A must-visit for nature lovers, this sprawling compound of foliage comprises 27 different gardens ranging from formal British rose gardens to tranquil Japanese islands. A series of waterways connect the lushly landscaped hills and acres together. The scenic vistas here rival those of the older, European gardens. Pack a lunch and spend the afternoon wandering among the beautifully sculpted shrubbery. This peaceful escape from the city is a rare find. The onsite Garden View Cafe serves delicious meals, beverages, and coffee along with spectacular views.
From popular Rembrandt masterpieces to recent works by lesser-known artists, the Art Institute of Chicago houses one of the finest art collections in the world. Spanning centuries of human creativity, exhibits include a distinguished collection of prints and drawings, an internationally acclaimed collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings, sculptures, photographs, Asian, African, and American arts, architectural drawings, textiles, and more. Many pieces are on loan from the famed Terra Foundation for American Art. Educational programs and guided museum tours are available. Artbooks, reproductions, postcards, and other items are available in the museum shop.
Millennium Park is one of the newest additions to Chicago's many wide-open urban spaces and is host to a range of indoor/outdoor activities for the entire family. You can listen to top musical events at the outdoor pavilion, or glide across the bustling ice skating rink come winter. For a bit of the park's history, be sure to take a peek at the Peristyle. While in the park one cannot afford to miss the Cloud Gate Sculpture, built with 110 tons (99,790 kilograms) of steel. It is called The Bean by the residents. Meandering through the park, you'll encounter the serene beauty of Lurie Garden, a breathtaking botanical haven. The Pritzker Pavilion and Crown Fountain are also to look out for. Whether you're a local seeking solace or a traveler eager to immerse yourself in the essence of Chicago, Millennium Park warrants a visit.
Whether a cycling enthusiast or not, Bobby's Bike Hike is a brilliant way to see Chicago's major attractions on an informative cycling tour. With a good variety of tours available, including the 'Lakefront Neighborhoods Bike Tour' and 'Chicago’s Ultimate City Bike Tour', there is something for everyone. These tours are leisurely paced, so you need not worry about being unable to keep up with the cycling group. Bobby’s Bike Hike provides a range of bikes to choose from and also offers helmets. People of all ages will enjoy these tours as it is a fantastic and informative way to experience the sights and sounds of the city.
Cloud Gate is an iconic Chicago sculpture located in Millennium Park. Designed by artist Anish Kapoor, its highly reflective surface appears to be seamless but is actually made up of 168 stainless steel plates that were welded together. Its legume-like shape has earned it the nickname "The Bean" among Chicago residents. It is interesting to note that a massive droplet of liquid mercury is the inspiration for this structure which tends to spark curiosity among visitors. The Bean is a must-see attraction while in downtown. Admire the unique structure and make sure you take a picture with this architectural marvel for social media.
The origins of this huge downtown park date back to the 19th Century. Spread across 319 acres (129 hectares), Grant Park is nestled between Michigan Avenue and Lake Michigan. Inspired by French parks, it has geometric layouts that are entwined by bridges, huge lawns, trails, artworks, monuments, marinas, sports fields and many gardens. The iconic Buckingham Fountain, Millennium Park, Museum Campus and Petrillo Music Shell are some of its popular attractions. Grant Park is also home to major festivals and cultural events in the city.
Before Lincoln Park was a park, it was one of the city's largest cemeteries. Most of the graves were relocated, although construction crews occasionally turn up a body or two. One family refused to move its patron, the tailor Ira Couch, from the grounds. They won a lawsuit against the city and Ira Couch's resting place remained unmoved. As part of the lawsuit, no one is allowed inside the mausoleum. Whether or not Couch is inside, is a mystery that has puzzled generations of Chicagoans. Stop by when you visit the Chicago Historical Society.
This was not always a Greek church. In 1910, this gorgeous Greek Revival building rose above Ashland Avenue as the Anshe Shalom synagogue. At the time, the neighborhood was very much Jewish, but that had changed by 1927. The building was purchased by the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox community, and so it remains today. The interior of the church is beautifully decorated, with the top dome featuring a magnificent painting. Sunday services are usually crowded, as many of the Greek Orthodox faithful come to worship here. Call for service times.
This upscale, medium-sized gallery specializes in contemporary works with an African-American influence. Located in River North since 1996, gallery director George N'Namdi represents the likes of painter Robert Colescott, sculptors Sharon Que and Richard Mayhew. The staff is eager to help visitors in making selections from the work on display and demonstrating exceptional knowledge of the media. A past show was a retrospective entitled "Abstraction of the Nineties".
A seemingly Utopian society where artists live and work in studios around sunken gardens in the midst of a ne'er do well part of town. Sound like the stuff of novels? It is a reality here. The colony began nearly 50 years ago when John Podmajersky and his wife Ann bought three blocks of land when they saw their native Pilsen neighborhood starting to crumble. Since then, artisans from around the globe have come here to practice their craft. Approximately 300 artists now call the colony home. To observe the colony at work (without having to move in), visit during the annual open house in early September.
This large black granite oval pool and the murky water it contains create a striking and dark, ominous effect. Constructed in 1982, this moving sculpture was recently re-dedicated to honor Chicago's Vietnam Veterans. While there, be sure to check out the Heald monument across the street named after Captain Nathan Heald, the commander of Fort Deehborn. The monument includes figures of George Washington, Robert Morris and Haym Salomon.
The Thomas McCormick Gallery gallery offers an engrossing mix of both contemporary and modern art, with additional work from the early 20th century. The gallery maintains the estates of many artists, including Robert Nickle, who is renowned for his work in collage. Other popular exhibits include Thomas Nickle Baker's collection of mixed media, pen and ink drawings, and the paintings of Chicago "bad boy" artist Wesley Kilmer.