Top 10 Illinois Attractions


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Planning for a vacation in Illinois this Year? Looking for fun things to do? We have been asked many times: What are the top places to see in Illinois? So here is our list of top 10 "Must-See" attractions in Illinois.

1: Millennium Park

Millennium ParkMillennium Park
Photo courtesy: Ricky O

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Interesting facts:
- Construction of Millennium Park began in October 1998 and opened on July 16, 2004.
- This 24.5 acre park transformed what used to be considered an ugly railway and parking lot into a beautiful lake front attraction.
- The park is famous not only for its unique beauty and landscaping, but also for its innovative architecture.

Things to do:
Millennium Park is home to an impressive array of attractions including Jay Pritzker Pavilion which hosts a variety of world class concerts, The BP Bridge, Crown Fountain, The Bean sculpture, Harris Theater for Music and Dance, Millennium Park Ice Skating Rink, and McDonald's Cycle Center.

Website:

Millennium Park

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2: Navy Pier

Navy PierNavy Pier
Photo courtesy: Navy Pier

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Interesting facts:
- Navy Pier is a 3,300-foot long pier on the Chicago shoreline of Lake Michigan.
- It was built in 1916 at a cost of $4.5 million. Since its construction, has been a Chicago landmark.
- The pier was designed as a shipping and amusement area. In its first decade, the Municipal Pier was successfully attracting both visitors and ships. It was also temporarily used as a military facility during the World War I.

Things to do:
Navy Pier is home to entertainment, museums, activities, restaurants, and shops. You can enjoy ride on the 150-foot Ferris wheel, which offers great city and Lake Michigan views. Near the Ferris wheel is a 44ft high musical carousel with 36 hand-painted animals. The pier also features two museums: the Children's museum and the Smith museum of Stained Glass Windows. Other attractions include 18 hole miniature golf course, a funhouse maze, a beer garden, a 40ft high wave swinger and an IMAX theater.

Website:

www.navypier.com

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3: The Magnificent Mile

The Magnificent MileThe Magnificent Mile
Photo courtesy: Ricky O

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Interesting facts:
- The "Magnificent Mile" is a popular section of Chicago’s Michigan Avenue, running across Chicago River to Oak Street in the north side.
- It is a grand wide boulevard decorated with a mix of art and modern design, neat and beautiful trees, high-rise buildings, museums and galleries, world-renowned brand hotels, row upon row of shopping malls, as well as exclusive shops.

Things to do:
World class shopping, sightseeing, enjoy the famous nightlife scene, take a tour of downtown Chicago, cruise along the Chicago lakefront and dance the night away.

Website:

www.themagnificentmile.com

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4: SkyDeck Chicago - Willis Tower

SkyDeck Chicago - Willis TowerSkyDeck Chicago - Willis Tower
Photo courtesy: Ricky O

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Interesting facts:
- Willis Tower formerly called Sears Tower is a famous 108-storey (1,451 foot) skyscraper in Chicago.
- Built in 1974, Willis tower is the tallest building in Chicago and still ranks among the tallest buildings in the World.
- Approximately 1.3 million tourists visit the Skydeck each year.

Things to do:
- Watch a short film on the history of Sears Tower, and then take a quick 55-second trip up to the observation deck on an elevator that travels at 1,600 feet per minute.
- Enjoy the breathtaking view of the Chicago city from the observation deck on the 103rd floor of Willis Tower. Take pictures of the awesome view.
- There is an indoor museum on Chicago history, a 4 foot-tall "mini Chicago" for children to explore, state-of-the-art sound and lighting, and telescopes.

Website:

www.theskydeck.com

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5: Shedd Aquarium

Shedd AquariumShedd Aquarium
Photo courtesy: Ricky O

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Interesting facts:
- The Shedd Aquarium opened in Dec 1929, is one of the most popular attractions in the Chicago city and it welcomes approximately 2 million visitors a year.
- Shedd Aquarium houses some 20,000 aquatic animals representing 1,500 different species.
- The aquarium contains several exhibits, the most famous of which are the Caribbean Reef, the Wild Reef and the Oceanarium.
- Shedd Aquarium’s Oceanarium is the largest indoor marine mammal facility in the world.

