Maps of Chicago
Sample itineraries for two days
Sample itineraries for six days
You will find magic in such sparkling Chicago attractions as Navy Pier - the Midwest top destination - and its boardwalk, 150-foot Ferris wheel, boat tours, entertainment featuring performers from around the globe, and countless dining and shopping options. Millennium Park, the city's newest attraction, offers dazzling music, art, landscape design and architecture - including the mammoth stainless-steel Cloud Gate sculpture, plus ice skating in the winter, splashing in the water of the interactive Crown Fountain during summer, and alfresco dining from spring to fall.
Chicago looks great from every angle as you'll see whether you're exploring the city's astonishing architecture during a guided tour - on foot or aboard a Chicago River boat, lakeshore cruise or sightseeing bus - or you're enjoying the birds-eye view from the 103rd floor Sears Tower Skydeck and the 94th floor Hancock Observatory. The city's 29 miles of lakefront paths are just one reason Chicago is one of the world's most walkable cities.
Chicago is often called a friendly city and you'll agree when you accept the city's warm invitation to sample such free attractions as Lincoln Park Zoo, one of the last free zoos in the country and home to more than 1,000 mammals, reptiles and birds. Enjoy the peaceful gardens under glass at Garfield Park Conservatory and Lincoln Park Conservatory.
Visit www.choosechicago.com/ to see more of the amazing attractions, dining, museums, shopping that await you in Chicago. The site also includes maps and travel resources to help to plan your trip to the 2012 IEEE Antennas and Propagation Society International Symposium and the USNC-URSI National Radio Science Meeting in Chicago, Illinois.
The secret is out: As Saveur Magazine reports, "the Windy City is America's new culinary star." And with good reason. Chicago's ever-evolving culinary scene reaches tantalizing new heights every day!
In fact, Chicago is such a food lovers' paradise that diners face just one dilemma: How to choose from so many delicious options?
One way to narrow your dining choices is by type of food. Eager for an ethnic meal? Along with the many restaurants serving outstanding Italian, Latin, and Asian foods, countless others offer excellent French, Greek, Indian, Mediterranean, Polish, German, or Ethiopian menus. Want seafood or soul food or barbecue? Find it downtown or in the city's 77 neighborhoods.
Chicago's contemporary dining scene is stunning. While the world takes notice, innovative chefs - many emphasizing foods from America's Heartland - are fusing flavor and excitement in delectable ways.
Chicagoans are famous for taking two classics very seriously: pizza and hot dogs. Sample these two favorites during your visit so you can officially join in the debate.
Or let restaurant atmosphere help you decide where to eat. Match your mood to one of the city's elegant dining spots, charming cafes, intimate bistros, convivial eateries, pizza palaces, or another of the endless alternatives.
Location will never limit your food choices. Great options for satisfying your hunger are always nearby.
World class museums
Ready to stretch your mind? Chicago's amazing museums are the perfect places to satisfy your curiosity and spark your imagination.
Science rules at the three great institutions that make up Chicago's lakefront Museum Campus. Centered within The Field Museum's 20 million biological and anthropological specimens is Sue, the largest and most complete T. rex dinosaur ever found. Explore the universe at Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum, the world's only museum with two full-size planetarium theaters. Or head to the Shedd Aquarium and get up close with 22,000 aquatic species.
The Museum of Science and Industry - the largest science museum in the Western Hemisphere - offers over 800 captivating interactive exhibits including the U-505 submarine, a working coal mine, a Boeing 727 airplane, and much, much more.
Among Chicago's world-class institutions showcasing art is the Art Institute of Chicago, whose permanent collection of paintings, drawings, photography and textiles includes the largest compilation of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works outside the Louvre and which recently opened the extraordinary new Modern Wing. Find outstanding and thought-provoking visual art created since 1945 at the Museum of Contemporary Art.
Curious about the environment we live in and creatures that live among us? Visit The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in Lincoln Park to learn about urban nature.
Photography is in focus at The Museum of Contemporary Photography, the Midwest's sole museum committed exclusively to this medium, and changing Chicago-focused installations at City Gallery at the Historic Water Tower.
In this city that celebrates its diversity, such institutions as The Oriental Institute, Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies, DuSable Museum of African American History, and the National Museum of Mexican Art hold special places of honor.
Chicago's museums for kids
Chicago's amazing museums open new doors and tickle the fancies of young adventurers.
Play and learning connect at Chicago Children's Museum. Children and families can engage in the Dinosaur Expedition, Inventing Lab, WaterWays water playground, Treehouse Trails, ArtAbounds Gallery for collaborative family art, and Kovler Family Climbing Schooner - an exhilarating one-of-a-kind opportunity to scale three floors of ship-shape rigging.
Descend a shaft and check out a working coal mine, step aboard a real U-505 German submarine, conduct hands-on science experiments, get a close and near "real time" look at planet Earth, and check out the 800 other captivating exhibits at the Museum of Science and Industry - the largest science museum in the Western Hemisphere.
Discover new ways to look at the natural world at The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. Permanent habitats include the spectacular Butterfly Haven, where 1000 butterflies provide a kaleidoscope of color, and Hands-on Habitat, where young naturalists explore the secret world of animal homes.
At the Field Museum's Crown Family Play Lab, kids can dig up dinosaur bones, grind corn in a pueblo, make music, and play scientist. Amenities like infant zones add extra convenience for families.
