touriat attractions and free things to do in chicago

15 Tourist Attractions And Free things to do in Chicago

Chicago is also known for its cultural influence and vibrancy, having numerous iconic buildings, world-class museums, legendary architecture, and a vibrant music and art scene. All these privileges will be reflected in the tourist attractions and free things to do in Chicago.

The city is home to many creative and innovative people, whose work has shaped the city’s culture in various ways. Additionally, Chicago is home to a variety of attractions and activities, appealing to both tourists and locals alike. The Navy Pier, Millennium Park, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Willis Tower are the most popular tourist attractions here.

This city has something for everyone—from its beautiful lakefront and vibrant neighborhoods to its rich cultural heritage. No matter, whether you are visiting Chicago for business or pleasure, there’s always something to do in Chicago.

For those visiting or planning to visit Chicago, there is no shortage of things to do and explore. From its beautiful lakefront parks and stunning skyline to its renowned museums and delicious restaurants, it has something to capture the imagination of every traveler. With a little exploration, you’re sure to find something that appeals to you in this vibrant city.

Chicago is a city unlike any other, an urban paradise full of energy, culture, and activity. Whether you are visiting for business or pleasure, Chicago is waiting to be fully explored.

From its stunning lakefront to its bustling downtown, it offers a wide range of attractions and activities that promise memories to last a lifetime. Make sure you visit Chicago in the best way.

Here is the list of tourist attractions and fantastic things to do in Chicago.

Table of Content
1. Art Institute of Chicago
2. Chicago Culture Centre
3. Navy Pier
4. Lakefront Trail
5. Garfield Park Conservatory
6. Millennium Park
7. Lincoln Park
8. The 606
9. Maggie Daley Park
10. Buckingham Fountain

11. Willis Tower SkyDeck
12. Shedd Aquarium

13. Adler Planetarium
14. Chicago Riverwalk

15. North Avenue Beach

1. Art Institute of Chicago

The Art Institute of Chicago is one of the world’s premier art museums, located in the heart of downtown Chicago. Established in 1879, the museum houses a vast collection of artworks from around the world, spanning centuries of artistic expression.

Its permanent collection includes works from the Renaissance to the present day, with a particular emphasis on Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, and American art.


The Art Institute of Chicago features some of the world’s most iconic works of art, containing Georges Seurat’s A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks, and Grant Wood’s American Gothic. It also has a wide variety of temporary exhibitions, lectures, and educational programs.

Definitely, a must-see for any art lover. With its vast collection of artworks, the museum offers something for everyone. Whether you’re a fan of Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, or American art, the Art Institute of Chicago is sure to have something to captivate and inspire you.

Art Institute of Chicago

2. Chicago Culture Centre

The Chicago Cultural Center is a stunning building located in the heart of the city of Chicago. A famous tourist destination, as well as a beloved venue for many locals. Its premises is a registered Chicago landmark and is known for its impressive architectural details, such as its grand staircase, its colorful mosaic dome, and its grand double staircase.

It was initially built in 1897 as the city’s first public library. Today, the building serves as a venue for numerous cultural events. The building features two grand ballrooms and two galleries, which house rotating art collections, and exhibitions that are absolutely memorable free things to do in Chicago.

The building also houses the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, which provides information on the many cultural and artistic activities that take place in the city.


The Chicago Cultural Center also has a gift shop that sells locally made items, as well as a cafe that serves up delicious coffee, pastries, and sandwiches.

Overall, the Chicago Cultural Center is an impressive building with a lot to offer. It provides a unique space to experience culture and art, while also providing a glimpse into the city’s past. Whether you’re visiting Chicago for a day trip or a long weekend, the Chicago Cultural Center is definitely worth exploring.

Chicago Culture Centre

3. Navy Pier

Navy Pier is a 3,300-foot-long pier on the Chicago shoreline of Lake Michigan. It is one of the most visited attractions in the city, drawing over 8 million visitors annually. The pier was originally built in 1916 as a shipping and recreation facility for the U.S. Navy.

These days, it is a popular tourist destination, packed with a variety of attractions, restaurants, shops, and entertainment venues.

The pier is home to a number of attractions, including the Chicago Children’s Museum, the Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows, the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, and the Navy Pier Ferris Wheel. Visitors can also take a ride on the pier’s historic carousel, explore the pier’s many gardens, or take a cruise on the lake.

In addition to its attractions, Navy Pier also offers a variety of dining options, ranging from casual eateries to upscale restaurants. There are also a number of shops and boutiques, as well as a variety of entertainment venues, including live music, comedy shows, and movies.

Moreover, Navy Pier is a great place to spend a day in Chicago. Whether you’re looking for a fun family outing or a romantic evening out, Navy Pier has something for everyone.

Navy Pier chicago

4. Lakefront Trail

The Lakefront Trail is an 18-mile path along the shoreline of Lake Michigan in Chicago, Illinois. It is a well-known tourist attraction in Chicago for runners, cyclists, and walkers alike.

