Chicago Tourist Attractions

Chicago tourist attractions include Navy Pier, Magnificent Mile shopping district, Museum Campus, Chicago Loop, and the Willis Tower.

Navy Pier (www.navypier.com) is a kilometer (0.62 mile) long pier on the shores of Lake Michigan, and an important recreational area within Chicago’s harbor.

The main attractions on the pier include…

  • a 46 meter (150 ft) tall Ferris wheel,
  • IMAX movie theater,
  • Chicago Shakespeare Theater, and
  • Chicago Children’s Museum.

The pier also has fast-food kiosks, shops, a ballroom, and exhibition spaces.

Entrance to the pier famously includes massive sculptures and an interactive water fountain. From the dock, you can also participate in a variety of boat cruises and boat tours.

VIDEO: TV ad for the Navy Pier.

Magnificent Mile (themagnificentmile.com) has been (from the 1940s) a nickname for a commercial section of the Michigan Avenue.

Today, it is the most valuable section of the city, featuring a range of fine restaurants, hotels, shops…

…and a number of the world’s tallest and most important buildings, such as Wrigley Building, John Hancock Center, Tribune Tower, and Allerton Hotel.

If you’d like to take advantage of the shopping opportunities here, you can choose from some of best department stores and brand boutiques in the world, including…

  • Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue,
  • Nordstrom, Macy’s, Lord & Taylor, Cartier, Escada, Bulgari,
  • Chanel, I Medici Firenze, Ralph Lauren, Bottega Veneta,
  • Hermes, Gucci, Giorgio Armani, and Burberry.

Magnificent Mile also features three 5-star hotels: Peninsula Chicago, Four Seasons Hotel Chicago, and the Ritz-Carlton Chicago.

VIDEO: Highlights of the Magnificent Mile “In-Fashion Shopping Festival” event.

Chicago Tourist attractions also include the Museum Campus, which contains three important Chicago highlights:

  • Adler Planetarium (adlerplanetarium.org),
  • Shedd Aquarium (sheddaquarium.org), and
  • Field Museum of Natural History (fieldmuseum.org).

VIDEO: A tour of Shedd Aquarium.

The area also consists of a total of 230,850 square meters (57 acres) of waterfront park, including a pleasant pedestrian area.

The park’s promenade, next to the Solidarity Drive, has a number of monuments that honor the world’s scientists, such as Nicholas Copernicus.

Of the museums, the Adler Planetarium is the oldest existing planetarium in the Western Hemisphere, and its Astronomy Museum is also the only museum in the world with two full-sized planetariums.

Shedd Aquarium, on the other hand, is an indoor public aquarium with more than 25,000 fish and about 2,100 different types of marine animal species, ranging from marine mammals to birds, snakes, and insects.

Field Museum of Natural History, meanwhile, is one of the largest natural history museums in the world.

Its many highlights include “Sue,” the largest and most complete Tyrannosaurus rex fossil in the world, and an extensive collection of precious stones, including diamonds, from all over the world.

Of the Chicago tourist attractions, Chicago Loop is the local nickname for Chicago’s historic city center…

…bounded by Chicago River to the north and west, Congress Parkway to the south, and Columbus Drive to the east.

Loop’s architecture is dominated by skyscrapers, most important of which are the Chicago Board of Trade Building and Willis Tower, the tallest skyscraper in the United States.

The area’s “Loop Retail Historic District” competes with the Magnificent Mile (located north of the Loop) in terms of number of the city’s best stores for shopping.

Loop also has a number of significant outdoor sculptures, from artists such as…

  • Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró,
  • Henry Moore, Marc Chagall,
  • Alexander Calder, and Jean Dubuffet.

A good time to visit the area is during one of the many annual festivals held within Loop, including…

  • “Taste of Chicago” a two-week food festival, and
  • “Looptopia”, which continues through the night.

Chicago Tourist attractions also include Willis Tower skyscraper (www.willistower.com), located within Chicago Loop.

Willis Tower is one of the tallest skyscrapers in the world, and it has been the tallest building in North America since 1973.

In addition to admiring the skyscraper from outside, you can visit its observation deck, the Skydeck (theskydeck.com), located 103 floors / 412 meters (1,353 ft) above sea level.

On a clear day, you can see from the Skydeck over Lake Michigan, to Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin.

Nearby the Skydeck, you can visit another popular observation platform, located at the John Hancock Center skyscraper…

…but that observation deck is 98 meters lower than the one at the Willis Tower.