Set kids' sights on the stars at Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum where exhibits unlock the mysteries of science and space.
Experience the 22,000 aquatic species at home in Shedd Aquarium and it's magnificent and newly restored Oceanarium.
The Art Institute of Chicago was named the top art museum in the country for kids by parents.com because of such features as the Touch Gallery of sculptures kids can explore with their hands and the Kraft Family Education Center's family-friendly spaces, exhibitions, programs, games and more.
Save on admissions and enjoy restaurant and shopping discounts with a City Pass or Go Chicago Card. And check museum web sites for information on free admission days and special events.
There are lots of world-famous attractions in Chicago that cost money and they're worth every penny. But you don't have to dig deep into your pockets to enjoy a host of wonderful experiences because so many of them will cost you absolutely nothing! It's part of what makes Chicago a great town.
As one of the most comprehensive free arts showcases in the United States, the Chicago Cultural Center is a landmark building providing visitors a great place to start their journey in our great city. Expect to find exciting daily programming covering a wide range of the performing, visual, and literary arts. From an extensive visitor center to admission-free exhibitions, this beautiful jewel of Chicago is a must-see!
Come to Lincoln Park Zoo, the wildest spot in Chicago, where in the shadow of skyscrapers, you can see gorillas climb trees, sea lions frolic in their pool, and lions roar in the open air to no one in particular. Best of all, this wonderful zoo is open every day of the year and always free!
One of the largest gardens under glass in the nation, Garfield Park Conservatory features five permanent collections, an indoor children's garden, outdoor gardens and five annual flower shows. Admission and parking are free. Also free are the peaceful and enchanting gardens in the Lincoln Park Conservatory in the heart of Lincoln Park, adjacent to the Lincoln Park Zoo.
Why not let a friendly local show you around? You can make a reservation and a Chicago Greeter will gladly take you on a tour of the city. More than 100 Chicago Greeter volunteers speak 13 different languages. The Chicago Greeter registration system matches greeters with visitors based on language and interest. This service is entirely free!
Chicago shopping district
Make the most of Chicago's shopping opportunities by taking a divide-and-conquer approach to the city's incredible retail districts.
One destination for serious shoppers is the Magnificent Mile. Along Michigan Avenue north from the Chicago River, nearly 500 stores showcase everything from high-end retail to bargain shopping to specialty stores such as American Girl Place.
Retail giants anchor centers with multiple levels of upscale retailers, restaurants, salons and spas, and more. Find Bloomingdale's fashion department store at The 900 Shops, Macy's at Water Tower Place, Saks Fifth Avenue at Chicago Place and Nordstrom at The Shops at North Bridge.
The landmark State Street Retail Historic District features the gigantic flagship Macy's on State, Sears, and other Loop options including H&M, Nordstrom Rack, Urban Outfitters, Old Navy and Forever 21. Get the world's greatest popcorn at Garrett Popcorn Shops' three Loop locations. Shop for fine diamonds and gems on Wabash Avenue, the Midwest's largest jewelry district.
Oak Street is a "street of dreams" for shoppers worldwide. Find Kate Spade, Barney's New York, Prada, and other exclusive retailers and salons in this Gold Coast shopping district.
Nearby River North galleries feature works by established and emerging artists and antiques. Find clothing, jewelry, home decor and more in posh new shops.
Express your individuality with finds from one-of-a-kind boutiques along the tree-lined streets of Lincoln Park and Armitage Avenue. Boho chic? Get it and more in the Wicker Park-Bucktown shopping district Vanity Fair magazine labeled "a square mile pulsing with sassy boutiques."
In Chicago's theater scene, you'll find everything from traveling Broadway megahits and experimental theater to famous improvisational groups that display the wit and humor of the Second City. Record-breaking musicals like Jersey Boys make a visit to Chicago unforgettable.
Historically celebrated theater companies such as The Goodman Theater, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Shakespeare Theater, Lookingglass Theatre and The Second City are world renowned for their exciting productions. Or, if you are feeling adventurous, explore Chicago's neighborhoods for theatre created by hundreds of other talented, engaging and risk-taking companies.
Broadway in Chicago has breathtaking, award-winning theater that bedazzles audiences practically every day of the year. The Broadway in Chicago theaters make up the exciting Chicago theater district in the heart of the Loop. The group also offers historic theater tours and behind-the-scenes looks at some of the city's most popular productions.
The Steppenwolf Theatre Company has redefined the landscape of acting and performance by a generation of America's most gifted artists. Steppenwolf features an internationally renowned company of thirty-five ensemble artists whose talents include acting, directing, playwriting, filmmaking, and textual adaptation.
The Goodman Theatre located off Randolph Street in the Loop, has been a part of life in Chicago for more than 80 years. Committed to producing both classic and contemporary works and giving full voice to a wide range of artists and visions, the Goodman presents the work of an extraordinary group of local, national, and international artists.
The Second City comedy is always a visitor favorite. With alumni such as Bill Murray, Mike Myers, Tina Fey, Steve Carell, and Stephen Colbert, you're sure to laugh 'til it hurts. And who knows, you could see the next Hollywood big shot!
The Blue Man Group is best known for its wildly popular theatrical shows and concerts which combine music, comedy and multimedia theatrics to produce a totally unique form of entertainment.