Chicago Visitor and Tourism Information
Chicago tourism is synonymous with spectacular theater, gourmet dining, world-class museums and great shopping. If you want to see exciting Broadway shows, enjoy international cuisine, soak up beautiful panoramas and shop ’til you drop, Chicago is definitely the place for you! Chicago tourism offers something for everyone – young and old.
See the best of Broadway right here in Chicago
Chicago tourism means a night on the town, with tickets to celebrated Broadway shows – from record-breaking musicals like WICKED and JERSEY BOYS to award-winning productions like PETER AND THE STARCATCHER and ONCE. Historic venues such as the Cadillac Palace Theatre, Oriental Theatre, the Bank of America Theatre, the Broadway Playhouse and the Auditorium Theatre underscore the longevity of Chicago as a center for theatre. Historically celebrated theater companies such as the Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Lookingglass Theatre Company and The Second City are world renowned for their exciting productions. Or, if you are feeling adventurous, explore Chicago’s neighborhoods for theater created by hundreds of other talented, engaging and risk-taking companies. Don’t forget to check out area institutions like the Lyric Opera, The Chicago Symphony and the hundreds of blues and jazz clubs throughout the city.
Find the perfect gift or souvenir at Chicago’s bustling department stores and chic designer boutiques
If shopping is your pleasure, Chicago tourism means a paradise of options. Shopping here means everything from small boutiques offering one-of-a-kind items to stores devoted to international designers. Check out the city’s quiet, tree-lined shopping neighborhoods as well as the pulsating downtown shopping districts for beautiful clothes, leather goods, hand-crafted jewelry, antiques, furniture and more. State Street – that great street – sits amidst Chicago’s Downtown Theater District creating the ideal day of shopping and entertainment. So whether you are looking for the prefect lithograph in a River North Gallery, a hand-painted silk scarf in Wicker Park or the latest designer suit in an historic downtown department store, when it comes to shopping, Chicago offers something for every taste and budget.
Enjoy international cuisine on any budget
Chicago means great food. Dine at four-star French restaurants or munch on a Chicago-style pizza or Italian beef. Choose from spicy Thai, sophisticated Mexican or simple burgers and fries. We have virtually hundreds of great restaurants serving Greek, Cantonese, Indian, Japanese, Vietnamese, Afghani, African, Turkish, Korean and vegetarian food. Visit China Town for great Dim Sum, Greek Town for flaming saganaki or Old Town for great steaks and folk music. The Downtown Theater District is home to some of the most dynamic and satisfying restaurants in the city, making your need to combine epicurean delights with unequaled entertainment easy to satisfy.
Attractions and cultural offerings will round out your visit
In the summer, enjoy scenic cruises on beautiful Lake Michigan or take the Chicago Architectural boat ride on the river. Don’t miss taking a spin on the Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier or taking in the view from the Hancock Observatory or DARE TO WALK ON AIR: The Skydeck experience is all new from the ground up. Discover the best of Chicago as you make your way up to the 103rd floor. The Ledge brings an exhilarating new experience to the top of Willis Tower. The Skydeck’s stunning views reaching up to 50 miles and four states attract well over 1 million annual guests from all over the world. Now The Ledge, four glass balconies extending four feet OUTSIDE the 103rd floor, is treating these guests to another unforgettable view of the city – straight down over Wacker Drive and the Chicago River!. Just steps away from the Downtown Theater District you will the city’s world famous public sculptures including the Picasso statue on Daley Plaza, Cloudgate (also known by locals as The Bean) in beautiful Millennium Park, Alexander Calder’s The Flamingo on Federal Center Plaza, Jean Dubuffet’s Standing Beast on the State of Illinois Building plaza and Chagall’s Four Seasons mosaic on Chase Plaza.
Take an Absolutely Chicago Segway Tour, and let the wheels do the walking as you effortlessly glide through the fragrant garden rooms of Grant and Millennium Parks. Enjoy amazing views of Chicago’s popular sites: Buckingham Fountain, “the Bean”, Soldier Field, the Museum Campus, Navy Pier, and Lake Michigan harbors and beaches. Savor the memories with the many photo opportunities along the way, or for something completely different, experience Chicago at night on the evening Fireworks Tour. View Buckingham Fountain’s evening light show with the illuminated skyline as a backdrop, or glide along the lakefront to a secret spot for viewing Navy Pier’s Fireworks display two days per week. It’s difficult to decide which is more spectacular — the fireworks or the Chicago skyline in its evening splendor!
For more cultural immersion, the city boasts some of the best museums in the world. Check out the 1944 German submarine – the U-505 – at the Museum of Science and Industry. See the world’s largest and most complete T. rex, Sue, at the Field Museum. On the same museum campus you will also find dolphins and sharks at the Shedd Aquarium, and all the mysteries of the skies at the Adler Planetarium. If art is your thing, you can visit the French Impressionist Gallery at the Art Institute, home to one of the largest collections of Impressionist art outside of Paris. Just up Michigan Avenue from the Art Institute you will find the Museum of Contemporary Art, a state of the art museum focusing on surrealism, minimalism, conceptual photography and work by area based artists.
