Welcome to MetroGuide Networks' overview of Chicago-area attractions. The Greater Chicago
area is full of attractions for all ages. First called the Windy City in 1893 by a New York newspaper editor sick of long-winded
Chicago politicians boasting over wonders of the World's Columbian Exposition staged in the city that same year, Chicago has plenty
more to brag about besides the first Ferris Wheel debuting at the Exposition. Among other firsts, Chicago claims fame to producing
the earliest steel frame skyscraper, Pullman rail car, cafeteria, co-educational public high school, bifocal contact lens, along with
Cracker Jacks and Schwinn Bicycles. Hugh Hefner started Playboy magazine here. Other bragging points for this city along Lake Michigan's
southwest shore include Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower), stretching 110 floors skyward, the Merchandise Mart as the world's largest commercial building,
and McCormick Place as the largest convention center with 2.2 million square feet.
Below is a list of some suggested things to do in the Chicago Metropolitan Area,
with links to more details when available.
- Adler Planetarium
- Opened in 1930 as the first planetarium in the western hemisphere, additions to the Adler within the past decade include a theater and restaurant.
1300 South Lake Shore Drive. Call (312) 922-7827 for more information.
- Aerial Tours of Chicago
- Tours offered by Midway Aviators, Inc. flight school depart from the executive terminal of Chicago Midway Airport and feature the shore of Lake Michigan and a unique view of the Chicago skyline from 3,000 feet.
4943 West 63rd Street (Chicago Midway Airport). Call (773) 767-8100 for more information.
- Amoco Building
- Formerly known as the Standard Oil Building, the Amoco Building stands as the city's second tallest structure after the Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) and is most effectively viewed from a distance.
200 East Randolph Street.
- Art Institute of Chicago
- Here you'll find Grant Wood's American Gothic, Picasso's The Old Guitarist and a spectacular collection of Impressionist and post Impressionist works by Monet, Renoir, and Gaugin among other celebrated artists.
South Michigan Avenue and Adams Street. Call (312) 443-3600 for more information.
- Billy Goat Tavern
- North of the Wrigley building on Michigan Avenue under the Chicago Tribune lies the Billy Goat Tavern, for nearly 40 years inviting patrons to butt in anytime while issuing “enter at your own risk” warnings. The Billy Goat (with its Cheezeborger! Cheezeborger! menu made all the more famous by Saturday Night Live's John Belushi) is also linked to what's known as the “Curse of the Billy Goat.” In a roundabout way, the curse helps explain why the Chicago Cubs haven't won a World Series since 1908. Call (312) 222-1525 for more information.
- Bobby's Bike Hike
- As one of America's top bicycling cities, Chicago is prime for bike tours. Bobby's Bike Hike features fun-loving guides leisurely escorting all ages and fitness levels to downtown attractions. Tours run April 1 through Oct. 31, with bikes, helmets and guides included in tour prices. Call (312) 915-0995 for more information.
- Chicago Board of Trade
- Don't miss the gilded statue of Ceres, Roman goddess of agriculture, atop this Art Deco building at the foot of LaSalle Street designed in 1930 by Holabird and Root. Unfolding within is frenetic pit trading for corn, wheat, soybeans, oil, government bonds, and more. The observation deck has been closed since 9/11/2001.
141 West Jackson Street.
- Chicago Children's Museum
- At this 57,000 square-foot facility, you will find a kid-sized neighborhood complete with a bakery, service station, and construction site, plus science exhibits on topics such as inventing, and a whole lot more.
Navy Pier, 700 Grand Avenue. Call (312) 527-1000 for more information.
- Field Museum
- Explore cultures and environments from around the world within six acres of exhibits at this world-class facility originally funded by retailer Marshall Field.
Lake Shore Drive and East Roosevelt Road. Call (312) 922-9410 for more information.
- The Loop
- Known as the Loop since cable car days of the late 1800s, Chicago's downtown serves as a vibrant architectural museum where you can wander past modern towers adjacent to 19th century structures, shop at huge department stores surviving the malling of America, and visit world-renowned museums. Noisily looping the loop overhead, you will encounter the train called the El.
- Macy's on State Street (formerly Marshall Field's)
- Beckoning shoppers are more than 500 departments at the original site of Chicago's famed department store chain. The huge emporium, designed by D.H. Burnham & Company and built between 1892 and 1907, has an eye-popping Tiffany dome in the southwest corner near State and Washington streets. There is also a landmark clock outside the entrance at State and Randolph streets.
111 North State Street.
- Magnificent Mile
- Magnificent Mile, a stretch of Michigan Avenue between the Chicago River and Oak Street, is so named because of upscale shops lining the street. Anchoring the south end is the illuminated Wrigley Building, headquarters for the chewing gum enterprise. To the east, you will find affluent Streeterville, once a landfill run by the notorious Cap Streeter. Cap's shanty has been replaced by the towering John Hancock Center.
- Merchandise Mart
- With more square footage (4.2 million) than any building in the nation except the Pentagon, this mart owned by the famed Kennedy family has more than 600 permanent wholesale showrooms. Tours are available.
Call (312) 527-7600 for more information.
- Museum of Science and Industry
- At this sprawling exhibit powerhouse, you can walk through a replica of a human heart, explore a WWII German submarine or sample perfect acoustics at the Whispering Gallery. The museum also has the world's first permanent exhibit on AIDS and HIV.
5700 South Lake Shore Drive. Call (773) 684-1414 for more information.
- Shedd Aquarium
- John G. Shedd Aquarium, the world's largest, boasts underwater viewing areas for dolphins and whales along with exhibits for river otters, electric eels, piranhas, and scores of other aquatic wonders.
1200 South Lake Shore Drive. Call (312) 939-2426 for more information.
- Tribune Tower
- Home of the Chicago Tribune, Tribune Tower's exterior walls are embedded with pieces of famed buildings far from the Windy City, including authentic stones from Westminster Abbey, the Alamo, Hamlet's Castle, the Great Pyramid, the Taj Mahal, Fort Sumter and the Arc de Triomphe.
- Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower)
- Once the world's tallest building (now edged out by another in Malaysia), the 110-story Willis Tower continues to impress with its steel frame covered in black aluminum and bronze-tinted glass. On clear days, you can see Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin from the 103rd floor Skydeck open 365 days.
233 South Wacker Drive. Call (312) 875-9696 for more information.