Summer is the ideal time of year to visit the Windy City. As the largest city in the Midwest, Chicago has a lot to offer to anyone who wants to explore a major urban area without the price tag that comes with visiting NYC or LA.
As the birthplace of the skyscraper and the home of many cultural neighborhoods, Chicago has more to offer than you might realize. Take a look at these seven spots that will pack your next vacation with excitement.
Pixar Putt at Navy Pier
The Navy Pier has so much to offer families, like the chance to ride the Ferris Wheel, tour the Chicago Children’s Museum, and enjoy plenty of rides and games. But this year, there’s something extra families can enjoy on the Pier.
Pixar Putt is coming to Chicago, giving families the chance to enjoy this attraction that’s not normally in the Windy City. The Pixar Putt pop-up offers 18 holes of mini-golf in the open air and features different characters from both Disney and Pixar movies. Keep an eye out for the stars of Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Monsters, Inc., The Incredibles, A Bug’s Life, Inside Out, and Wall-E.
Architecture River Cruise
As the home of the world’s first skyscraper, you can bet that Chicago has so much to offer when it comes to architecture. Learn about the highlights during an architecture river cruise that takes you down the Chicago River and teaches you about the 130-year-long history of the Chicago skyline.
Choose a seat in the fresh air or enjoy the experience from a climate-controlled interior because many of these tour boats offer both seating options. Learn about the Wrigley Building, the Tribune Tower, the Merchandise Mart, the Mies Van der Rohe AMA Building, the Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower), and many more.
Did you know that one of the largest fountains in the world is located in Chicago? Buckingham Fountain was installed almost 100 years ago in 1927. It was donated by Kate S. Buckingham in honor of her brother Clarence and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
The fountain produces a major water display starting at 9:00 AM on the dot and continuing with a start time on the hour every hour until the final display at 10:35 PM. Each display lasts for 20 minutes, meaning it’s a show worth watching! During this display, the center jet shoots water 150 feet up into the air, which is a sight to see. At dusk, the display also includes a light and music show.
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Historic Wrigley Field is a fantastic place to catch a baseball game. Watch the Cubs play in their home stadium, which is the second-oldest ballpark in the major leagues. Check out the Cubs’ schedule this season here.
Wrigley Field is a piece of American history. It’s where Babe Ruth’s famous called shot took place and is the home of the 1947, 1962, and 1990 All-Star Games. Even if you’re not a baseball fan, you can’t help but enjoy the atmosphere at the beautiful and historic stadium.
Art Institute of Chicago
Calling all art fans: Chicago is the place for you. The Art Institute of Chicago is one of the oldest and largest art museums in the country. Located next to Millennium Park, the Art Institute features not only an amazing permanent collection, but a variety of rotating exhibitions as well.
Appreciate works by the masters, like Vincent van Gogh, Diego Rivera, Georges Seurat, Edward Hopper, Henri Matisse, and many more. Or check out one of this summer’s exhibitions, including Igshaan Adams: Desire Lines, or Cezanne, both of which are open all summer long. Make sure you buy a ticket before you go!
The Windy City is one of the most multi-cultural cities in the United States, so don’t leave Chicago without checking out one of its many cultural neighborhoods. With the largest Polish population in the world, Chicago is home to Portage Park, where some 20,854 persons of Polish origin live. Don’t miss out on the amazing Polish food you can find in this neighborhood!
After you finish enjoying your pierogis, make sure you check out Chicago’s Little Italy, Greektown, and Chinatown. There are many different cultures represented in the city, so keep an eye out for restaurants offering cuisine from Thai, West African, German, Vietnamese, Korean, Swedish, and Ethiopian cultures as well.
While The Bean is a famous – and very crowded – tourist destination, it’s absolutely worth the visit if you’ve never seen it in person before. This gigantic steel sculpture is actually titled “Cloud Gate,” but because of its unique shape, is commonly known as The Bean.
Located in Millennium Park, the Bean is an iconic symbol of Chicago. Eighty percent of the sculpture’s surface reflects the sky, and the surface, which is touched so often, is cleaned twice a day.
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