If you love architecture, you've definitely come to the right place. Chicago is famous for its bold architecture, such as the iconic Willis Tower & Chicago Skydeck which is about 1,451-ft. The city is also known for its museums, including the Art Institute of Chicago, cultural center and many more. Let me take you through the highlights of this beautiful city.
1. Chicago Cultural Center
The best part of Chicago Cultural Center is that it is free for public. It takes about 45 minutes to take a tour of this building. You can opt for a free tour guide who are available inside the building and no reservation required. If you check the schedule in advance and plan during the festive season, you can enjoy the best performances and music festivals organized by this center. For more details check the history of Chicago cultural center. Visiting time : 10 AM - 7 PM Mon - Sun.
2. Cloud Gate
It is a very unique sculpture designed by Indian-born British artist Anish Kapoor between 2004 and 2006. This sculpture is also know as The Bean, because of its shape. Dimension- 33x66x42 ft Weight- 110 short tons Material- Stainless steel (168 plates welded together). Its a huge centerpiece of AT&T Plaza at Millennium Park allowing visitors to view from its many mirrored sides. Visiting time : 6 AM - 11 PM Mon - Sun.
3. Crown Fountain
It is another interesting piece of public art and a video sculpture in Millennium Park, Chicago. If you love photography, you would not want to miss this place for sure. It's a public play area, specially popular during summer season, allowing children and adults to play with the fountain's water. Dimensions- 50 ft Material- Black Granite glass brick with LED screen. Visiting time : 6 AM - 11 PM Mon - Sun.
4. Skydeck Chicago
Welcome to the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere and the highest observation deck in United States. Feel you weight at 1,353 feet (103rd floor) from the ground level, also a beautiful view from the Ledge’s glass boxes which extend out 4.3 feet from the Skydeck. This place is best for taking pictures and for city top view. Visiting Time : October through February from 10 AM-8 PM, March through September from 9 AM -10 PM, Last entry 30 minutes prior to closing. The Skydeck is open 365 days a year including Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Gate Price : $23
5. Shedd Aquarium
Named after a retail leader John G. Shedd in 1929, who wanted to give back to the city the biggest and best aquarium with aquatic animals from around the world. Best place for kids to spend few hours exploring the aquatic world. There are also various learning programs for Families/Adults. Visit Shedd Aquarium site for more details. Visiting time : 9 AM - 5 PM, Mon - Sun. Gate Price : $39.95
6. Adler Planetarium
Named after a Chicago business leader Max Adler in 1930, with the mission to inspire exploration and understanding of the universe. It is America's first planetarium. Very famous for summer camps. Its a place for education and new experience to look at the universe from a scientific point of view. They have a calendar for various events and shows throughout the year. Book your tickets in advance to enjoy the adventure of the universe. Visiting time: 9:30 AM - 4 PM, Mon-Sun. Gate Price : $34.95
7. Navy Pier
Navi Pier was originally designed for shipping and recreational purpose, now it is among the most visited destinations in the world. There is no entry fee for Navi Pier, however you may have to pay for other attractions available inside. If you want to spend your day with everything available at a distance of 500 meters, you have reached the right destination. Enjoy multiple cuisines, rides, games, cruises, tours, cultural attractions, live entertainment, public art and exhibition. Oh! how can forget the best part - Shopping and Fireworks. For fireworks, check the dates (calendar) in advance. Navi Pier is open year- round except for Thanksgiving and Christmas day. Gate Price for Wheel and Rides : $35
8. Art Institute of Chicago
The Art Institute of Chicago is one of the oldest art museums in United States, founded in 1879. The art collection contains more than 300,00 works of art from all over the world. Some of the collections are African Art & Indian Art of the Americas, American Art, Ancient & Byzantine, Asian Art, European Art, Modern & Contemporary Art. Click here to check your eligibility for free entry. You may want to book in advance for the events. Visiting Time - 10:30 AM - 5 PM, Open daily. Thursday until 8 PM. Closed - Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years's Day. Gate Price : $35
9. Buckingham Fountain
Buckingham Fountain is one of the largest fountains in the world. Located in Grant Park at the center of the formally laid out garden. The fountain represents Lake Michigan, with four sets of sea horses, symbolizing the four states that border the lake - Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana. Enjoy the water show choreographed with lights and music. The last show begins at 10 PM. Visiting Time - 8 AM - 11 PM Daily , Mid-April through Mid-October.
10. Magnificent Mile
The Magnificent Mile is Chicago’s famous shopping destination. Famous for upscale shops and boutiques, dining at cool restaurants and posh hotels, special events, nightlife, downtown bus tour, cruise down the Chicago River and more than 50 landmark structures including the historic Chicago Water Tower, the terracotta Wrigley Building skyscraper and the 100-story John Hancock Center, which has a rooftop observation deck with fine dining and panoramic city views. Check the calendar for events planned for the year.
River cruise and tours
Architecture River Cruise - Gate Price $41.44
Tall Ship WINDY - Gate Price $33.60
Historic Chicago South Shore Tour - Gate Price $29
Grand Tour - Gate Price $48
Some tours are seasonal. Please check the details before you book it.
The best deal to cover all the attractions mentioned above is to purchase the GoCityCard for two/three days as per your travel plan. I promise, you'll end up saving so much. GoCityCity pass for 3 days cost you about ($165/Adult , $110 /Child (3-12), for 2 days $135/Adult, $95/Child (3-12). Without the pass, you would spend more than $300. Also, the best part of GoCityCard is that it includes Hop In- Hop Off bus which takes you to all the attractions. Available daily, 9:00 am-5:00 pm. Bus frequency about every 15-20 minutes. Last tour begins at 5:00 pm
I hope you enjoy your trip to Chicago and let me know if you need any more information. Happy Vacation :)
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