The trail is divided into two sections, the North and South sections, and can be reached via several points beside the lakefront. The trail is well-maintained and offers stunning views of the lake and the city skyline.

The Lakefront Trail is a great way to explore the city and get some exercise. It is a great place to take a leisurely stroll, go for a run, or take a bike ride. Thanks to the well-marked and easy trail to follow, there are plenty of benches and rest stops along the way.

Furthermore, the trail is lined-up with Chicago’s best things to do like parks, beaches visit with your loved ones.

The Lakefront Trail is a great way to experience the beauty of Chicago and the lake. If you are looking for a leisurely stroll or a challenging run, the Lakefront Trail will surely offer an enjoyable experience.

 Lakefront Trail chicago

5. Garfield Park Conservatory

The Garfield Park Conservatory is a botanical garden located in the Garfield Park neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois. Counts among the largest conservatory in the United States and houses a wide variety of plants from around the world. It was built in 1908 and is a popular destination for visitors of all ages.

The Conservatory is comprised of eight greenhouses, each with its own distinct collection of plants. In addition to the greenhouses, the Conservatory is also packed with a variety of outdoor gardens and trails that are worth a visit. The Sensory Garden features a variety of plants that stimulate the senses with their fragrance, texture, and color.

The Educational Garden offers an array of plants ideal for teaching children about science, nature, and gardening. The Ornamental Garden is a perfect place for a leisurely stroll, with its winding paths and variety of trees, shrubs, and flowers.


If those of you are searchings for the best things in Chicago to do and want to discover the wonders of nature in an urban setting you can count on this destination. Having a variety of plants, gardens, and trails, it is absolutely a great place to discover the beauty of the natural world.

Garfield Park Conservatory

6. Millennium Park

Millennium Park is an award-winning public park lying in the downtown area of Chicago, Illinois. It was opened in 2004 and reckons among the most visited parks in the United States.

The park houses a range of tourist attractions, such as the iconic Cloud Gate sculpture, the Crown Fountain, Lurie Garden, the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, and the BP Pedestrian Bridge.

The centerpiece of the park is Cloud Gate, which is a large, reflective sculpture commonly known as “The Bean.” This sculpture was created by British artist Anish Kapoor and is one of the most recognizable works of public art in the United States.

The park also includes the Crown Fountain, which is a large fountain featuring two 50-foot glass brick towers that project digital images of Chicagoans. Lurie Garden is a five-acre garden with a range of plants and flowers. Plus, the BP Pedestrian Bridge is a 925-foot bridge that connects the north and south sides of the park.

Millennium Park is a remarkable spot for both tourists and locals alike. Its attractions, like Cloud Gate and the Crown Fountain, are some of the most visited sites in the city. The park also hosts a range of events throughout the year, such as festivals, and art installations. So, do not miss these free things to do here.

Millennium Park chicago

7. Lincoln Park

Lincoln Park is a historic park located in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois. Named after the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, it is one of the largest parks in Chicago and includes various attractions such as the Lincoln Park Zoo, the Lincoln Park Conservatory, the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool, the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, and the North Pond Nature Sanctuary.

It also features the Chicago History Museum, the Chicago Academy of Sciences, and the Lincoln Park Lagoon. The Park is a great place for outdoor recreation activities such as biking, running, walking, and bird watching.

Recreational facilities such as baseball diamonds, basketball courts, soccer fields, and tennis courts are the best things here as well. The park also has an outdoor pool, fitness centers, and numerous playgrounds.

Thanks to its variety of attractions and activities. Its location close to downtown Chicago makes it a great place to explore the city. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing day in the park or an exciting day of sightseeing, Lincoln Park really offers something amazing for all the guests.

Lincoln Park chicago

8. The 606

The 606 is a 2.7-mile elevated trail and park system located in Chicago, Illinois. The trail is part of the Bloomingdale Trail, a former rail line that was converted into a multi-use recreational trail. The 606 is a unique urban oasis, providing a safe and accessible green space for the community to enjoy.

Also, the trail is open to pedestrians, cyclists, and joggers, and features a variety of amenities, incorporating benches, water fountains, and public art. The trail also connects to several parks, including Humboldt Park, Wicker Park, and Logan Square.

Moreover, the 606 is a great way to explore the city and experience the beauty of nature in an urban setting. Plus, the 606 is a great way to get some exercise and enjoy the outdoors.


The 606 is a great example of how urban spaces can be transformed into vibrant and accessible green spaces.

The 606 chicago

9. Maggie Daley Park


Maggie Daley Park is a public park located in Chicago, Illinois. Named after the late wife of former Chicago mayor Richard M. Daley, the park opened in 2014 and is situated in the city’s downtown area.

The park features a variety of recreational activities, including a rock climbing wall, a miniature golf course, a skating ribbon, and a playground.

