You’ve probably heard of the Field Museum. The Museum of Science and Industry. Shedd Aquarium. Millenium Park and the Bean. The Riverwalk and riverboat tours. The Sears - excuse us - Willis Tower. Navy Pier. Wrigley Field.
But did you know there’s a nature museum? A museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture? A museum dedicated solely to clocks and stained glass? A “hidden” garden and lily pool? A park over a cemetery, with the tomb of Ira Couch and 1000s of bodies still buried there?
Chicago offers much to do and something for everyone. Here are some resources to get you started as well as some of our favorite places and things to do.
- Choose Chicago: The official marketing organization for the city.
- Atlas Obscura Chicago Guide: The definitive guide to the world's hidden wonders.
- Airbnb Chicago Experiences: Classes, walks, workshops, and other things to do.
Lists We Find Helpful
- Best karaoke bars
- Best improv shows
- Best blues live music
- The 13 best Chicago comedy clubs for a good laugh
- The 25 best Chicago attractions
- 50 Best Things to Do in Chicago
- U.S. News Best Things To Do in Chicago
A Few of our Favorite Things
Do you have a favorite spot, activity, or food place in Chicago? Share your thoughts to be included here.
One of my favorite museums is the Oriental Institute at University of Chicago, about a mile west of Museum of Science and Industry. They have artifacts from the ancient Middle East going back 10k years, including a jaw-droppingly awesome stone winged-bull-man god and a statue of King Tut. OI is also near Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie House and U of C's Smart Museum of Art, and about a half mile east of the DuSable Museum of African American History. If you're driving, there's free street parking!
I also want to mention that DePaul University has a small art museum that's worth checking out during MidCamp. They were the first museum anywhere to show Bob Ross paintings, in a 2019 exhibition.
I make a point to see a concert every time I visit Chicago! From widely-known bands to world class blues to new-to-you, soon-to-be favorites, add some live entertainment to your evening - there’s so much to discover here!
You can't beat the restaurant scene in Chicago! Having recently moved to the suburbs, I find myself making any excuse to hit up both old and new spots downtown. Even if you can't always count on the weather here to cooperate, you'll always leave the city happy and more importantly, full!
Chicago boasts over 40 James Beard Award-winning chefs and restaurants -- including Top Chefs Rick Bayless and Stephanie Izard. A few of the best spots IMHO are Frontera Grill, Girl & the Goat, RPM Italian, Sunda, and Chicago Cut. Don't forget to load up on Chicago Deep Dish Pizza in between. Happy eating!
Last weekend, they dyed the river green for St. Patrick's day, and it generally stays green for a week or so. If you're downtown, go visit the newly renovated riverwalk and see it for yourself.
The first thing I scope out in any city is the local coffee shop, and Chicago has so many great roasters to choose from. My two favorites are Dark Matter and Ipsento. Grab a window seat at Ipsento 606, order a "sassy" latte and settle in for some great people/puppy watching on the 606 path.
I'm a big fan of the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool. Though off a busy street in Lincoln Park, the Lily Pool offers a quiet escape from the often hectic city life and is absolutely gorgeous. I love to leave my phone at home and escape here.
Even if you haven’t been to Chicago before, you’ve probably heard about our architecture. There’re a lot of ways to get a great view, but my favorite is the Chicago Architecture Foundation boat tour. The weather might be a little brisk in March, but seeing skyscrapers from the water is truly a unique perspective.
If you want to get a look from above, get your elevator ticket for free and grab a drink at the Signature Room in the Hancock Tower. The cocktails aren’t cheap, but they’re worth the view (and most of the time the line is shorter than for the observation level). Also I hear there’s a window in the women’s restroom, but I’ve never actually seen it.
There was a time not so long ago when I was a quasi celebrity in the Chicago food truck scene, which is actually how I met fellow friend and organizer Avi Schwab. Me as FoodTruck50 and Avi as uchiNOMgo. While summer is the high season for food trucks, you can definitely catch them year round, and I can clue you in on where to find some. In fact, we are bringing one of our all-time faves to MidCamp for game night. Fun fact: my avatar is a photo of me waiting in line at a food truck, repping my favorite Chicago spirit, Malört #truestory #winning