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Chicago is known for a bit more than just deep dish pizza. The Windy City has a welcoming atmosphere that’s warmer than its name lets on. Many incredible tourist attractions draw more than 50 million visitors to the city each year. Between its many parks, museums, spectacular architecture, and delectable dining, the options are quite endless in Chi-town. Chicago is also revered for its comedy scene, so make sure you swing by a comedy club for a few laughs. If music is more of your thing, try The Bassment for some live blues tunes. Whatever is up your alley, Chicago is going to provide for a great stay. Here are 5 fun places to explore in Chicago that you won’t want to miss.

Where To Stay?

Chicago is spread out over a lot of territory. When choosing your vacation rental home, you can either focus on the main area of the city where you want to spend your time or rely on the light rail or public transportation buses to get you to the sites. The city is experienced with getting locals and tourists where they need to go. That said, it’s always easier to pick a rental that is close to the activities you want to enjoy. Take a little time to map out your must-see attractions, and select a rental that is somewhat central to all of them. Either way, you won’t have a hard time getting around this easily navigable city.

Outdoors and by the Water

Navy Pier is a busy place for families to enjoy amusement park rides including a carousel, Ferris wheel and a miniature golf course. The pier stretches out onto Lake Michigan, so there’s an incredible view of this enormous body of water. While you’re there, swing by Chicago Shakespeare Theatre to catch a marvelous production of a classic play. With over 650 performances annually, you should have no trouble finding showtime that fits your schedule.

Millennium Park is in the center of the city and functions much like a town square. Walkthrough the lush gardens while you admire the unique architectural installations. On the right afternoon, you can find small concerts and cultural celebrations. This park is definitely worth a visit, as there is always something new to see around here.

The Chicago Riverwalk provides a spectacular walkway along the Chicago River. It covers six blocks in the downtown area and is ideal for seeing the classic Chicago sights. Grab some take-out food to eat while you sit in the park and do some people-watching.

Explore the Culture

The American Writers Museum includes exhibits, photo galleries and tributes to the distinctive and diverse authors of America. This educational experience hosts interactive exhibits and interesting book-related art throughout. This is the only museum in America dedicated solely to writing and literature.

One of the oldest and largest art museums in the world, visit Art Institute of Chicago to see over 300,000 works of art, including pieces by Edward Hopper, Grant Wood, and Pablo Picasso. Medieval art, sculptures, photography and textile design are just a few of the display genres showcased in the museum.

Shedd Aquarium lets you observe over 30,000 marine animals from the Caribbean, the Amazon and the Pacific Northwest. Coral reefs, exotic rainforests and the Great Lakes exhibits spark interest and provide an entertaining aquatic tour. For many years, their 5 million gallon tank was the largest in the world!

Take in the Art Al Fresco

Chicago has some unique sculptures and fountains in various outdoor areas of the city. The Buckingham Fountain is an elaborate fountain with bronze sea horses at the base. The fountain sprays water up to an impressive 150 feet. It was dedicated just over a century ago, and still to this day is one of the largest fountains in the world.

A Picasso sculpture on Washington Street in the Daley Plaza makes for a great photo opportunity. The untitled statue stands 50 feet high and is an incredible display of public artwork. And it’s free to visit, creating a perfect activity when you’re trying to give your wallet a little break.

Another interesting sculpture is the flamingo designed by Alexander Calder. The Flamingo is located in a plaza in Chicago’s Loop. The 53 ft tall behemoth is painted a bright red hue, so you really can’t miss it.

Have a Laugh or Shop ‘Til You Drop

The Second City Comedy Club offers evenings of entertainment and laughter. The improvisational comedy club opened in 1952 and has debuted some of the most popular comedians over the years. This is where many of them got their start before moving into show business. You can enjoy food and beverages from their restaurant, 1959 Bar, delivered to your table while you watch the shows.

The Magnificent Mile is an area of upscale shopping and dining in the Michigan Avenue District. It’s a full square mile packed with boutiques, spas, restaurants, pubs and hipster locals. Indulge in a spa treatment and grab a signature cocktail at one of the bars.

Lookingglass Theatre Company on Michigan Avenue holds contemporary literary performances, plays, and holiday events. World-renowned for their artistic excellence, they have premiered a variety of Tony award winning performances, and many spectacular adaptations of classic literature. Check the calendar of events for dates and times during your vacation to see what’s happening. Many of the popular performances sell out, so you might consider ordering tickets online ahead of time.

Taste the Local Brews

Local beer is flourishing and flowing out of the kegs in Chicago. There are many breweries, but we’ll explore three noteworthy ones here. Lagunitas Brewing Company opened in Lincoln Park in 2014. The sprawling 4,000-square-foot taproom has plenty of room for visitors to belly up to the bar. Sixteen beers are on draft and quality pub food is available. You’ll find this beer carried in a lot of restaurants and stores around Chicago as well.

Goose Island Beer Company was one of the trailblazers in Chicago’s craft beer industry before it took off. The company originally started with a North Branch Chicago River location for a brewpub in 1988. The success led to their brewhouse being opened in 1995. There, the brewmasters offer tours, fermenters are housed and a taproom allows for tasting craft brewskis.

Revolution Brewery ranks as one of the top 50 craft brewing companies in the United States, based on its overall sales volume. That means lots of beer lovers approve. The original location on Logan Square offers bar food and weekend brunches in addition to beer. The Avondale location opened two years after the Logan Square bar in 2012, and offers free tours of the brewing operation.

Endless Fun in Chi-town

It’s virtually impossible to get bored in a city as fabulous as Chicago. Any time of day, any day of the week, you can find excitement if you look in the right places. Between seeing the classic sites and visiting world-class museums, or finding that little hole-in-the-wall establishment that makes the perfect cocktail, this city provides endless opportunities for entertainment. You could probably fill a whole day just tasting every deep dish pizza you can find, but as you now know, there’s just so much more to Chicago! We know you’re going to be blown away by The Windy City.