20 Must-Visit Landmarks of Chicago

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(Last updated on: 18/11/2022)

landmarks of Chicago
What are the top landmarks of Chicago? Why should you visit the top landmarks of Chicago? If you are asking yourself these questions then you have come to the right place! In this article I will tell you all about my favourite landmarks of Chicago and why they are so popular. Ready to lear more? Keep scrolling…

20 Top landmarks of Chicago

Catch a glimpse of the stunning landmarks of Chicago to fulfil your wanderlust! The beautiful city of Chicago features some of the best attractions, such as museums, skyscrapers, and local spots that are worth visiting whether you’re a local or a visitor. Chicago has recorded an 81% increase in tourism as compared to previous years. 

Although Chicago offers a wide variety of activities, these 20 landmarks of Chicago are must-visit on your next trip. Let’s see which places you should explore…

1. The Chicago River

Landmarks of Chicago

The first on my list of landmarks of Chicago is the Chicago River.

I suggest that you start your journey to see Chicago from the water. The Chicago River is famous throughout the city and for good reason.

There are countless excursion options available here, including boat excursions, dinner cruises, Chicago lake and river cruises, and more. Classic cruise options are Shoreline Sightseeing, Odyssey dining cruises, and Wendella, Chicago’s First Lady.

You can also explore the water on your own by grabbing a paddle at Urban Kayaks, which is A LOT of fun!

2. Millennium Park

Landmarks of Chicago

Millennium Park is one of the biggest free attractions of the city, making it one of the most popular landmarks of Chicago. Chicago is known for its popular “Bean” installation, Cloud Gate, which is located inside the park. Its mirrored surface offers a fantastic reflection of the city’s skyline and makes for some great Insta shots.

Another fantastic attraction in the park is The Crown Fountain which is a unique tribute to the people of Chicago. This fountain shows rotating video images of 1,000 residents. Also visiting the new edition to Millennium Park is Maggie Daley Park. The park includes playgrounds and a rollerblade or ice skating ribbon. A fascinating place to visit!

3. Kinzie Street Railroad Bridge

Landmarks of Chicago

Another one of the most popular landmarks of Chicago is Kinzie Street Railroad Bridge. The bridge is abandoned in the raised position and is no longer used by trains.

Unlike some of the other bascule bridges you normally see in the city, with the pivot point above the ground, it is an unusual movable bridge. The Kinzie Street Railroad Bridge is an excellent reminder of the industrial past that shaped the city into what it is today.

4. Chicago Water Tower

Landmarks of Chicago

The tower is standing as a historic icon in Chicago. It is one of the few buildings to survive the Great Chicago Fire. It represents a city established to rise from its ashes.

Furthermore, in the Water Tower District there is the Magnificent Mile, a combination skyscraper and eight-story vertical mall. It is a famous shopping with a stunning atrium with more than 100 stores, restaurants, and entertainment venues.

5. The Willis Tower

Landmarks of Chicago

If you have visited the top of the tallest building in the western hemisphere, Willis Tower, The skyscrapers 103rd floor and glass balconies extending 4.3 feet outside the building are just enough to thrill you.

The all-glass platform makes you feel like you’re walking on air. Nothing can destroy your sightline of the Chicago River, Lake Michigan, and several of Chicago’s most iconic buildings and landmarks. It really is a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

6. Navy Pier

Landmarks of Chicago

Are you interested in free events and programs? Then go to the Pier in Chicago for culture, shopping, dining, and more. Navy Pier is the centre of attention for people who love fun.

Navy Pier is home to many fantastic Chicago attractions, including Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Chicago Children’s Museum, and more.

Navy Pier offers a variety of exciting events and public programmes all year round. These events feature something for everyone, including fireworks displays, live music, dance performances, theatre, art exhibits, cultural events, lake cruises, and activities for kids.

Undeniably one of the must-see landmarks of Chicago.

