Historic Buildings in Chicago

A city with millions of visitors every year, Chicago has no shortage of noteworthy sights, but one of the best things about the city is its rich architectural history. Chicago, known as the "city of architecture," has some of the most historic architecture in the country, including more than 200 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places.

Historic Sites in Chicago

Chicago is famous for its rich history, and many attractions pay homage to the city's past. Chicago's history is diverse, with the city's earliest inhabitants coming from several countries. The Chicago History Museum offers exhibits that cover the city's history, with exhibits showcasing the city's early days as a Native American settlement, European settlement, and the city's industrial and maritime history. And plenty of other museums showcase the dynamic growth and stories of Chicago, too.

Pullman National Monument
This historic district was the first planned industrial community in the country. It was the location of the 1894 Pullman strike and has a famous history as the location of the Pullman Company, which built sleeping cars.
10827 South Cottage Grove Avenue, Arcade Row, Chicago, Illinois, 60628
Interested in more travel advice for Chicago? Check out Hidden Finds in Chicago and How to Spend One Day in Chicago.
Dearborn Station
Dearborn Station is the oldest of the six train stations in downtown Chicago. It currently has a shopping mall with retail and entertainment space.
66 West 9th Street, Printer's Row, Chicago, Illinois, 60605
Printing House Row District
This historic row of buildings includes the Monadnock Building, the Manhattan Building, the Fisher Building, and the Old Colony Building.
10 West Jackson Boulevard, Loop, Chicago, Illinois, 60604
Pilsen
The Pilsen neighborhood is in the Lower West Side of Chicago and it was historically made up of predominantly Czech immigrants but today it has a large Latino population, lots of great music venues, and a number of a great restaurants. The neighborhood also has impressive murals. There are street vendors who sell tacos as well as the National Museum of Mexican Art.
1235 West 21st Street, Lower West Side, Chicago, Illinois, 60608
Michigan–Wacker Historic District
Michigan-Wacker Historic District includes parts of the Chicago Loop. The area has two bridges and many impressive high rises and skyscraper buildings that date back to the 1920s.
Loop, Chicago, Illinois, 60601
Historic Michigan Boulevard District
Historic Michigan Boulevard District is a historic district in the Loop community area. It's considered a Chicago Landmark and has a number of important historic buildings, particularly along Michigan Avenue.
94 East Ida B. Wells Drive, Printer's Row, Chicago, Illinois, 60605
Fort Dearborn
Fort Dearborn was a US fort built in 1803 by the Chicago River. The fort has now been destroyed by fire and widening of the Chicago River, but the site remains a Chicago landmark in the Michigan-Wacker Historic District.
East Upper Wacker Drive, Loop, Chicago, Illinois, 60601
If you're looking for more information about Chicago, read The Best Neighborhoods for Nightlife in Chicago and Theater Districts and Neighborhoods in Chicago.
Prairie Avenue Historic District
The Prairie Avenue Historic District is in the Near South Side community. It was the location of the Battle of Fort Dearborn and later became a luxury residential neighborhood following the Great Chicago Fire. Today there are a number of small museums housed in the former mansions.
1920 South Prairie Avenue, Near South Side, Chicago, Illinois, 60616
Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Money Museum
This free museum will teach you all about money. You can keep your hard earned cash while you learn all about historical currencies, how the Federal Reserve works, and more. It's a fascinating and unique museum for anybody with or without money.
230 S LaSalle St., Loop, Chicago, IL, 60604
Chicago History Museum
This fascinating museum has exhibits that educate visitors on the history of the city and it's unique personality. With information on everything from Abraham Lincoln to Chicago-style hot dogs, this museum offers a bit of insight into how Chicago became Chicago. There are old photographs, vintage vehicles, and plenty to explore.
1601 N Clark St., Lincoln Park, Chicago, IL, 60614
Walden Pond & Thoreau's Cabin
Henry David Thoreau, the famous American author, wrote some of his most famous works at this cabin which is now a museum and park. Visitors can walk around the famous Walden Pond which has a small beach area and walking trails. It's a nice spot for a swim in the summer. The area is now a state park and open to the public.
915 Walden St, Concord, Massachusetts
Richard H. Driehaus Museum
This grand museum offers an impressive setting with its marble floors, ornate staircases, and elegant fireplaces. It's decorated with antique furnishings and opulent art. This museum is located in the former Nickerson Mansion, often called the Marble Palace and it hosts a number of rotating exhibits and activities throughout the year.
40 E Erie St, Near North Side, Chicago, IL, 60611
How much does it cost to visit the historic sites of Chicago?

