20 Must Visit Fall Attractions in Chicago
Chicago, often called the “Windy City”, lies along the shores of Lake Michigan. Chicago is known for its interesting architecture, numerous cultural attractions, and vibrant arts scene. Chicago enjoys a worldwide reputation as a focal point of 20th century architecture and art.
Artists like Chagall, Picasso, Mirõ, and Dubuffet and architects like Frank Lloyd Wright, and as Louis Sullivan left their mark on the city landscape. The city also has beautiful beaches. The city is one of the biggest tourist destinations in the United States. But in such a gigantic city, it can be tough for visitors to know what’s really worth visiting during the fall. We have outlined 20 must visit fall attractions in Chicago for your touring convenience!
20 Must Visit Fall Attractions In Chicago
- Art Institute of Chicago
This is a world class museum with more than 300,000 artworks. The diverse collection spans thousands of years and includes pieces from a variety of media including painting, prints, photography, sculpture, decorative arts, textiles, architectural drawings and more. The Art Institute of Chicago is known for its collection of impressionist and post-Impressionist paintings. You’ll find everything from Japanese prints to ancient Greek sculptures in this institute.
Art Institute of Chicago main building was designed by Shepley, Rutan, and Coolidge in beaux-arts style, it was built for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. Today, the complex measures 400,000 square feet as several other buildings have been added on over the years.
- Millennium Park
This is located in downtown Chicago. The tourist attraction of Millennium Park include the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, a flowing Frank Gehry-designed structure that hosts some of the city’s biggest outdoor festivals and concerts; the interactive Crown Fountain; Lurie Garden; and the Cloud Gate sculpture on the AT&T Plaza.
Millennium Park is built over 24.5-acre and it is one of the most popular gathering spots in the city, known for its free concerts, famous public art installations and it is located close to many of the major attractions, as well as great shopping.
- Michigan Avenue
This is probably one of the most attractive boulevards in America. The city’s famous Magnificent Mile is a section of Michigan Avenue north of the Chicago River, with numerous galleries, boutiques and luxury shops. Some of the attractions along here include the John Hancock Center, the Wrigley Building, and the Tribune Tower. Michigan Avenue splits between North and South designations at Madison Street.
- Navy Pier
This tourist attraction was originally opened in 1916 as an amusement area and shipping facility but is now one of Chicago’s most popular tourist attractions. Today, the Navy Pier is made up of 50 acres of gardens, attractions, shops, restaurants, concert venues, and parks. There is a 200 ft Ferris wheel and an historic carousel in Navy Pier Park. Visitors can also watch a film at the 3D Imax Theater. Visit Crystal Gardens, a one-acre, six-story, indoor botanical garden. Also located here is the Chicago Children’s Museum. You can also visit The Shakespeare Theater, a seven-story, glass curtain-walled theater which houses a 500 seat courtyard theater and a 200 seat flexible black box theater.
- Museum of Science and Industry
The Museum of Science and Industry was founded in 1933, and it is one of the most impressive museums in Chicago. It is devoted to the application of natural laws in technological and industrial development. The museum is thought to be the first in the U.S. to incorporate the idea of “hands-on” exhibits. The Museum of Science and Industry features permanent and changing exhibits, as well as an OMNIMAX theater.
You can enter a confounding mirror maze in the “Numbers in Nature” exhibit, step into a simulated tornado in “Science Storms” or see a gigantic, restored U-505 German submarine. There’s also the five-story Giant Dome Theater, where you can kick back and immerse yourself in a handful of larger-than-life-movies.
- Field Museum of Natural History
This was originally called the Columbian Museum of Chicago; the Field Museum of Natural History was founded in 1893 to showcase the biological and anthropological collections gathered for the World Columbian Exposition. The name changed in 1905 to honor Marshall Field, the department store owner, art patron, and major benefactor of the museum. Field Museum of Natural History collection features approximately 20 million artifacts and specimens covering a variety of disciplines including geology, botany, zoology and anthropology. Of special note are the permanent displays on Ancient Egypt and the cultures of North, Central and South America and “Sue,” the world’s largest, most complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton. Special rotating exhibits take place on a regular basis throughout the year.
- Willis Tower SkyDeck
The 110 story Sears Tower, now Willis Tower, was the world’s tallest office block until 1996 when the Petronas Towers were built in Kuala Lumpur. While there are now several taller buildings, the view from Willis Tower is incredible. On a clear day you can up to 50 miles over four states, and have access to a bird’s eye view of Chicago’s beautiful architecture.
The Willis Tower was built over three years and was opened in 1974. The building is 1,453 feet tall with an observation area, called the SkyDeck, on the 103rd floor, 1,353 feet above the ground. A glass box with a glass floor, known as the Ledge, juts out from the SkyDeck, where visitors can stand and look directly down at the city below.