7. Lincoln Park Zoo

Landmarks of Chicago

The Lincoln Park Zoo is among the earliest public zoos in the United States of America. The zoo is known for its wide range of animals on display.

This family-friendly place allows visitors of all ages to enjoy watching these animals interact like they would in the wild. You can closely visit gorillas and chimpanzees, wild dogs, red wolves, river otters, and black rhinos. One of the finest zoo-based scientific and management-related activities is conducted by Lincoln Park Zoo. 

8. Washington Park Court District

Landmarks of Chicago

Washington Park was designated one of the landmarks of Chicago on October 2, 1991. Washington Park facilities include two gymnasiums, a photography lab, a dance studio, outdoor basketball courts, a fitness centre, a game room, an aquatic centre, swimming facilities, and multi-purpose rooms. The green features of the park highlight a nature area, a Harvest Garden, and an arboretum.

The Chicago Park District provides a wide range of group programs for children, adults, and seniors at little or no cost.

9. Garfield Park Conservatory

Landmarks of Chicago

Credits: https://garfieldconservatory.org/

The Garfield Park Conservatory is one of the most charming landmarks of Chicago to explore and is also one of the world’s largest and most gorgeous conservatories. The Garfield Park Conservatory features about 2 acres of diverse indoor beautiful tropical plants, clear blue water and stone elements, and an additional 12 acres of seasonal astonishing outdoor gardens.

It houses thousands of different kinds of marvellous plants. You will surely be impressed if you look for an excellent spot for colourful photos. It will be a great day trip for nature and garden enthusiasts.

10. The Art Institute of Chicago

Landmarks of Chicago

The Art Institute of Chicago is a must-visit during your trip to Chicago.

It is among the oldest and largest art museums in the country. The Art Museum has been ranked among the world’s best by TripAdvisor for four years consecutively. 

You can find some of the world’s most famous artworks, including paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, and many other objects. The museum offers special exhibits and public events.

The Art Institute could be a great place for you because of its extensive collection in endless halls and definitely deserves a place on the list of the best landmarks of Chicago.

11.  Wrigley Field

Landmarks of Chicago

If you are a true baseball fan and planning to visit Chicago, you should visit Wrigley Field, the Home of the Chicago Cubs. Famous for its charm and ivy-covered outfield walls, it is the second largest baseball park in the U.S.

The park is worth visiting for its hand-turned scoreboard and iconic entrance. It is among the most recognised tourist destination to visit in Chicago, located on the North side, a fifteen-minute drive from the Center. Also worth noting is that the scoreboard was served by the third generation of the operator when it was first mounted.

12. The Field Museum

Landmarks of Chicago

Another of the most popular landmarks of Chicago is the Field Museum. To explore natural history, you must visit the Field Museum, a world-class natural museum. This historical place is famous for its arduous collection of 40 million specimens and artifacts, including biological, anthropological, and natural objects from all over the world. 

The best time to visit is early morning to avoid crowds. Start your journey from SUE the T. Rex— the world’s most giant and complete skeleton of Tyrannosaurus rex to Inside Ancient Egypt—to explore Egyptian’s intricate rituals for mummification. 

Other stunning exhibits range from entomology collections to gemstones. You can explore Griffin Halls of Evolving Planet, Cyrus Tang Hall of China, Apsáalooke Warriors, Tsavo Lions, and The Ancient Americas.

13. 333 North Michigan

Landmarks of Chicago

Credit: https://333michigan.com/

Interested in skyscraping?? Then why not visit 333 North Michigan, the must-visit place in Chicago? It’s the city’s most astonishing art Deco-style skyscraper.

It facilitates utilising natural lightning because of its willowy and elongated design. The porthole-shaped windows represent aquatic themes, and the metal work depicts the Roman god Neptune.

The interior design of the building portrays prohibition-era modernism, specifically in Tavern Club. This club is historically essential to serve regular members like Frank Lloyd Wright, Carl Sandburg, and William Wrigley.