Prices for activities, things to do, and tours range from $22 to $780. The average cost for a tour or tickets is $125. A few of the best options are below.

Religious Sites in Chicago

Old Saint Patrick Church
This is the oldest standing church building in Chicago, dating back to before the 1871 fire.
180 South Desplaines Street, Greektown, Chicago, Illinois, 60661
Planning a trip to Chicago? You might also be interested in A Nature Lover's Guide to Chicago and A Train Lover's Guide to Chicago.
How much does it cost to visit the religious sites of Chicago?

Prices for activities, things to do, and tours range from $22 to $780. The average cost for a tour or tickets is $125. A few of the best options are below.

Monuments in Chicago

Chicago is home to hundreds of monuments and memorials, many of which depict important people and events in Chicago's history. Most of these monuments and memorials can be found downtown, as this is the heart of the city where most of the tourists visit. From huge skyscrapers to parks to art installations to historic buildings, Chicago offers plenty to see and do.
Chicago Harbor Light
Chicago Harbor Light
The Chicago Harbor Lighthouse is found at the south end of the northern breakwater and protects the Chicago Harbor.
Chicago, Illinois
Chicago Water Tower
Chicago Water Tower
The Chicago Water Tower is a landmark of the Old Chicago Water Tower District. It sits along the famous Magnificent Mile shopping district and was built in 1869, making it the second oldest water town in the country. Inside the building is a gallery that features local artists and photographers.
800 North Michigan Avenue, The Magnificent Mile, Chicago, Illinois, 60611
Willis Tower
Willis Tower
The Willis Tower, still called the Sears Tower by most locals, is a 110 story skyscraper that was completed in 1973. For 25 years it was the tallest building in the world. The tower's observation deck is famous for its glass boxes, with glass floors, which give visitors a unique view of the city.
233 South Wacker Drive, Loop, Chicago, Illinois, 60606
Chicago Riverwalk
Chicago Riverwalk
The Chicago River is an iconic part of the city, and it runs parallel to the lakeshore through the heart of the city. The Riverwalk is along a popular stretch of the river, and it's lined with many great restaurants and some of Chicago's most impressive architecture. You can wander along the Riverwalk, rest at one of the many benches, take in the impressive views or simply people watch.
Loop, Chicago, IL, 60601
The Rookery Building
The Rookery Building
The Rookery Building was designated a Chicago Landmark in 1972. The two story lobby was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright between 1905 and 1907 and the building's structure is notable as being the oldest surviving high rise in the city.
209 S. LaSalle St., Financial District, Chicago, IL, 60604
Chicago has plenty more to offer, so see also our other articles: An Art Lover's Guide to Chicago and Educational Places and Activities in Chicago.
Navy Pier
Navy Pier
The Navy Pier is one of Chicago's most popular tourist attractions. It opened in 1916 as an amusement and entertainment area and today it includes about 50 acres of gardens, parks, restaurants, shops, and concert venues. One of the most iconic parts of the Navy Pier is the 150 foot ferris wheel, which offers breathtaking views over the city and lake. There's also a classic historic carousel in Navy Pier Park. Head hear to pick up a boat tour as well.
600 East Grand Avenue, Streeterville, Chicago, IL
Buckingham Fountain
Buckingham Fountain
This beautiful fountain, dating back to 1927, is one of the largest in the world. Every hour between 8am and 11pm the fountain comes to life shooting 15,000 gallons of water through the air in a dramatic and impressive show. As the day turns dark, lights are added to the show. This is a highlight of a visit to Chicago's famed Grant Park
301 S Columbus Dr, Grant Park, Chicago, IL, 60605
The Wrigley Building
The Wrigley Building
The Wrigley Building is one of the most notable early skyscrapers in Chicago. It was built in the 1920s and has two towers - a 30 story south tower and a 21 story north tower - with a walkway between the two on the 14th floor. This was also the first air conditioned building in Chicago.
400-410 N Michigan Ave, The Magnificent Mile, Chicago, IL, 60611
Tribune Tower
This award winning skyscraper has a neo-Gothic design with influences by world renowned landmarks such as the Taj Mahal, the Great Wall of China, Angkor Wat and the Great Pyramids.
435 N. Michigan Ave., The Magnificent Mile, Chicago, IL, 60611
Centennial Wheel
Centennial Wheel was built in 1995 and offers a classic Chicago experience along the Navy Pier. It reaches a height of 200 feet and offers 360 degree views of the city and Lake Michigan. The ferris wheel has large enclosed gondolas with very open city views. The enclosed space offers reassurance so even those with a fear of heights can enjoy the experience.
Navy Pier, Streeterville, Chicago, IL, 60611
How much does it cost to visit the monuments in Chicago?

