Chicago is a happening kind of town. It is known as the Windy City, and rightfully so! I hear that the wind never stops, and can even carry a person right in to Wisconsin if they aren’t careful! I’ve always been lucky to not have my clothes blown away while I was visiting the city. That wouldn’t be a sight to see. However, Joe sent the following list of places you should see if you find yourself wandering around Chicago.
- The Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum – The Planetarium has a wonderful view of Chicago’s skyline, and is located on Lake Michigan. The Adler Planetarium is known as America’s first planetarium.You can experience the all-digital StarRider Theater, which is 3 stories tall or the Sky Theater.
- Sears Tower Sky Deck – Even though the name has now changed, anyone native to Chicago still refers to the tallest building in North America as Sears Tower. There are touch computers in the multi-media elevator ride to the top. You can learn about Chicago’s history and view new displays. The Skydeck is open every day of the year, so you have plenty of time to plan your next trip.
- Navy Pier – Navy Pier is full of attractions, restaurants, shops and parks. It is a wonderful place for the entire family. You can jump on the giant Ferris Wheel, or start a game playing Navy Pier Adventure Golf. Also, enjoy the Navy Pier Ropes Course – an obstacle course with four platforms and twelve activities between each platform.
- Medieval Times – Just northwest of Chicago, in the Hoffman Estates, is the magnificent Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament. You will be able to watch 11th century jousting tournaments while enjoying finger-licking good roasted chicken and barbecued ribs, or roasted veggies for the non-meat eaters. You will be divided up into different sections of the audience. Each section cheers for a different knight. The knights ride real Andalusion horses, and are dressed in exquisite costumes of the medieval time period. This event is a family favorite.
- ESPN Zone – If you like sports, then the ESPN Zone is the place for you. Take part in interactive sports that are played in the ESPN Zone such as Hoops Hysteria, MoCap Golf and NHL 2 Night. When you are finished playing, sit back and relax in the Screening Room, which contains a 16 foot screen surrounded by skybox suites. There are high-definition monitors placed throughout the entire ESPN Zone for watching all of the sporting events. There is also a wonderful American Grill dining selection, as well as a merchandise shop.
- Lincoln Park Zoo – Lincoln Park Zoo is one of the last free cultural institutions left in the United States, and it is open every day of the year. You can choose to get on rides such as the SBC Endangered Species Carousel, the swan boat, or the LPZOO Express train. Enjoy wonderful interactive exhibits and learn about all of the animals. There are a couple of gift shops, and many different dining options to choose from.
- Martini Ranch – If you are looking for a place to go after a long day just to relax and have fun, then the Martini Ranch should do the trick. You can get a drink (any kind of Martini imaginable), and also order some tasty appetizers such as chicken fingers, nachos, mozzarella sticks and potato skins. The Martini Ranch is popular and can get crowded sometimes – but it is worth it.
- Chicago Architecture Foundation – Learn about Chicago’s Architecture in the ArchiCenter. The ArchiCenter is open every day of the year with free admission. Be a part of interpretive exhibition and visit the ArchiCenter museum shop. From the center, you have access to 75 different tours.
- Shoreline Sightseeing Skyline Cruise – Take a tour of Chicago’s Skyline. This boat departs from Navy Pier, and continues to the Hancock Building, past the lighthouse and Sears Tower to the Field Museum, Adler Planetarium and the Shedd Aquarium. You can also choose to take night cruises. Often during the summer, the night cruises boast a beautiful view from the middle of Lake Michigan for the fireworks at Navy Pier.
- Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio – Visit Wright’s private residence and studio. His home was also his laboratory for architectural designs. There are available museum tours as well as walks that are self-guided audio tours. There are 25 of his buildings to view and learn about. Take part in the historical architecture.
I really like this list, as it lists several things that most people have never heard of. I prefer it this way. I don’t only want to visit the “famous” or “popular” attractions. I want the local flavor!