Chicago was recently named to Thrillist’s “Best Cities in the USA to Spend a Weekend,” and the city’s presence on this list is no surprise; it contains some of the most captivating and nationally regarded tourist attractions in the country. These sites range from art showcases to sports history and beyond.
Here are a few of Chicago’s best tourist attractions.
Chicago’s Art Institute is one of the oldest and largest art museums in the US and hosts well over 1 million guests annually. This impressive attendance figure is a result of the museum’s equally impressive collection of art, which reflects a wide range of cultures from African to European. Notable featured works include Edward Hooper’s “Nighthawks” and Grant Wood’s “American Gothic.”
Home of the 2016 World Series champion Cubs, Wrigley Field ranks among the most storied and legendary professional baseball stadiums in the US. The field has been open since 1914 and is easily recognized by its ivy-covered outfield wall and iconic red marquee. If you find yourself in town during the Cubs’ season, a game trip is a must. Otherwise, the field has a lot to offer in terms of tours, food and beverage vendors, and a slew of concerts from national recording artists including Pearl Jam and Billy Joel.
A massive tribute to the third millennium, Millennium Park is located in Grant Park Chicago and has become regarded as the number one tourist attraction in the midwestern United States. The park’s wide range of offerings alone makes it worthy of this title; over the years, it has hosted some of Chicago’s biggest traditions and events, including the city’s annual Christmas tree lighting and the Grant Park Music Festival.
Of all the big name city zoos in the United States, Lincoln Park Zoo stands as one of the best in terms of animal variety alone. The zoo features big cats, polar bears, gorillas, and penguins — and those are just its main attractions. Animal numbers total to about 1,100 from nearly 200 different species. Like Wrigley Field and the Art Institute of Chicago, the zoo stands as one of the oldest facilities of its kind in the US, dating back to 1868.
Another one of Chicago’s biggest and best museum offerings, the Field Museum of Natural History maintains a large, diverse collection of specimens ranging from 5,000-year-old hieroglyphics to dinosaurs (including Sue the Tyrannosaurus rex). These attractions comprise one of the most visually stunning tourist opportunities in all of Chicago.