Chicago ranks right after New York and Los Angeles as the most populous city in the United States and is also the largest in the state of Illinois.
Chicago was founded in 1837 on Lake Michigan’s shore, close to a waterway connecting the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River basin.
Today, Chicago is a major economic, cultural, commercial, industrial, educational, technological, telecommunications, and transportation center.
Below are some of the most famous landmarks in Chicago that every visitor should tick off of their list of must see places.
Famous Landmarks in Chicago
1. Millennium Park
A public park known as Millennium Park may be found in the Loop neighborhood of downtown Chicago, Illinois, in the United States.
More than 25 million people pass through this park on a yearly basis, making it one of the most popular parks in the city. Its construction coincided with the city’s millennium celebrations.
The “Cloud Gate” sculpture, more commonly referred to as “The Bean,” as well as the gorgeous architecture are among the most popular things to see and do there.
Its origins may be traced back to 1997, when the city of Chicago made public its intentions to construct a park in celebration of the turn of the millennium.
The first stone was laid in 1998, and the building wasn’t finished being built until 2004; the official opening was held on July 16 of that same year.
Since that time, Millennium Park has developed into one of the most popular tourist destinations across the entirety of Chicago.
Visitors can participate in a wide variety of fun activities while they’re in Millennium Park. During the warm months of the year, the Pritzker Pavilion plays host to a variety of special events and activities, including free concerts and movies, as well as yoga classes and art installations.
In addition, guests have the opportunity to wander around the several gardens and circumnavigate the well-known Cloud Gate sculpture. In addition, there are a great deal of restaurants and other types of eating establishments in the neighborhood to choose from.
2. Navy Pier
One of the most well-known landmarks in all of Chicago, the Navy Pier is situated on the water’s edge of Lake Michigan in the heart of downtown Chicago and is regarded as one of the city’s most popular tourist destinations.
In 1916, it was constructed as a cargo port; however, since that time, it has been converted into an entertainment district that features a variety of stores, restaurants, parks, and other amenities.
Visitors have the option of going on boat rides or walking down the pier to visit the many attractions that are located there, such as the Chicago Children’s Museum and the Centennial Wheel ferris wheel.
It was used as a military training center in the 19th century, which is when its history can be traced back to. Since that time, it has served various functions, including that of a university campus, an airport, and even a theme park.
The pier is now one of the most popular tourist destinations in Chicago and is home to a diverse selection of dining establishments, drinking establishments, retail establishments, and performing arts venues.
The Navy Pier is jam-packed with a variety of events and attractions. The several gardens, the boat rides, and the Centennial Wheel ferris wheel are all available for guests to enjoy during their time here.
Additionally, there are a large number of places to shop, including art galleries and shops selling souvenirs. In addition, there are a large number of restaurants, bars, and music venues where people may go to enjoy live entertainment and eat.
3. The Art Institute of Chicago
The Art Institute of Chicago, which has been in operation since 1879 and can be found in Grant Park in the city of Chicago, is not only one of the oldest art museums in the world but also one of the largest.
It is estimated that over 1.5 million people visit the museum on a yearly basis, which has earned it praise for the quality of its exhibitions as well as its popularity among visitors.
Eleven distinct curatorial departments are responsible for maintaining the collection.
Its permanent collection encompasses close to 300,000 works of art, and every year it presents more than thirty special exhibitions that shed light on various aspects of the collection as well as highlight cutting-edge curatorial and scientific research.
4. Field Museum
The Field Museum of Natural History is a museum that can be found in the city of Chicago, which is located in the state of Illinois.
It was established in 1893, and it is currently home to one of the most extensive collections of cultural and natural history objects in the entire globe.
Its purpose is to pique the public’s interest in life on Earth through the promotion of scientific research and education as well as public interaction with the museum’s collections.
Visitors get the opportunity to visit exhibits that focus on a wide range of topics, from ancient civilizations to present culture, and learn the tales that lie behind some of the most fascinating items in the world.
5. Wrigley Field
The area of Wrigleyville in Chicago, Illinois is home to the famous baseball stadium known as Wrigley Field.
It is the home of the Chicago Cubs, a team that plays in the Major League Baseball, and it has been the setting for some of the most memorable and significant events in the history of baseball.
Even in this day and age, it is still one of the oldest stadiums in professional sports, and the fact that it is covered in ivy and has a traditional construction contributes to the fact that it is one of the most well-liked venues in all of baseball.
The history of the venue can be traced back to 1914, when William Wrigley Jr., who was the owner of the Chicago Cubs at the time, purchased the land on which he would eventually build his stadium.
On April 23, 1916, the inaugural game was played at Wrigley Field, and ever since then, the stadium has been the site of a great number of historical games and players.
Today, it is a famous tourist attraction for baseball aficionados, and even those who do not have a strong enthusiasm for the sport find themselves mesmerized by the classic ambiance of this legendary stadium.
What You Can Do Once You Get There: Tours of Wrigley Field are available on days when there are not any games scheduled at the venue, as well as at specific times on game days. During these guided tours, guests are taken to some of the most famous areas of the stadium, including the luxury suites, the press box, and the dugout.
