater

    4050 N Milwaukee Ave
    Tickets vary by event. A beautiful old movie palace in Portage Park, built in 1920 with a whopping 1,938 seats. It's only open for special events and festivals like the Silent Summer Festival [3] and scary movies around Halloween. The Empty Bottle in Ukrainian Village sometimes hosts shows here.
    Pottage Park eat nearby
  • Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

    Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

    2430 N Cannon Dr
    M-F 9AM-4:30PM, Sa-Su 10AM-5PM. Adults $9, children 3-12 $6, Th free. Carefully positioned within walking distance of the Lincoln Park Zoo in hopes of being parents' second stop while they're in the area, the Notebaert Nature Museum is...okay. Exhibits are geared toward kids and are sometimes hands-on. The only consistent must-see is the butterfly haven.
    Lincoln Park restaurants nearby
  • Court Theatre

    Court Theatre

    5535 S Ellis Ave
    16 Sep–12 Jun 2011 performances: usually W-Th 7:30PM, F 8PM, Sa 3PM & 8PM, Su 2:30PM & 7:30PM. Student $8-20, general $25-50, half-price tickets available one hour before the show. Excellent dramatic theater on the University campus.
    Hyde Park food 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 eat nearby
  • UIC Pavilion

    UIC Pavilion

    525 S Racine Ave
    Box office Th-F 9AM-6PM, 2-3 hours before events. Tickets usually $15-35. UIC's campus stadium is remarkably adaptable, hosting college sports like basketball and the school's stand-out ice hockey team (the Flames), Chicago's WNBA team (the Sky), and as concerts for mid-sized to major touring bands.
    Near West Side restaurants nearby
  • Chicago Symphony Orchestra

    Chicago Symphony Orchestra

    Symphony Center220 S Michigan Ave
    Box office M-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su 11AM-3PM. Student prices can run as low as $10; tickets for CSO events start from $25, but performances by traveling artists vary. Home of Chicago's renowned orchestra; they spend a lot of time on the road, though, so visiting orchestras and stately jazz concerts can also be found here, as can the occasional curveball like a silent film.
    Loop food 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 eat nearby
  • Harris Club at the United Center

    Harris Club at the United Center

    1901 W Madison
    Most games start at $38 for upper level seats, concerts closer to $50. Home of the NBA Chicago Bulls and the NHL Chicago Blackhawks. The United Center doesn't have much in the way of character as a stadium, but the sightlines are great from anywhere in the house, and both teams are on an upswing. Fans of Michael Jordan (who played here from 1996-98) should look for his jersey in the rafters and his statue outside. (Check the statue details — he's wearing stone Air Jordans!) Most games sell out, but it's usually possible to find tickets at or near face value. On off-nights, this is Chicago's second-largest concert venue for big touring bands, the circus (in November), and other random events.
    Near West Side
  • Girl & the Goat

    Girl & the Goat

    809 W Randolph St
    Su-Th 4:30-11PM, F-Sa 4:30PM-12AM. $25+. "Top Chef" winner Stephanie Izard offers ten options each from the meat, seafood, and vegetable categories; sharing plates is advised, and pairing with beer is highly encouraged (30 carefully selected brews on tap). Though the menu changes with the chef's creative whims, variations on the "pig face" theme seem to be a mainstay.
    Near West Side
  • Smoque BBQ

    Smoque BBQ

    3800 N Pulaski Rd
    Su,Tu-Th 11AM-9PM, F-Sa 11AM-10PM. $4-21. This new, but very serious barbecue joint serves the best barbecue on the North Side of Chicago. If the brisket and ribs don't satisfy your refined palate, though, you should try the offerings on the Southwest Side before giving up on Chicago barbecue.
    Irving Park
  • Lori's Shoes

    Lori's Shoes

    824 W Armitage Ave
    M-Th 11AM-7PM, F 11AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-6PM, Su 12-5PM. Reinforce unfashionable feet and unremarkable soles here. Handbags and jewelry available as well.
    Lincoln Park
  • Open House Chicago

    Open House Chicago

    224 S Michigan Ave
    Runs numerous river cruises and themed architecture walks covering the Loop and other parts of the city, with offerings suitable for general audiences and people with specific interests. There are some small, informative exhibits inside their 224 S Michigan headquarters and a gift shop. Walking tours are usually $15, $12 for students/seniors.
    Loop food nearby
  • Chicago Architecture Foundation

    Chicago Architecture Foundation

    224 S Michigan Ave
    Runs numerous river cruises and themed architecture walks covering the Loop and other parts of the city, with offerings suitable for general audiences and people with specific interests. There are some small, informative exhibits inside their 224 S Michigan headquarters and a gift shop. Walking tours are usually $15, $12 for students/seniors.
    Loop eat nearby
  • Lyric Opera of Chicago

    Lyric Opera of Chicago

    20 N Wacker Dr
    From $31 for weekdays and $42 for weekends. Extraordinary productions of major operas, in the impressive Civic Opera House, overlooking the river; local legend has it that the back-story behind business magnate Samuel Insull's decision to build it was the inspiration for the opera scenes in Citizen Kane. Although highly acclaimed today, there was a minor controversy among purists when they began to project English titles above the stage for non-English operas.
    Loop restaurants nearby
  • Lincoln Hall

    Lincoln Hall

    2424 N Lincoln Ave
    Once of the best concert venues in Chicago, this former movie theater received a beautiful renovation in 2009 and now hosts good, moderately priced ($12-15) indie rock shows most nights of the week. (Keep an eye out for some excellent free events on Sundays.) Arrive early for a space in the roomy balcony or a few drinks in the comfortable bar area. There's a Dillinger connection here, too — the FBI's sharpshooters were camped out on the theater's roof, waiting for him to leave the Biograph.
    Lincoln Park food nearby
  • Black Ensemble Theater

    Black Ensemble Theater

    4520 N Beacon St
    Committed to building racial bridges through telling stories of African-American history to a cross-cultural audience. If that sounds stodgy, consider how they do it: recent productions have included Memphis Soul, a full-scale resurrection of the sound and story of Stax Records.
    Uptown eat nearby
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EDIT THIS ITINERARY Our list of places in Chicago uses some content from Wikipedia and Wikivoyage.