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Chicago’s top attractions

  • Stroll through Millennium Park and take in the art and architecture, including Cloud Gate, which is also known as “The Bean,” Crown Fountain and Lurie Garden.
  • Go shopping along the Magnificent Mile on Michigan Avenue.
  • Discover the fun attractions at Navy Pier, including a large Ferris wheel, theater and carousel.
  • Enjoy a day with the kids at the Shedd Aquarium and Lincoln Park Zoo.
  • Tour Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs and one of the oldest baseball parks in the U.S.
  • Take in city views from the Willis Tower’s Skydeck.
  • Enjoy Chicago’s family attractions.

Chicago is a popular place to visit all year round, though visitors will find that spring and fall have the most pleasant weather. Summertime activities include Lollapalooza music festival, Taste of Chicago, Chicago Jazz Festival and the Chicago Gay Pride Parade. Other major events throughout the year include the Chicago Underground Film Festival in the spring, the Chicago International Film Festival in the fall and the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival in the winter.

Family friendly city: Chicago fun

Lakefront beaches

No, it’s not the ocean. But your teenager can try stand-up paddle boarding on Lake Michigan (there are several rental shops) while younger ones construct a good ol’ sandcastle, all while mom and dad play beach volleyball, take a swim or bronze on the beach. Twenty four free beaches line Chicago’s 26-mile shoreline, most of them named for the streets that end at the water. The seven-mile string of North Side beaches that are part of Lincoln Park, the city’s largest, are the most popular, especially side-by-side Oak Street and North Avenue Beaches, with less crowded beaches farther north.

 

Chicago riverwalk

Until the 1990s, the Chicago River was filled with sewage, garbage and industrial waste—an embarrassment to the city. Now it’s not only clean, it has become an attraction for visitors who stroll the riverwalk as it snakes through downtown Chicago. Kids may be bored walking past restaurants and public-art installations, but should enjoy following the river with their parents on a rented bike, surrey or kayak—or in a water taxi or sightseeing boat.