Even after living in Chicago for almost seven years, there is still something so fun about going to the classic Chicago tourist sites. I love when family or visitors come and we have the excuse to re-visit a beloved Chicago landmark. Here is a collection of our favorite touristy spots to visit!
WILLIS TOWER ft. SKYDECK CHICAGO + THE LEDGE & the COLOR FACTORY
Known to many as Chicago’s beloved Sears Tower, the now named Willis Tower is Chicago’s tallest building and once held the title as the world’s tallest building for almost 25 years. The lobby was recently renovated and now is home to an Urbanspace Food Hall. It is also home to tenants such as United Airlines. Within Willis Tower, tourists can find several iconic Chicago places to visit including the recently remodeled Skydeck Chicago. Skydeck Chicago begins with a new, interactive experience that shares all of Chciago’s best history and facts before taking you up the 103 floors to the Skydeck. The Skydeck gives 360 degree views of the city and features THE LEDGE— glass boxes extending from the Skydeck to give you a view of the 1,353 feet below you. This is a one-of-a-kind experience I cannot recommend enough.
Another attraction to visit while in Willis Tower is The Color Factory! Newly opened in 2022, Color Factory is an interactive art museum located in the lower level of Willis Tower where guests go to experience the joy of colors throughout the museum’s creative installments that were curated and inspired by Chicago! It is a fun experience for any age full of colors, sounds, and happiness!
875 NORTH MICHIGAN AVENUE ft. 360 CHICAGO & the TILT
Formerly the John Hancock Center, 875 N Michigan Ave is home to shops, wonderful dining like the Signature Room & Cheesecake Factory, offices & residences, and the amazing views of the 360 Chicago Observation Deck. Home to 360 degree views of Chicago and Lake Michigan, the observation deck is 94 floors up and features a thrilling attraction called TILT. TILT leans you out 1000 feet above the ground below— it isn’t for the faint of heart, but it’s an unbeatable experience. 360 Chicago also has a bar and several areas to sit and relax.
Navy Pier, the longest pier in the world at the time of its completion in 1916, has had many purposes throughout its time, from a military training center during the World Wars to a municipal pier for shipping. It is now home to some of Chicago’s most popular tourist attractions, including the famous Centennial Wheel. The pier is the location of the Chicago Children’s Museum, numerous restaurants and shops, the Shakespeare Theater, event and expo space, and several site-seeing expeditions that take you out onto Lake Michigan. It’s also a great place to simply walk and people watch.
Millenium Park is one of Chicago’s most loved lakefront parks. Located in the heart of downtown, it is home to the iconic Cloud Gate aka ”the bean,” as well as the Crown Fountain, Jay Pritzker Pavillion, and the stunning Lurie Garden. It is also connected to two of Chicago’s other favorite parks— Grant Park and Maggie Daley Park. You could spend all day explore the park— it even has a square with a restaurant and cafe.
The Chicago Riverwalk is a 1.25 mile path that has been under development for many years! It is home to six different coves, each offering different landscapes and activities. You can grab a drink or meal at one of the riverside bars or restaurants, go kayaking, or even take an architecture boat tour right from the path. It is one of my favorite areas of the city where you can enjoy the energy of the city next to the beauty of the Chicago River.