Things to do in Chicago

Next on the USA travel series is Chicago. This city is the third most populous city in the USA. I visited this bustling city during Autumn of 2016. Here is my take of must-see sights and activities to do…

1. Millennium Park

Chicago Cloud Gate
Cloud Gate

Millennium Park is a public park located in the Loop community area of Chicago, IL, USA. It is a prominent civic centre near the city’s Lake Michigan shoreline that covers a 24.5 acre (99,000 m2) section of northwestern Grant Park. As of 2009, Millennium Park trailed only Navy Pier as a Chicago tourist attraction and by 2017 it had become the number one tourist attraction in the Midwestern United States (Source: Wikipedia).

Millennium Park has free admission, and features the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Cloud Gate (above), Crown Fountain (above), Lurie Garden and various other attractions. The park is connected by the BP Pedestrian Bridge and the Nichols Bridgeway to other parts of Grant Park. Millennium Park is considered the world’s largest rooftop garden because it sits atop a parking garage and the commuter rail, Millennium Station. You can also find out more about Millennium Park here.

2. Grant Park

Chicago Buckingham Fountain
Buckingham Fountain

Grant Park, often referred to as “Chicago’s front yard” is another large urban park (319 acres or 1.29 km2) in the Loop Community area of Chicago. This park most notable features are Millennium Park (above), Buckingham Fountain (above), the Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum Campus. You can read more about Grant Park here.

3. Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise Tour

The Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF) River Cruise abroad Chicago’s First Lady Cruises is the “top tour in Chicago and one of the top ten tours in the USA” according to TripAdvisor users. The CAF-certified volunteer tour guides, called docents, interpret more than 50 buildings along the Chicago River.

I almost did not get a chance to go on this tour. I did not book in advance and the ticket was sold out! Thankfully, one family approached me and offered to sell one of their tickets because their son was sick (I am sorry the son was sick though). They were offering at a slightly cheaper price than the ticket counter but I had only $20 cash with me that time. The ticket cost like ~$40 or so. Obviously $20 is way too low than the price they paid so they asked others but no takers. They offered the ticket to me for $20! YAY! Thank God! I was overjoyed that I could join this tour 🙂

I recommend that you book the ticket in advance especially during the peak sessions. I did not expect that the ticket will be sold out but it did! You can find out more about the tour here.

4. Navy Pier

Chicago Navy Pier
Navy Pier

This is a 3,300 foot long (1,010 m) pier on the Chicago shoreline of Lake Michigan. The Navy Pier currently encompasses more than fifty acres of parks, gardens, shops, restaurants, family attractions and exhibition facilities. It is the top leisure destination in the Midwest, drawing nearly nine millions visitors annually! (Source: Wikipedia). You can find out more about Navy Pier here.

5. Willis Tower/SkyDeck Chicago


The Willis Tower, built as and still commonly referred to as the Sears Tower, is a 110-story, 1,450 foot (442.1 m) skyscraper in Chicago. The architect behind this outstanding building is Fazlur Rahman Khan. At completion in 1973, it surpassed the World Trade Centre tower in New York to become the tallest building in the world. It hold this title for nearly 25 years and remained the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere until 2014. The Willis Tower is now the second tallest building in the USA and the Western Hemisphere and the 16th tallest in the world. The structure was renamed in 2009 by the Willis Group as part of its lease on a portion of the tower’s space (Source: Wikipedia).

I recommend that you buy tickets in advance to avoid the queue. The photo above is me on the Ledge! You can find out more about the ticket options here.

There are many other things you can do in Chicago such as walking along the Michigan Avenue or sometimes referred as the Magnificent Mile, and Chicago Riverwalk. If you are planning to visit Chicago during Autumn, check out the Jazz Festival.

Have you been to Chicago? I’d love to hear your experiences! Leave your comments below. If you haven’t, I hope these photos would inspire you to explore Chicago.

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Next on the travel tips series is Boston. Stay tuned!

Photography Information:
Camera: Nikon D800 or iPhone6.
Lens for Nikon: Tamron 24-70mm F/2.8.
Post-processing: Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5.



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