- Lincoln Park
Lincoln Park is a 35-acre of green space along the edge of Lake Michigan, and Chicago’s biggest park. This popular park has both the Lincoln Park Conservatory and the Lincoln Park Zoo, one of the oldest zoos in the country. Lincoln Park Zoo has about 1,200 animals—from apes to zebras to flamingo and it is one of the last free zoos in America.
Also located here are the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, and the Chicago History Museum. For those who simply want to enjoy the outdoor space there are playing fields, bike trails, jogging paths, and beaches. Visitors can see a number of significant statues and pieces of public art within the park grounds including Augustus Saint Gaudens’ Standing Statue of Lincoln (1887).
- Garfield Park Conservatory
When it was opened in 1908, it was described as “landscape art under glass”. It is one of the largest conservatories in the world and it also boasts revolutionary architecture. Garfield Park Conservatory building has an haystack shape and walls of stratified stonework. The conservatory covers 1.6 acres of land; it has about 120,000 plants which represent some 600 species. It has four times a year flower shows premiere to herald the change in seasons.
- The Field Museum
The Field Museum houses biological and anthropological collections. It was founded during the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893; The Field Museum is still one of Chicago’s most beloved institutions. It has more than 350,000 square feet of permanent exhibitions to explore with thousands of artifacts on display.
- Chicago Riverwalk
Chicago Riverwalk gives you access to have breathtaking views of some of Chicago’s most gorgeous architecture, you can stroll along the Riverwalk, which hugs the main branch of the Chicago River and provides a continuous walkway with restaurants, bars and urban attractions at every turn. Clever design features throughout offer areas to lounge around and enjoy the city from a stellar angle.
- Shedd Aquarium
Shedd Aquarium is the best place to view the beautiful aquatic lives. The list of aquatic animals in Shedd Aquarium include piranhas, frogs and snakes of the Amazon; rays, turtles and moray eel of the Caribbean; frightening predator sharks, mesmerizing jellies, adorable penguins and marine mammals like sea lions and otters.
- National Museum of Mexican Art
National Museum of Mexican Art is one of the largest Latino cultural organizations in the U.S. it has more than 6,000-piece permanent collection, rotating exhibits, performing-arts showcases and educational programming that represents an illustrious Mexican culture.
- Adler Planetarium
Adler Planetarium is located at the outermost tip of Museum Campus, the institution’s focus on out of this world experiences. Tourist attractions include “Mission Moon,” which documents the history of U.S. space exploration, and “The Universe: A Walk Through Time,” which posits theories on how the galaxy was started. You can also look through the telescope in the Doane Observatory or take in Chicago skyline views outside of the museum on Northerly Island.
- 360 Chicago
360 Chicago was initially called the John Hancock Observatory. It offers dining, sights and an interactive tour far above the Chicago streets. From 1,000 feet up on the 94th floor, you can see up to 55 miles out and four states. It also has Tilt attraction; this allows tourists to step onto an enclosed platform that extends from the building at a 30 degree angle.
- Music Box Theatre
The Music Box theatre is for movie lovers who don’t care for traditional Hollywood blockbusters. Music Box is a two-screen cinema that shows the latest art-house films and documentaries.
- Chicago History Museum
This is former stodgy ol’ Chicago Historical Society. It has thousands of archived photographs and curio. It also has several permanent and temporary exhibits, the largest of which is “Chicago: Crossroads of America,” a treasure trove of historical objects, including a chunk of the original Fort Dearborn. Other exhibits include “Sensing Chicago” (kids swarm around the giant Chicago hot dog) and revolving displays showing off one of the world’s largest costume collections.
- Humboldt Park
Humboldt Park was designed in the mid-1800s by William Le Baron Jenney and the park was enhanced by Jens Jensen several years later. This is one of the greatest public parks in America. Humboldt Park has acres of Prairie-style gardens, grazing animals and a meandering river scene. The park also offers extensive rose beds as well as tennis courts, an inland beach, baseball fields and bike paths.
- The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
From prairie and river ecosystems to the biology of Ice Age–mammals, nature and its conservation, the focus at this Lincoln Park museum situated alongside a lagoon is vast and varied. Hands-on interactive displays on marsh and river ecosystems engage kids, while the thousand fluttering beauties of the 2,700-square-foot Judy Istock Butterfly Haven appeal to all ages.
- Lyric Opera of Chicago
From October to March of every year The Lyric Opera of Chicago offers a full opera season with well-known classics. The Lyric Opera of Chicago started in 1954 and is today world-renowned.