The park is lined up with a large number of gardens, including a butterfly garden, a wildflower garden, and a prairie garden. The park also has a lagoon, which is used for fishing and kayaking. Maggie Daley Park is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike and is a great place to spend a day outdoors.

 Maggie Daley Park chicago

10. Buckingham Fountain

Buckingham Fountain is a Chicago landmark located in Grant Park. It is among the largest fountains in the world and is a popular tourist attraction. The fountain was designed by architect Edward H. Bennett and was dedicated in 1927.

It is made of Georgia pink marble and is modeled after the Latona Fountain at Versailles. The fountain is composed of four sets of sea horses that boasts the symbol of four states that border Lake Michigan: Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Indiana.

The fountain is illuminated at night and is a popular spot for visitors to take pictures. Buckingham Fountain is a beautiful and iconic symbol of Chicago and is a must-visit for everybody touring the city.

Buckingham Fountain chicago

11. Willis Tower SkyDeck

The Willis Tower SkyDeck is a must-see attraction located in Chicago, Illinois. It is the highest observation deck in the United States, standing at 1,353 feet above the ground. Also, the SkyDeck offers visitors a breathtaking view of the city skyline, Lake Michigan, and four states.

The SkyDeck boasts a glass balcony that extends four feet out from the building, giving visitors a unique view of the city. The balcony is made of three layers of glass and is designed to withstand winds of up to 4,000 pounds per square foot.

Guests can also take advantage of SkyDeck’s interactive exhibits, which provide information about the history and architecture of the city.

The SkyDeck also offers a variety of dining options, including a café and a bar. Visitors can also purchase souvenirs from SkyDeck’s gift shop.

Having breathtaking views and interactive exhibits, the SkyDeck is sure to offer visitors an unforgettable experience.

Willis Tower SkyDeck chicago

12. Shedd Aquarium

Shedd Aquarium is a public aquarium in Chicago, Illinois. It is among the largest indoor aquariums in the world, with over 32,000 aquatic animals representing more than 1,500 species of fish, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, birds, and mammals from around the world.

The aquarium homes a wide variety of exhibits, including the Caribbean Reef, Amazon Rising, Wild Reef, and the Polar Play Zone. Thanks to the educational programs, interactive exhibits, and animal encounters.

Shedd Aquarium is surely the best thing to do in Chicago, attracting more than two million visitors every year. The aquarium is also a leader in conservation and research, working to protect and restore aquatic habitats around the world.

Shedd Aquarium chicago

13. Adler Planetarium

The Adler Planetarium is a public museum dedicated to the study of astronomy and astrophysics located in Chicago, Illinois. Founded in 1930, it is the first planetarium in the United States and is part of the Chicago Park District.

It is home to three full-size theaters, a space science exhibition hall, and a range of interactive exhibits.

The Adler Planetarium’s main theater, the Grainger Sky Theater, is a pioneering digital projection theater that offers a variety of shows and programs. The theater also offers a variety of educational programs and activities for visitors of all ages.

Moreover, the Adler Planetarium is a great place to explore the wonders of the universe and learn more about astronomy and astrophysics. With its state-of-the-art facilities, interactive exhibits, and educational programs, the Adler Planetarium offers a nice chance to look into the night sky and learn more about the universe.

Adler Planetarium chicago

14. Chicago Riverwalk

The Chicago Riverwalk is a 1.25-mile-long pedestrian and recreational path along the south bank of the Chicago River in downtown Chicago, Illinois. The Riverwalk is open year-round and is free to the public. So, tourists enjoy it pretty much.

The Riverwalk is divided into six distinct sections, each with its own unique character and attractions. The Riverwalk begins at Lake Shore Drive and runs east to Lake Michigan.

Along the way, visitors can enjoy a variety of activities, including kayaking, paddle boarding, and sightseeing cruises. There are also several restaurants and bars, as well as public art installations and sculptures.

If you want to take a leisurely stroll and enjoy the sights and sounds of the city, just head to it. Also, a great place to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city and relax.

Chicago Riverwalk chicago

15. North Avenue Beach

North Avenue Beach is a popular beach located in Chicago, Illinois. It is located on the shore of Lake Michigan and is one famous beach in the city. The beach is known for its white sand and crystal-clear waters. There are lots of free things to do here like swimming, sunbathing, and other beach activities.

Thanks to the range of services over here, including volleyball courts, a concession stand, and a beach house. Therefore, this tourist attraction in Chicago is a must-do.

The beach also hosts a number of events throughout the year, including the Chicago Air and Water Show, the Chicago Marathon, etc. North Avenue Beach is a great spot for a day of fun If you are a sun-seeker.

North Avenue Beach is a great destination for visitors no matter what age group they belong to. So if you’re looking for the ultimate beach day in Chicago, head down to North Avenue Beach and make a day of it.

North Avenue Beach chicago

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