Things to do:
Watch over 1,500 species of fish and mammals, learn about the function of coral reef at Wild Reef Exhibit, explore biggest and largest saltwater marine life at Oceanarium Exhibit, explore Black Tip Reef Sharks and watch the Marine Mammal Presentation show.

Website:

www.sheddaquarium.org

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6: The Art Institute of Chicago

The Art Institute of ChicagoThe Art Institute of Chicago
Photo courtesy: The Art Institute of Chicago

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Interesting facts:
- The Art Institute Chicago holds one of the world's great art collections that spans 5,000 years.
- The Art Institute of Chicago holds the largest collection of Impressionist paintings outside the Louvre in Paris.
- Textiles, photography, sculpture, architecture and design, painting, drawing and prints, and works pertaining to different cultures of the world are displayed here.

Things to do:
Explore the masterpieces from around the World, including a notable selection of both impressionist and post-impressionist paintings. Check the Modern Wing which is a home to collection of 20th and 21st century art.

Website:

www.artic.edu

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7: Chicago Architecture Foundation

Chicago Architecture FoundationChicago Architecture Foundation
Photo courtesy: Ricky O

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Interesting facts:
- The Chicago Architecture Foundation offers nearly 100 tours to spotlight the city’s architecture and design.
- A Chicago Architecture Foundation docent will provide an overview of historic and contemporary architectural designs plus many stories about the architects who designed and built Chicago.
- The tours highlight more than 50 buildings along the Chicago River revealing the history behind the most prominent architectural wonders.

Things to do:
Chicago Architecture Foundation offers tours that spotlight the best architectures of Chicago and the architects who designed them. There are different tours of specific buildings like Willis Tower and Merchandise Mart; by different modes of transportation - walking, bus, and boat; by styles - modern, art deco; even by architect.

Website:

www.architecture.org

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8: Six Flags Great America

Six Flags Great AmericaSix Flags Great America
Photo courtesy: Ricky O

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Interesting facts:
- Six Flags Great America is one of the biggest theme and amusement parks located at midway between Chicago and Milwaukee on I-94 in Gurnee, Illinois.
- The park has more than 100 rides and attractions and is a favorite of roller coaster lovers.

Things to do:
- Enjoy more than 100 rides including the most popular thrill rides - BATMAN the Ride, the American Eagle Wooden Coaster and Superman the Ride.
Enjoy Summer Chicago concert series, frequent events and live entertainment daily.

Website:

www.sixflags.com/greatAmerica

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9: Lincoln Park Zoo

Lincoln Park ZooLincoln Park Zoo
Photo courtesy: pdphoto.org

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Interesting facts:
- Lincoln Park Zoo is a 35 acre zoo located in the south of Lincoln Park, built in 1868, due to social sponsorship; all visits are free of charge.
- Lincoln Park Zoo is home to a wide variety of animals including big cats, polar bears, penguins, gorillas, reptiles, monkeys, and other species totaling nearly 1,250 animals.
- Lincoln Park Zoo is open 365 days a year and only closes in instances of bad weather.

Things to do:
- Watch popular mammals including polar bears, sun bears, camels, giraffes, lions and rhinoceros.
Enjoy the 70 species of reptiles, amphibians, and fish - more than 2,300 individual animals.
- The Farm-in-the-Zoo exhibit where children can milk cows, taste honey, and churn butter.

Website:

www.lpzoo.org

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10: Chinatown

ChinatownChinatown
Photo courtesy: http://www.chitowndining.com

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Interesting facts:
- The immigrants from China established Chicago's Chinatown at the beginning of the 20th century; the population has continued to grow since, with more than 68,000 Chinese inhabitants, according to the 2000 Census.
- The area is home to many Chinese restaurants, grocery stores, bakeries, herbal stores, banks, schools, a museum and a library.
- Chinatown is famous by the Chinatown Gate, built in 1975 and based on a wall in Beijing, as well as the Nine Dragon Wall.

Things to do:
Inexpensive shopping, eat Chinese food, explore pagodas and sculptures of dragons throughout the Chinatown neighborhood, cultural events at Chinatown square, and explore Chinese culture and tradition.

Website:

www.chicagochinatown.org

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For top 10 attractions in Chicago, Illinois check out our page here.






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