9 Must See Tourist Attractions in Chicago

Top spots include Buckingham Fountain, President Obama's home & others

View of N State street with the sign of the Chicago Theatre
Massimo Borchi/Atlantide Phototravel / Getty Images

Chicago boasts a large number of tourist attractions, but there is undoubtedly a select handful that is by far the most popular with visitors. Here are some of the most significant tourist destinations in the Windy City, which range from Lincoln Park Zoo to President Obama's Hyde Park home. --edited by Chicago Travel Expert Audarshia Townsend

01 of 09

Buckingham Fountain

Buckingham Fountain in Chicago, Illinois
Andre Gallant/The Image Bank/Getty Images
Address
301 S Columbus Dr, Chicago, IL 60605, USA
Phone
+1 312-742-7529

Opened May 26, 192 7, the Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park is one of Chicago's most recognizable landmarks, and its hourly water show in the summer is fun for young and old. Donated to the city by Kate Buckingham, the Buckingham Fountain is Chicago's centerpiece along the Lake Michigan shore and is a popular destination spot for visitors and locals alike. Made out of gorgeous pink Georgia marble, the real attraction of the fountain is the water, light, and music show that takes place every hour. Controlled by a computer in its underground pump room, it's a dazzling display that makes for a fantastic photo opportunity and a picture perfect background--which is why you'll inevitably see a wedding party having portraits taken there during milder weather.

02 of 09

Hancock Observatory

Hancock Tower
Getty Images
Address
875 N Michigan Avenue, 94th Floor, Chicago, IL 60611, USA
Phone
+1 888-875-8439

The 360 Chicago observatory in may not be as high as the Willis Tower Skydeck, but at 1,000 feet up the view of Chicago is still breathtaking. It also has the added bonus of being able to enjoy a cocktail at the Signature Room on the 95th floor.

03 of 09

Lincoln Park Zoo

Meerkats at Lincoln Park Zoo
  Ken Ilio/Getty Images
Address
2001 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614, USA
Phone
+1 312-742-2000

Nestled among lagoons and mature trees, Lincoln Park Zoo is one of the most beautiful in the country, featuring historical architecture and world-class wildlife exhibits. It's easy to spend an entire day at this tranquil, intimate destination and forget that the bustling city of Chicago is right beyond its boundaries. Open 365 days a year with free admission to all, the Lincoln Park Zoo is a premier Chicago attraction.

04 of 09

Millennium Park

Cloud Gate in Millennium Park at Sunrise, Chicago
  roman_slavik/Getty Images 
Address
201 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60602, USA
Phone
+1 312-742-1168

Millennium Park is now one of the highlights of the city and rivals the Lincoln Park Zoo as Chicago's best free attraction. The Bean (officially known as Cloud Gate) is quickly on its way to becoming Chicago's most recognizable icon. It is located on the east side of downtown, bordered on the west by Michigan Avenue, on the east by Columbus Drive, on the north by Randolph Street, and on the south by Monroe Street. Primary Chicago public transportation to the park is either the Michigan Avenue CTA bus #151 or the Red Line subway train, Randolph stop. Admission to Millennium Park is free and is open daily from 6 a.m.-11 p.m.

Continue to 5 of 9 below.
05 of 09

Navy Pier

Navy Pier at Lake Michigan
  Westend61/Getty Images 
Address
Navy Pier, 600 E Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60611, USA

Originally a shipping and recreational facility, Navy Pier has a rich history and has evolved into one of the most popular spots for people visiting Chicago. Navy Pier is separated into these areas: Gateway Park, Family Pavilion, South Arcade, Navy Pier Park and Festival Hall.

06 of 09

President Obama's Home

Address
5046 S Greenwood Ave, Chicago, IL 60615, USA

The Obamas' home address is 5046 S. Greenwood Ave., and it's located in Hyde Park on the South Side. It's also about a five-minute drive to the Museum of Science and Industry.

07 of 09

Shedd Aquarium

Shedd Aquarium
Shedd Aquarium/Brenna Hernandez
Address
1200 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60605, USA
Phone
+1 312-939-2438

With almost two million visitors a year, the Shedd Aquarium easily qualifies as one of Chicago's most popular attractions. And rightly so -- it's one of the premier aquariums in the country. A word to the wise: get there early, or you may be greeted with a long line snaking out the door and all the way down the aquarium's steps. Shedd Aquarium is part of Chicago's Museum Campus.

08 of 09

Willis Tower Skydeck

Willis Tower Skydeck
  Page Light Studios/Getty Images 
Address
Willis Tower Skydeck, Chicago, IL 60606, USA

Soaring at 110 stories tall, the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) is the tallest building in North America and remains a huge tourist attraction, namely due to the Sears Tower Skydeck observatory offering a view of Chicago at 1,353 feet (412 meters).

Continue to 9 of 9 below.
09 of 09

Wrigley Field

Game Day at Wrigley
Bruce Leighty / Getty Images
Address
1060 W Addison St, Chicago, IL 60613, USA
Phone
+1 773-404-2827

Games at Wrigley Field consistently sell out; it's home of the Chicago Cubs. Fans and tourists come to soak in the history of the United States' second oldest ballpark and enjoy the party atmosphere of the crowd, especially in the bleacher seats.

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9 Must See Tourist Attractions in Chicago