The Best Local Sites in Chicago

If You Want To See What Makes This City Special, Check Out These Uniquely Chicago Attractions

Chicago is a city with a lot of local charm. From a thriving theater scene, to a diversity of restaurants. There is a lot that makes Chicago special. The lake and river are at the heart of the city, but there are also world class museums and a huge range of parks to explore. Below are just some of the uniquely Chicago attractions to explore.
Millennium Park
Millennium Park
Millennium Park is a famous public space that's located in Grant Park. The 24.5 acre park is near the Lake Michigan shoreline and includes a number of famous attractions such as Cloud Gate, Crown Fountain, Lurie Garden and a number of outdoor performance areas.
Loop, Chicago, Illinois, 60601
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
Chicago has plenty more to offer, so see also our other articles: The Best Local Museums in Chicago and The Best Museums in Chicago.
Cloud Gate (The Bean)
Cloud Gate (The Bean)
"The Bean" is a 110 ton stainless steel sculpture that was designed by Anish Kapoor. It's surface is a mirror and the shape of the structure was inspired by a drop of liquid mercury. During the winter months, there is a public ice skating rink surrounding The Bean.
201 E Randolph St, Millennium Park, Chicago, IL, 60602
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
Wrigleyville
Wrigleyville is where you'll find the famous Wrigley Field, which is the second oldest ballpark in the country and home to the Chicago Cubs. Near the stadium you'll find a number of sports bars, souvenir stall, and restaurants. Clark Street is the main drag where you'll find locals and Cubs fans. Also outside of the stadium is Gallagher Way, which is a popular meeting spot for fans, locals, and tourists. There are often farmers markets, outdoor concerts, film screenings, and even a holiday winter wonderland here.
Chicago, IL
Museum of Contemporary Photography
This small museum is a unique place to visit. It has interesting vintage photos as well as modern works. There is an impressive collection by Dorothea Lange who photographed the Dust Bowl during the Great Depression. There is also a featured exhibit that highlights Midwest photographers and their work with social issues from around the world.
600 S Michigan Ave, South Loop, Chicago, IL, 60605
Lincoln Square
Lincoln Square is a touch of Germany right in Chicago. You can explore the cobblestone part of Lincoln Avenue and head to uniquely local shops that sell everything from sausage to clothing. Head to one of the traditional Bavarian style beer halls or poke your head in a locally owned boutique shop. Restaurants are great in the neighborhood so grab a meal and then head to the Davie Theater, with its old fashioned charm. If folk music is your style check out the Old Town School of Folk Music which has regular live performances. The neighborhood also hosts Maifest, which is a summer festival that celebrates everything about Germany.
Chicago, IL
Lincoln Park
This neighborhood and park area offers a beautiful setting with nicely landscaped gardens, a quaint lily pond, and lakefront green space that has nice views of the city. The Lakefront Trail, the Lincoln Park Trail, Lincoln Park Zoo, North Avenue Beach, and Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum are all in the area. There is also plenty of shopping in Lincoln Park with many boutique shops spread among the row houses.
Chicago, IL
Interested in more travel advice for Chicago? Check out The Best Things to do in Chicago and Explore the Asian Culture in Chicago.
Garfield Park
The neighborhood of Garfield Park is all about green space. It opened its first park in 1874 and today the area has plenty of gardens, parks, and nature right in the heart of the city. The Garfield Park Conservatory is a highlight of the area with a number of different botanical environments such as the desert house, the fern room, and the tropical palm house. In the surrounding community, Garfield Park is a popular neighborhood for startups including the Hatchery which is a commercial kitchen that houses more than 100 local food and beverage startups. Head to the area during the warmer months to check out the community markets.
Chicago, IL
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 Children’s Museum
The Chicago Children's Museum is a world class kid's museum located at Navy Pier. With a Tinkering Lab, WaterWay playground, and the Treehouse Trails, kids can play, build, explore and immerse themselves in a world of imagination. These exhibits are perfect for young kids whose imagination guides their play, and exploration is how they learn.
700 E Grand Ave, Streeterville, Chicago, IL, 60611

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