Many people come to Chicago with a lot on their agenda and only a little bit of time to do it. Whether you’re looking to squeeze in all you can after you get done with all the meetings on a business trip, you’re trying to jam in the some activities during a long layover or you could only squeeze in a day or two for Chicago before you had to head somewhere new, there are quite a few places that you won’t want to go home without seeing. Of course, you can’t see all of Chicago in a day, but maybe next time you can stop by for longer and check the rest of the top attractions off your list. Until then, try to fit as couple of the top things to do in Chicago on your trip – you’d be surprised what you can accomplish in one day!
- Take a Tour. The best way to see the most of the city you can in one day is on a guided tour. The most popular tours of Chicago include the boat tours, walking tours, food tours or bike tours. You can see almost all of the top city sites in three hours or less, and best of all, there’s a local guide there answering all the questions you’ve ever had about Chicago.
- Head to the John Hancock Center for a look out over Chicago’s skyline and beaches from the observatory of for a drink in the Signature Room at the 95th. Catching a buzz 95 stories high with a view like this of Chicago is the perfect way to relax on your afternoon in Chicago.
- Get a slice of pizza. Or maybe since you’re only here for the day, treat yourself to the whole pie. There’s no definitive answer for who has the best pizza in Chicago, but you won’t go wrong with a meal at Giordano’s, Lou Malnati’s, the Original Gino’s East or Piece Pizzeria,
- Visit the Field Museum. Especially if the weather isn’t great on your one day in the city, there are tons of great museums in Chicago to keep you entertained and involved. The Field Museum of Natural History is one of the top attractions in Chicago, rain or shine, and holds so many pieces of history and natural science under one roof that it’s almost hard to believe. Pay a visit to Sue, the largest and most complete T-Rex skeleton, or any of the other 21 million specimens this museum holds. The Field Museum in conveniently located near the Shedd Aquarium and Adler Planetarium on what is known as Museum Campus, so you can easily explore more than one museum on a visit.
- See the Bean. It only takes about 10 minutes of your day to do so, and it’s located in Millennium Park, which is also home to Crown Fountain and 24 acres of grass lounging space. The Bean is definitely worth seeing in person, and after you do, you’re still close to tons of other attractions (like all the great things to do on Michigan Ave, and it’s less than a 10 minute walk from this Chicago icon to the Art Institute.
- Visit the Art Institute of Chicago. Located in Grant Park, this is a museum made up of Impressionist art this is not to be missed. The museum has been open since 1879, and the current location is one million square feet – the second largest art museum in the United States!
- See the city from the top of the Willis Tower. Speaking of records, Willis Tower holds one too. Formerly known as Sears Tower, this building is the tallest building in North America, and at the time it was completed, was the even tallest building in the world for a while, although now it’s the ninth tallest in the world.
- Head to Wrigley Field. Even in the off season you can get in to Wrigley Field just to say that you’ve been there. They also offer guided tours at this great American landmark, but the real time to come is while there’s a Cubs game happening. You won’t regret spending a few hours of your one day in Chicago at this baseball legend, and you can get last minute tickets online while you’re on the way to the city so that you don’t have to waste precious sightseeing time standing in line for tickets. Wrigley Field is not too far away from most of the other things you’re going to want to do, so there will still be time left to get head to some other attractions on your one day excursion.
- Head to Shedd Aquarium if your kids are tagging along in the Windy City too. Everyone, old and young, enjoys the Shedd Aquarium, and many years more people visit the aquarium than they do the Field Museum. Either way, there are more than 25, 000 fish here to marvel at, like Beluga Whales, sea turtles, dolphins and more!
- Visit a brewery. Chicago is home to many notable breweries that distribute beers nationwide. Some of the most recognizable local Chicago breweries include Goose Island (you’ll never mistake that large goose-head on the tap at any bar you go to), Revolution Brewing, Half Acre Beer Company and Pipeworks Brewing Company. Tour the breweries or head to a bar and sample a few selections while you’re here.
This article was written by Lizz Riggs, editor of ChicagoTraveler.com.