What to see in Chicago

Viewing 12 posts - 1 through 12 (of 12 total)
  • Author
  • #162032
    Wyatt Thompson, PLA

    My wife and I will be visiting Chicago for the first time next week. We definitely plan to visit Grant and Millennium Parks, and we’ll probably spend some time at Shedd Aquarium and The Museum of Science and Industry. I know the city is ripe with examples of great design and landscape architecture and I won’t see it all this trip. What else should be on our must-see/do list?


    Spending time along the lake shore is great…especially if the weather is nice.  Looks like you will be near the museum campus at some point so check out the Field Muesum and Adler Planetarium while you are there.  I would also recommend taking some of the architectural tours.  There is a boat tour which is pretty cool.  You might venture to Oak Park to tour some Frank Lloyd Wright homes and his studio.  Chicago Botanical Gardens and Morten Arboretum should be on your list.  Lincoln Park Zoo the list can go on and on…..


    Have fun and enjoy your visit!!

    Alan Ray, RLA

    The Chicago Museum of Art is a must…..

    also, the Historic Skyscraper Tour is the most interesting and educational of all the tours I’ve taken….

    Thomas J. Johnson

    Check out James Burnett’s “The Park at Lakeshore East” – It’s just North of Millennium Park.


    If you guys don’t mind walking, a great full-day hike would be:

    Park at Millennium Park (underground parking garage). Check out the park. Get your picture with the bean. Walk across the bridge to the Art Institute. Have lunch at the cafe (courtyard) downstairs. If memory serves, it was designed by Kiley. The garden in front of the building (linear, geometric w/ Hawthorns) definitely was Kiley’s.

    After lunch, walk back across Millennium Park and cross the groovy snake bridge (due east of the pavilion). Once across the bridge head North to Randolph. Go East on Randolph to N Field Blvd. Go North on N. Field. You’ll run into Burnett’s The Park at Lakeshore East. There is a staircase in the NW corner of the park. Go up the stairs and check out the park from above.

    Now head North to the Chicago River. Take the River Walk West to Columbus Drive. Head North on Columbus Dr.  to Illinois St. Go East on Illinois St. The Fox and Obel is a very high end market with great food if you’re hungry or need a beverage. There is a neat modern park across the street. Keep going East on Illinois St. You’ll run into Navy Pier. Navy Pier is OK but a bit of a mini-Vegas tourist trap. Check out Milton Olive Park on the North side of Navy Pier. Interesting geometry.

    You’re now at Ohio St. Beach. Walk North along the Lakeshore Path. It’s a few miles up to Lincoln Park but it’s a mellow, easy walk. You’ll run into Lincoln Park. Can’t miss it. Go to the South Pond and check out Studio Gang’s (Jeanne Gang) Nature Boardwalk http://www.studiogang.net/work/2005/lincolnparkzoo Enjoy Lincoln Park. The Zoo is free and especially fun if you have kids. There is also a conservatory (if it’s not humid enough for you outside). At the North Pond there is a great Cafe if you’re hungry again (I like to eat…) and Diversey Harbor is right there if you want to check out the boats…

    You’ve earned a break, so grab a cab and have him take you back south on Lake Shore Drive. Get out at Oak St. and walk down Michigan Ave. to see how the other half lives. It’s about 2 miles from Oak St./Michigan Ave. back to your car at Millennium.

    This would be great loop… a bit of an epic but worth the effort. As Dennis mentioned, there are also boat tours, kayak tours, and Segway tours if you want something with a bit less walking.

    I also second seeing the Chicago Botanic Gardens if you want to see what can be done when money is no object. If you want to see where the hipsters live, check out the area around North Ave & Milwaukee Ave. Lots of good eats, cafes, boutiques and bookstores, etc.

    Have Fun! If you want a tour guide, I’d be happy to show you around if I’m free. Just drop me a line…





    Wyatt Thompson, PLA

    Thanks for all the great suggestions, guys. I’ll be sure to discuss all these ideas with my traveling buddy and see what we have time for. We don’t plan on getting a car – I’ve been told parking fees downtown are ridiculous – so we’ll use public transit and our feet to get around. That may knock out some destinations but I bet there will be more than enough to do regardless.

    Wyatt Thompson, PLA

    Thomas, I didn’t know you were in Chicago; I was thinking you lived in Colorado for some reason. Thanks for the local perspective! I’d been looking at making a walking-tour of sorts like you suggested. You added a few sites that I didn’t know about. Thanks for mentioning the Lakeshore East project. That was on my list too and I’d located it on Google Maps but couldn’t remember what it was called. I love that you included so many stops for food. We have a list of restaurants in the lakefront area that have been featured on various Food Network shows and we plan to hit as many of them as we can.



    Brett Lezon

    Garfield Park Conservatory–be careful of the surrounding area!  I wouldn’t recommend walking there from downtown, quite the walk!  

    Lakeshore East Park

    Lurie Garden

    Adams-Sangamon Park

    Ontario Street for nightlife/restaurants

    Modern Wing at Art Institute/Renzo Piano’s Bridge connecting Modern Wing to Lurie Garden

    Of course, Michigan Ave.


    Wendella Architecture Boat Tour/The night tour is highly recommended!

    Kayak Chicago/Guided kayak tour on the Chicago River.  Awesome experience from a different vantage point!


    If you have any questions let me know.  I grew up in the Chicagoland area and love the city!


    ALEX P

    the art institute!  

    Wicker Park is very trendy neighborhood area (marc jacobs shop, and such) if your into that kinda thing

    Pizzeria Uno is good, sometimes a long line, but worth it. 

    McCormick Tribune Campus Center Illinois Institute of Technology- designed by Rem Koolhaas


    Mike G

    Geno’s Pizza #1

    You can’t walk around Chicago on an empty stomach.

    ALEX P

    make sure you find the guys who stand on the corner of the street try to sell “Street Wise Magazine” they are a gas!

    ALEX P

    navy pier is a waste of time.

    Wyatt Thompson, PLA

    Thanks to everyone who made suggestions here. I’m heading out tomorrow and very much looking forward to seeing the city. The weather forecast looks cloudy with rain likely one day. Hopefully it will stay nice enough to walk about.

Viewing 12 posts - 1 through 12 (of 12 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

Lost Password