Find what you want to see easily.
Thanks to the city’s convenient public transportation system, it couldn’t be easier to get from one unique neighborhood to another, from one outstanding cultural experience to another. Public trains and buses run regularly and you can find cabs on virtually every street corner. All of the public transportation systems will lead you to the Downtown Theater District
Entertainment in Chicago
Chicago Entertainment starts with fabulous theatre. In the Windy City, you can see everything from the latest Broadway hits to the most avant-garde local productions. But, theater is just the beginning. There’s something to do for everyone from first thing in the morning to the latest hours of the night.
Shopping options abound in Chicago.
Serious shoppers love Chicago for its incredible range of major department stores, chic designer shops and funky fun neighborhood boutiques. Best of all, you can experience the full range all in one day. Start by shopping your way through the neighborhood boutiques of Old Town and Lincoln Park. Then simply catch a bus, train or cab to Michigan Avenue’s designer shops. Wrap up your spree on State Street where great shopping meets great entertainment in the Downtown Theater District, and reward yourself for a job well shopped by taking in a spectacular Broadway show.
If filling up your brain along with your shopping bags is your idea of Chicago Entertainment, you can pick up great “wish you were here” gifts for friends at the unique shops in the city’s many world famous museums.
The Field Museum of Natural History, located just south of Grant Park features “Sue”, the world’s largest, most complete, and best-preserved T-Rex. On the same museum campus, you’ll also find the Adler Planetarium and the Shedd Aquarium. Another must see on your Chicago Entertainment museum tour is the Museum of Science and Industry, the oldest and most visited science museum of its kind in the western hemisphere. And, don’t forget the Art Institute of Chicago with its famous lions at the front entrance.
Go to the top!
This city was built to impress residents and visitors alike! So, make sure your Chicago Entertainment tour includes a stroll atop some of the world’s tallest buildings!
A visit to the Chicago Skydeck at Willis Tower is at the top of everyone’s list of quintessential Chicago Entertainment. Standing at 412 meters and 110 stories high, it is the tallest building in North America and offers spectacular views of four states!
While the shoppers in your group are at the Water Tower Place Mall, you can go right next door to the John Hancock Center and visit the Hancock Observatory. This 100-story structure with it’s huge X-braces is the city’s third tallest building and one of its most recognizable landmarks. After returning from the top of the Hancock, meet your group back at the Water Tower Place Mall and take in a performance at the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place.
Enjoy the lakeshore
A walk by the lake is always a pleasurable outing. If you want a more unique experience, however, take a Segway tour. Tours begin with professional training and provide several Chicago skyline photo stops as you glide around Millennium Park, through Daley Bicentennial Plaza, and southbound along Chicago’s Lakefront Path — all the way to the Museum Campus!
Millennium Park is one of Chicago’s most popular tourist destinations. An award-winning center for art, music, architecture and landscape design, Millennium Park is the result of a unique partnership between the City of Chicago and the philanthropic community. The 24.5-acre park features the work of world-renowned architects, planners, artists and designers. Highlights include the Frank Gehry-designed Jay Pritzker Pavilion, the most sophisticated outdoor concert venue of its kind in the United States; the interactive Crown Fountain; the contemporary Lurie Garden; and Anish Kapoor’s hugely popular Cloud Gate sculpture, also known at The Bean.
Self-guided walking tours are abundant downtown. You can download mp3 files and enjoy walking tours highlighting the city’s unprecedented architecture and Millennium Park. You can also enjoy the Loop walking tours with mp3 files on landmarks, theaters or public art.
Start your evening with a meal to remember
The Windy City has become well known for innovative dining. Rated the “Top Food City” by Condé Nast Traveller (UK) and hailed as “One of the Best Food Cities in America” by Food & Wine/AOL, it’s easy to experience the work of the world’s best chefs during your visit.
Iconic and innovative restaurants thrive in the Downtown Theater District. Each eatery offers unique cuisine and atmosphere, allowing you to set just the right tone for you night of Broadway’s best theater. We have a wonderful array of restaurant partners located steps away from our stages. Our partners include Catch 35, The Great Street Restaurant, Italian Village Restaurants, Lockwood Restaurant & Bar, Petterino’s, Mity Nice, Francesca’s on Chestnut, Hard Rock Café, IPO and State & Lake.
If your post-dining tastes lean more toward music, you should have little problem finding plenty to do in the Blues Capital of the World, located near Ontario Street’s “restaurant row.” You can catch blues legends and yet-to-be-discovered artists in this safe, friendly club. In addition, Kingston Mines, located in Lincoln Park, is considered to be the best club in which to find Blues by local enthusiasts. Two bands on two stages provide continuous music seven nights a week. If you prefer your music to be something more romantic, head to Pops for Champagne. Here, veteran jazz pianists play to couples who are sipping champagne by firelight.
After a wonderful day in the city you will want to relax and rejuvenate at one of our exclusive hotel partners. Every taste and budget will be accommodated at one of these outstanding hotels: The Hampton Majestic, Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton Hotel, theWit Hotel and the Renaissance Hotel.