9 Must See Tourist Attractions in Chicago

Top Spots Include Buckingham Fountain, President Obama's Home & Others

Chicago boasts a large number of tourist attractions, but there are undoubtedly a select handful that are 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 IN CHICAGO, ILLINOIS
    ••• Andre Gallant/The Image Bank/Getty Images

    Opened May 26, 1927, 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

    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
    ••• Photo courtesy of Brookfield Zoo

    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 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
    ••• Photo courtesy of Navy Pier

    Originally a shipping and recreational facility, Navy Pier has a rich history and has evolved into one of the most popular spot 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
    Barack Obama house in Chicago
    ••• Barack Obama house in Chicago. Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

    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/Brenna Hernandez

    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 Chicago

    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

    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.