In addition, guests have the option of perusing souvenir stores and stocking up on refreshments at one of the many concession stalls that are spread out over the field.
6. Willis Tower
One of the most recognizable and iconic tall structures in the world is the Willis Tower, which is located in Chicago.
It was formerly known as the Sears Tower, but it was recently purchased by Willis Group Holdings Ltd., which is an insurance brokerage company based in London.
Willis Group Holdings Ltd. has ownership of the tower until 2024. It is most popularly recognized by its former name. The amazing height of the structure, which makes it one of the highest buildings in the world, is the primary reason for the skyscraper’s widespread recognition.
Also Read: Buildings in Chicago
Both Fazlur Rahman Khan and Bruce Graham, well-known architects with a reputation for designing and constructing large, multi-story buildings, were responsible for the design of the Willis Tower.
The Willis Tower may look like it only has 108 storeys when viewed from the ground, but it actually has a basement level and two additional stories at the very top, making the total number of levels in the building 111.
Also Read: Famous Skyscrapers in Chicago
1969 was the year when planning and design work began on the building, while 1970 was the year that construction finally got underway.
Willis Tower was completed in 1974 after being assembled by construction personnel in a timeframe that was shorter than that required for the majority of other buildings of a height comparable to its own.
It was the highest structure in the world until it was overtaken in height in 1998 by the Petronas Twin Towers, which were completed in Malaysia. During that time, it had the title of “tallest building in the world.”
7. Lincoln Park Zoo
Lincoln Park Zoo, also known as Lincoln Park Zoological Gardens, is located in Lincoln Park in the city of Chicago, Illinois, and spans an area of 35 acres (14 hectares).
Since it opened in that year, the zoo holds the distinction of being the fourth-oldest zoo in all of North America. In addition to that, it is one of the few zoos in the United States that does not charge an admission fee.
The zoo is recognized as a reputable institution by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) (AZA).
The Lincoln Park Zoo is home to an extremely diverse collection of animals. Exhibits in the zoo feature a variety of creatures, including large cats, polar bears, penguins, gorillas, reptiles, monkeys, and other species, for a total of over 1,100 animals spanning approximately 200 species.
In addition, the Lincoln Park Zoo is home to a burr oak tree that was first logged in the year 1830, which is three years before the founding of the city of Chicago.
8. Garfield Park Conservatory
One of the largest greenhouse conservatories in the United States is found in the city of Chicago’s Garfield Park, which is home to the Garfield Park Conservatory.
The Garfield Park Conservatory is home to a number of permanent plant exhibits that feature specimens from all over the world, including some cycads that are over 200 years old.
It is commonly referred to as “landscape art under glass” and occupies approximately 4.5 acres (18,000 m2) both inside and outside.
Both the Lincoln Park Conservatory and the Garfield Park Conservatory on the north side of Chicago offer large horticultural collections, educational programs, and community outreach projects. Lincoln Park is located on the north side of Chicago.
9. Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago
The Museum of Science and Industry (MSI) is a science museum that can be found in Chicago, Illinois. The MSI can be found in Jackson Park, which is located in the Hyde Park district, between Lake Michigan and the University of Chicago.
The building dates back to the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893 and was formerly known as the Palace of Fine Arts.
It was launched in 1933 during the Century of Progress Exposition and was first financed by Julius Rosenwald, the president of Sears, Roebuck and Company as well as a philanthropist. The Commercial Club of Chicago provided assistance for the institution.
A full-scale replica of a coal mine, the German submarine U-505 that was captured during World War II, a model railroad that spans 3,500 square feet (330 square meters), the command module from Apollo 8, and the first diesel-powered streamlined stainless-steel passenger train are some of the exhibits that can be found in the museum (Pioneer Zephyr).
10. Shedd Aquarium
Shedd Aquarium is an indoor public aquarium that is located in the city of Chicago, Illinois, in the United States. It was formerly known as the John G. Shedd Aquarium.
The five million US gallon aquarium was opened on May 30, 1930, and for a time it held the title of being the largest indoor facility in the entire globe. Currently, it is home to over 32,000 animals.
The Shedd Aquarium was the first inland aquarium to have a collection of saltwater fish that was kept there permanently. On the Museum Campus in Chicago, which also houses the Adler Planetarium and the Field Museum of Natural History, this attraction may be found on the shore of Lake Michigan.
In 2015, there were 2.02 million people that went to the aquarium. In 2005, it was the aquarium with the most guests in the United States, and in 2007, it surpassed the Field Museum as the cultural destination with the most visitors in Chicago.
Fish, marine animals, birds, snakes, amphibians, and insects are just some of the 1,500 different species that may be found in the aquarium.
The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) presented the aquarium with prizes for “best exhibit” in the years 1999, 2001, and 2004 for its displays titled Seahorse Symphony, Amazon Rising, and Wild Reef, respectively. In 1987, the building was accorded the status of National Historic Landmark.