Answers from Our Experts (2)
Whether recommending the best Chicago sights to a Chi-Town neophyte or to a City of Big Shoulders regular, my short list of don’t-miss attractions would commence with a visit to the Art Institute of Chicago. The Art Institute is Chicago’s principal museum of art with an Impressionism collection that is rivaled only by the Louvre.
What’s more, the museum’s Modern Wing addition is shockingly beautiful with regard to its … contemporary art collection but also with its magnificent architecture. The Renzo Piano-designed Modern Wing is smart, stunning and pays homage to its creator with the restaurant Terzo Piano on, of course, its third floor. Coupled with a visit to Millennium Park—the city’s $500 million renovation to the northwest corner of Grant Park—the Art Institute is not to be missed.
True Chicagoans will point to the Sears Tower, renamed Willis Tower in 2009. Ride to the top of this iconic building and, if you’re feeling brave, step out onto the SkyDeck, with a glass-floor view from 1,353 feet.
Downtown, British artist Anish Kapoor’s Cloudgate (which locals often refer to simply as “The Bean”) draws visitors like a magnet, luring them to Millennium Park. The park, which is seen as Chicago’s front yard, is packed with other sights, too, like the Frank Gehry–designed Pritzker Pavilion amphitheater, which hosts free concerts on most summer evenings.
Just north of downtown, lush Lincoln Park sprawls along the lakefront connecting the Magnificent Mile to Chicago’s near-north neighborhoods. Lincoln Park Zoo is a great destination for children—and anyone, really—but my favorite site is the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool, tucked into a corner of this iconic park.