Chicago: Off the Beaten Path Things to Do

Fun, Irreverent, Quirky, and Different

While Chicago hosts a large number of visitors every year, many of them go to the same touristy destinations around town. But if you want to get away from some of the crowds to see the more "off the beaten path" places in Chicago, then we've got you covered! This list of unique and special "away from the crowds" things to do will get you started for your next trip to Chicago. Have fun!
The Oriental Institute Museum
The Oriental Institute Museum
This small museum is run by the University of Chicago and has archaeological artifacts from up to 6,000 years ago. Pieces are from around the globe including ancient civilizations such as Assyria, Anatolia, Israel, Egypt, Persia and in the Mesopotamian.
1155 E 58th St, Hyde Park, Chicago, IL, 60637
Ukrainian National Museum
Located in the historical Ukrainian Village neighborhood, this museum houses a number of Ukrainian artifacts, artwork, musical instruments, and folk costumes.
2241 West Superior Street, Ukrainian Village, Chicago, Illinois, 60612
Planning a trip to Chicago? You might also be interested in Chicago for Music Lovers and Chicago: What to See and Do in the Spring.
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
International Museum of Surgical Science
This unique museum is run by The International College of Surgeons and has a number of interesting exhibits including photographs, sculptures, medical equipment, skeletons, medical specimens, and a library with more than 5,000 rare medical texts.
1524 North Lake Shore Drive, Gold Coast, Chicago, Illinois, 60611
Foster Beach
Foster Beach is a family-friendly beach in the Edgewater neighborhood of Chicago. It's a quieter beach than some of the more popular options, but it's perfect for people with kids or dogs who want to enjoy a picnic, barbecue, or simply hang out by the water. While it's generally a quieter beach, it does get quite busy during the Chicago Full Moon Jam, when fire dancers, musicians, and drummers all come out to perform and celebrate.
5200 N. Lake Shore Dr., Edgewater, Chicago, IL, 60611
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
Smart Museum of Art
Located on the University of Chicago campus, this art museum houses the university's collection of fine arts and antiquities. There are ceramics and ancient works all the way to contemporary pieces. There's also a sculpture garden in the courtyard.
5550 S Greenwood Ave, Hyde Park, Chicago, IL, 60637
Edgewater
Set right by the lake, this neighborhood has a number of nice beaches and green spaces. It's a family-friendly area with great antique shopping and a thriving theater scene. There are also a diversity of restaurants and markets that are fun to explore.
Chicago, IL
Interested in more travel advice for Chicago? Check out The Best Views In Chicago and A Fashion-Lovers Guide To Chicago.
Pritzker Military Museum & Library
This museum houses a number of artifacts, books, photographs, maps, and other items relating to the history of the American military. The museum fee includes a military themed tour and a number of exhibits on the history of American wars.
104 S Michigan Ave, Loop, Chicago, IL, 60603
Fox River Trolley Museum
This railroad museum is located in South Elgin, and it has a special focus on trolleys, street cars, and other commuter trains. Visitors can board and see a variety of historic trolley and passenger trains from various periods in history. It's also possible to take a ride on their tracks in one of the historic trains. With seasonal events throughout the year and during the holidays, this is a fun place to visit for the while family.
365 S La Fox St, South Elgin, Illinois
How much does it cost?

Prices for activities, things to do, and tours range from $15 to $427. The average cost for a tour or tickets is $81. A few of the best options are below.

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