Top Ten Lists


Chicago is a world-class city that is influenced by many different cultures. It is a city that is not only passionate about its' unique cultural heritage, but also its' sports teams and holiday celebrations. My top ten list includes a variety of seasonal activities. Although there are endless things to do in "the Windy City" including a long lineup of annual events, the list below features 10 wonderful activities and attractions for first time visitors.
  • 1. Explore The Field Museum
    Explore The Field Museum
    1400 S Lake Shore Drive, , 60605
    Chicago is home to many of the best museums in the country. If you are local and have a city address, go to a Chicago Public library and check out a free pass. If you are not local, check each individual museum website as there are several free days a year. The Field Museum, The Museum of Science and Industry, and The Shedd Aquarium all offer free days. The Field Museum is my favorite out of the 3 because of the extensive dinosaur and mummy exhibits.
  • 2. Walk or ride along the Chicago Lakefront Path
    Walk or ride along the Chicago Lakefront Path
    1600 N Lake Shore Drive, , 60657
    This beautiful 14 mile long path is a wonderful way to see Chicago. It's the perfect place to be in Chicago in the summer. With great views of the beaches, Navy Pier, and the Chicago skyline, there is no place which offers a more scenic setting for a run or bike ride. As a bonus, you will enjoy easy access to many of Chicago's top attractions including the Lincoln Park Zoo and the world-class museums.
  • 3. See a Cubs game at Wrigley Field
    See a Cubs game at Wrigley Field
    1060 W Addison Street, , 60613
    There is no way to truly experience a Chicago summer better than sitting in the bleachers at Wrigley field watching a Cubs game! The crowd is always very enthusiastic and big on showing support for their team, which adds to the fun atmosphere. As one of the best sport cities in the country, you really cannot pass up on a Chicago baseball game! As a bonus, there are many local sports pubs around the field to enjoy pre or post game!
  • 4. Ice skate at McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in the winter
    Ice skate at McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in the winter
    201 E. Randolph Street, , 60602
    I recommend this ice rink in downtown's Millennium Park because you get to take in great views of the city while getting in a fabulous workout. Also, the pretty music and lights add to the ambiance, making this the perfect date night destination. Note: it can get really crowded, especially closer to the holiday season. Admission is free, although there is a small skate rental fee. Various other parks throughout the city also offer free ice rinks. Skate rental may be $5-10 or so.
  • 5. Explore an extensive collection of art at The Art Institute of Chicago
    Explore an extensive collection of art at The Art Institute of Chicago
    111 South Michigan Avenue, , 60603
    Known for housing one of the best collections of art in the country, The Art Institute of Chicago is a must-see when visiting the city. Any art lovers will be pleased with the incredible collection. This is the perfect place to stroll around on a cold winter's day. As a bonus, many restaurants and shops are located within close proximity. There are free days listed throughout the year. Check the website for details.
  • 6. Stroll around the Lincoln Park Zoo
    Stroll around the Lincoln Park Zoo
    2001 N. Clark Street, , 60614
    Lincoln Park is one of the few zoos that is free all the time! Lincoln Park Zoo is a great small zoo which features fabulous views of the city. This zoo is especially festive over the holidays with a spectacular Zoo Lights event where the entire zoo is decorated with Christmas decorations and thousands of lights on every tree. There is also a really cool synchronized light and music show, as well as creative ice sculpture carvings.
  • 7. Take pictures by Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park
    Take pictures by Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park
    Grant Park (Columbus Drive and Congress Parkway), , 60601
    Buckingham Fountain, one of the city's most iconic landmarks, was donated to the city by philanthropist Kate S. Buckingham in 1927. During the summer months there is a free water and light show every hour. In addition, Grant Park is home to numerous summer events and festivals.
  • 8. Walk the Magnificent Mile
    Walk the Magnificent Mile
    N. Michigan Avenue, , 60601
    Walk this famous shopping district, and also make a stop in the Water Tower Place, an iconic 8 floor shopping center. Beautiful architecture along the entire mile journey coupled with a great mix of upscale and casual shopping and restaurants make the Magnificent Mile a can’t miss Chicago summer attraction.

    The annual free Lights Festival Parade in November kicks off the holiday season downtown. The winter is another great time to stroll around downtown as Chicago is one of the best holiday destinations. There is plenty going on downtown including the annual Christmas tree and Christkindlmarket in Daley Plaza, lights along the Magnificent Mile, the Macy’s Holiday windows, the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink, horse drawn carriage rides, holiday themed productions and more!
  • 9. Visit the Adler Planetarium (and enjoy the skyline view!)
    Visit the Adler Planetarium (and enjoy the skyline view!)
    1300 S Lake Shore Dr, , 60605
    Chicago is easily home to the best skyline in the country, maybe even the world. One of the best spots for snapping photos of the gorgeous skyline is by the Adler Planetarium. The Planetarium is worth a visit too, especially for the awesome shows!
  • 10. Spend a summer afternoon at Oak Street Beach
    Spend a summer afternoon at Oak Street Beach
    1000 North Lake Shore Drive, , 60611
    Summer in Chicago is hot and humid. Visiting this scenic beach is a great way to cool off. With the water on one side and an amazing views of the skyline on the other, this is the place to be. It is known as one the places to see and be seen in the city. This beach is very clean and well-maintained. Featuring decent sized waves, great swimming conditions, volleyball courts, and a younger crowd, this is the place for some fun-in-the-sun on any Chicago summer afternoon!