Prices for activities, things to do, and tours range from $22 to $780. The average cost for a tour or tickets is $125. A few of the best options are below.

The Architecture of Chicago

Chicago has some of the best and most interesting architecture in the country. From its skyscrapers to its churches, Chicago has a wide variety of architectural styles, and it's a city that's constantly adding new buildings that draw visitors in. Many of these amazing structures are right along the river in the downtown area, so you can see them from the streets or from a boat cruise. Whether modern or historical, every building has its own story.
Interested in more travel advice for Chicago? Check out The Best History Museums in Chicago and The Best Outdoor Activities in Chicago.
Auditorium Theatre
This theatre is managed by an independent non-profit and it regularly hosts performances by the Joffrey Ballet, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and the Civic Opera. It is one of the oldest surviving concert halls in Chicago's downtown area, dating back to 1889.
430 South Michigan Avenue, Printer's Row, Chicago, Illinois, 60605
Irving Park
Head to The Villa District in Irving Park to check out some of the classic Chicago bungalows. This neighborhood also has a number of breweries, a local theater, and Victorian mansions.
Chicago, IL
One Illinois Center
One Illinois Center is a notable architectural landmark in Chicago for its International Style. It is also the home to the Chicago Architecture Center, which is an impressive museum with a number of exhibits and models. You can also pick up the Architecture River Cruise here which is organized by the Chicago Architecture Center.
111 E. Wacker Drive, South Shore, Chicago, Illinois
Hyde Park
Located on the South Side of Chicago, this neighborhood is rich in history. It was the location of the 1893 World's Fair and it has a number of notable residences including a home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright as well as the former home of President Barack Obama. Hyde Park sits on the edge of Lake Michigan and offers beautiful water views. It's also easily accessible to the 18 mile lakefront running and biking path. Within Hyde Park you'll find the University of Chicago, the Museum of Science and Industry, and part of Jackson Park.
Chicago, IL
Chicago Architecture Center
Located in the impressive Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s skyscraper at One Illinois Center, this museum has exhibits on the many skyscrapers of Chicago. Located right by the Chicago Riverwalk, they offer a number of walking, bus and boat tours as well.
111 E Wacker Dr,, South Shore, Chicago, IL, 60601
Rogers Park
Rogers Park is a bit off the main tourist circuit, but it has a number of unique architectural examples, including the Emil Bach House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, as well as an impressive theater scene. The neighborhood is diverse, and that's reflected in the restaurants found there. It is also home to the Glenwood Avenue Arts District which has impressive murals, award-winning theaters, and a variety of live music venues. There are also many art galleries in the neighborhood. To the east the neighborhood runs into Lake Michigan's shoreline and there are many nice waterfront views.
Chicago, IL
How much does it cost to experience the architecture of Chicago?

Prices for activities, things to do, and tours range from $22 to $780. The average cost for a tour or tickets is $125. A few of the best options are below.

Where to Stay in Chicago


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