Whenever you visit a big city, be it within your home country or abroad, you are bound to be bombarded with advice on where to go and what to see. Some of these tips can actually be useful, but others will lead you on wild goose chases that are nothing more than exercises in boredom. If you are visiting a city for the first time, then you are probably keen to check out the bigger, more famous sites, but as your visits become more frequent, the hunt for the real underbelly of any city takes over. Obviously your more bohemian, hipster traveller is going to want to tap into the underground from the second they set foot in the city, but for most of us, a pleasant balance between big attractions and hidden gems is ideal. If you are heading to Chicago and you are not quite sure where to go, then you’ve come to the right place! Here you will find a balanced list between must-sees that you can find on the map, and those that are well-kept secrets, closely guarded by the locals but indicative of the real Chi Town. Hopefully there is something for everyone to be found on this list!
Despite the name, Navy Pier is not a monument to the naval forces of the United States, but serves more as a mixture between tourist hub and children’s paradise. Think of Brighton Pier combined with Disneyland and a mall, but with stunning lake views. Navy Pier is an absolute must see on your visit to Chicago, because it offers thrilling water tours, great views, awesome food, carnival rides for the adventurous, a children’s museum, restaurants, entertainment, and so on. It is an iconic site that has been made into an absolute wonderland by the local authorities. You have to see it to believe it!
Chicago Cultural Centre
This is a site on the opposite end of the spectrum to the razzle dazzle, noise, and excitement of Navy Pier. It is an oft repeated saying that you cannot know who you are unless you know where you come from, and tracing the history and development of any modern city will give you unique insight into the heart and soul of its modern manifestation. It is for this very reason that the Chicago Cultural Centre is mentioned here. Chicago is the home of gospel, jazz, blues, hip hop and more aggressive alternative music, and hosts an incredible underground scene. Located in a historic building, this homage to American art and culture remains the heartbeat of a truly inspiring city.
The final must see in Chicago is the Millennium Park, another major tourist attraction that is large enough to warrant a business purely for its enormity, but small enough to give you undiscovered experiences. From the world’s largest rooftop garden, to the visually challenging Cloud Gate, to the fountains and concert venues, this is a one of a kind monument.
This guest post is brought to you by freelance writer Victoria Heckstall on behalf of the Go There Guide.