14. Oak Street Beach

Landmarks of Chicago

Oak Street Beach is the best beach in the city, with crystal clear water and white sand. It is closest to Magnificent Mile, equipped with reasonable amenities, like swimming, chair, and bike rentals.  

If you’re visiting Chicago during summer or autumn and are interested in surfing, then the beach is reserved for swimming and surfing during peak hours. 

This is certainly one of the most beautiful landmarks of Chicago and is famous for surfing, bodyboarding, scuba, snorkelling, kayaking, and stand-up paddling. It hosts several professional and trainee volleyball tournaments throughout the season.

15. The Chicago Theatre

Landmarks of Chicago

Explore the iconic venue, The Chicago theatre, in the city’s heart. It is a hub for exploring concerts, magic plays, and stand-up comedies. When entering, you’ll encounter a majestic entrance with intricate designs and a grand staircase.

The theatre facilitates patrons exploring backstage scenes for educational purposes a few times a week. The auditorium has seven stories to accommodate a maximum of 3600 people at a time. The thing which distinguishes it from others is the vertical style “C-H-I-C-A-G-O” sign representing the symbol of the City of Chicago.

16. Jane Addams Hull-House Museum

Landmarks of Chicago

Credit: https://openhousechicago.org/

Jane Addams Hull-House Museum is a memorial site in remembrance of Jane Adams; the first American woman awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. It is well-known for conducting educational exhibitions and public programs to highlight the history of activism.

The museum is located in two of the original buildings-the Hull House. It permanently exhibits the newly constructed hull house model, Miss Adam’s bedroom, and photographer Wallace Kirkland’s gallery.

17. Inland Steel Building

Landmarks of Chicago

Credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/

One of the contemporary structures constructed in Chicago’s downtown following the Great Depression is the Inland Steel Building. The Inland Steel Building was thought to be avant-garde at the time of its completion in 1958.

Explore the exterior and interior of this iconic, fantastic masterpiece and know the stories behind this epochal structure. It is recognized as Chicago’s entry into the era of modern architecture that started to dominate post-World War II. It is one of the most famous mid-century tourist-destination in Chicago.

18. Frank Llyod Wright’s Robie House

Landmarks of Chicago

At the university of Chicago, a masterpiece you can easily find is the Robie House, regarded as one of the paramount structures of the United States of America.

It has been considered a national landmark of Chicago since 1963. The definitive version of the Prairie style was constructed between 1908 and 1910 for business person Frederick C. Robie by architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

One of the most notable features of Prairie-style homes is their use of art glass windows, which fuse interior and exterior spaces through their soft filtration of light. Visitors will get first-hand experience of its amazingly contemporary spaces.

19. Oriental Institute Museum

Landmarks of Chicago

Credit: https://www.atlasobscura.com/

The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago is a dominant research center for the ancient Middle East. The Oriental Institute Museum aims to be the leading Center in the world for understanding, revealing, and protecting ancient Middle Eastern civilizations.

You can experience world-renowned artifacts, photographs, publications, and drawings from Mesopotamia, Turkey, Egypt, Assyria, Israel, and more. The museum invites you to visit and learn about the beginnings of our lives as humans.

20. The Rookery Building

Landmarks of Chicago

One of the best architectural masterpieces, The Rookery Building, is a historic office building. It was designed by two famous architects, Daniel Burnham and John Root, in 1888. The building is praiseworthy due to the oldest standing high-rise with 181ft height.

Upon visiting, you can easily recognize the Roman revival and Queen Anne-style facade with the transition to modern architecture. The building was named “Rookers” because of the pigeons surrounding its exterior. 

Landmarks of Chicago- Conclusion

Chicago is among the 3rd most prominent cities in the U.S., famous for its great attractions to see and experience. So make sure to hit all of Chicago’s Iconic attractions if you are here for the first time.

This list of landmarks of Chicago demonstrates what makes Chicago unique. Many more are waiting to be discovered as the city is full of surprises and charms. You will discover more attractive and impressive sights in Chicago when you explore it on your own.

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