Ah, Chicago, my kind of town. Growing up only a short train ride away was a blessing for me, and now as I'm in college, I realize how much I truly enjoyed my multiple city adventures growing up and how lucky I was to have lived so close. Whether it be hanging out at the beaches during the warm summer months or going skating on the ribbon in the winter, there is never a shortage of fun in Chicago, no matter what the season. These are my favorite places in Chicago, and if you're like me, you'll want to spend as much time in the city as possible after hearing about what it has to offer.
1. The Museum Campus
The Museum Campus is located right along the lake and is home to the Field Museum, the Adler Planetarium, and the Shedd Aquarium. The exhibits in each museum are different, and there is truly something for everyone. Plus, the Museum Campus holds best picture spot in the city with views of the entire skyline looking over Lake Michigan. Don't believe me? Take a look at the cover photo, shot by myself, right outside of the Adler.
2. The Museum of Science and Industry
Although it's not located in the heart of the Museum Campus next to Solider Field like the others, it is worth the short drive south on Lake Shore Drive to see science exhibits that will blow your mind! With interactive exhibits allowing you to experience the impacts of severe storms, go underground into a coal mine, and go up to the sky and walk through a United aircraft, you will need the whole day to see all things science! Plus, during Christmastime, they display Christmas trees from each country showcasing how everyone celebrates the holidays differently around the globe.
3. Millenium Park
Even as one of the top tourist attractions in Chicago, locals still love The Bean! In the summer you can run through the Face Fountains (AKA The Crown Fountain) and try not to get sprayed when the faces shoot out water. Millenium Park is also home of the Jay Pritzker Pavilion which holds concerts, events, and even movies in the warm summer months.
4. Maggie Daley Park
From Millenium Park, cross over the bridge that stretches over Lake Shore Drive, and you will end up at a playground that's fun for all ages. It has everything you can ask for in a playground, but amped up with tall metal slides, wooden bridges, and even a rock climbing wall! In the winter, grab your ice skates and skate along the "skating ribbon" for free!
5. Mag Mile
Want to get some shopping done while you're in the city? Explore upscale shops on Michigan Avenue, check out great restaurants such as Grand Lux Cafe and Dylan's Candy Bar, and head into Water Tower Place at the north end of Michigan for more shopping galore!
6. Lincoln Park Zoo
Located in Chicago's northside neighborhood of Lincoln Park, the Lincoln Park Zoo is a great place to spend a couple of hours, no matter what age. With free admission into the park, you can enjoy the animal exhibits without breaking the bank.
7. Wrigley Field
The historic stadium is home to the best team in baseball, the Chicago Cubs! During their offseason, it also serves as an awesome concert venue. No game or concert? Stop by for a picture in front of the historic red marquee and explore what Wrigleyville has to offer!
8. Navy Pier
Consistently taking the top spot on the list of "Top Tourist Attractions," Navy Pier is worth the visit. Although I personally enjoy the lake, boating, Ferris wheel, and fireworks in the summer, it is open year round. In the winter, it holds a "Winter Wonderfest" and has plenty to do inside, including the Chicago Children's Museum.
9. Theater District
Catch an award-winning play or musical while in the Windy City! The Broadway in Chicago series always has top-rated productions that everyone can enjoy. The cycle is always changing, but my personal favorites have been "Hamilton" at the CIBC Theater, "Mary Poppins" at the Cadillac Palace, and "Wicked" at the Oriental Theater!
10. Sears Tower
Even though the sign reads "Willis Tower," true Chicagoans know that it will always be the Sears Tower. Take a ride up to the 103rd floor for Skydeck Chicago and step into the Ledge, an all-glass box that hangs over Wacker Drive. It has great views of the city, so are you willing to take that step?
I am so lucky to have lived a train ride away to a beautiful, busy, and bustling city with so much to see and do year round. If you're considering a trip to Chicago, make sure you explore these ten places! Or, if you're like me and are excited to visit the city again when you return home for college break, make the most of your time home by stopping at these destinations!