Things to do in Chicago

Chicago just may be my favorite city in the world. I grew up in the ‘burbs and moved to the city after college. It’s where I rented my first apartment and lived by myself, where I made countless questionable decisions, where I met and fell in love with Tim, where I had my first baby, where I made tons of great friends… I have a lot of memories in the Windy City! Now that I’m in Seattle, there are certain things about Chicago that stand out as things I miss and would highly recommend to visitors, or residents, of Chi-town. People are always asking me about things to do in Chicago, so…

Here’s my list.

Things To Do In Chicago

If you’re looking…

+ for the best and most irreverent, enthusiastic yoga class go to Bare Feet Power Yoga
+ to laugh and laugh and laugh see improv at The Second City
+ for deep dish pizza go to Lou Malnatis **
+ to drink a lot go to any bar on Hubbard St or in Wrigleyville
+ for cornbread go to Bandera
+ to see dinosaur bones go to The Field Museum
+ to have the best fan experience go to a Cubs, Bears, or Blackhawks game. The expensive ticket prices are worth it! (If you can’t go to those, the White Sox and Bulls games aren’t bad, either.) **
+ for the best view grab a drink at the Signature Lounge **
+ for pie go to Hoosier Mama Pie Company
to go on a run or walk go to the lakefront path **
+ to see fireworks in the summer – every Wednesday and Saturday evening go to Navy Pier **
+ to see more tourists than you’ve ever seen in your life go to Navy Pier
+ to see the best views of the city while screaming and having fun go on a Seadog speedboat
+ for date night and steak go to Bavettes
+ for Peruvian food – one of the best meals I’ve ever had go to Tanta
for small plates go to Gather (This is one of my favorite restaurants in Chicago. Get the brussels sprouts.)
+ to see a lot of fish go to the Shedd Aquarium
+ to take an awesome photography class (assuming you live in Chicago) sign-up for Richard Stromberg’s Photography Classes
+ to shop until you drop (or go broke) go to State Street or Michigan Avenue
+ to go to a really interesting and fun museum (also good for kids) go to The Museum of Science and Industry
+ for coffee go to Heritage Bicycles
+for ice cream go to Margies
+ to see gorgeous flowers (outside of the city) go to The Botanic Gardens
+ for BBQ go to Chicago Q
+ for free summer entertainment check out a movie in the park or a concert at Millennium Park
+ to get some fresh fruits and veggies go to the Green City or Logan Square farmers markets
+ to eat some great vegetarian food go to Lula Cafe
+ to tour the city go on the Architecture Tour (check Groupon for deals, they’re almost always having one) **
+ for one of the best meals, and most coveted reservations in the city, go to Girl and the Goat (you can just show up and sometimes you’ll get a table if there are only one or two in your party)
+ to see world class art go to the Art Institute
+ for truffle pasta and strong drinks go to Gilt Bar
+ to see animals for free go to the Lincoln Park Zoo
+ for an awesome but expensive cocktail experience go to The Aviary
+ to see even more animals at a huge zoo (not free) go to the Brookfield Zoo outside of the city
+ to buy brand name consignment clothes go to (my favorite store) Second Time Around
+ to eat shakes, hotdogs, and Chicago style beef go to Portillos **
+ for one of the best (and most expensive) restaurants in the world go to Alinea (this is the one item on the list I haven’t done, but this restaurant is always internationally ranked and recognized as being one of the best of the best)

Whether you’re in Chicago for a night or a few years, this list should give you a good start on ensuring you have the true Chicago experience!

Sidenote: I tried to represent a few different neighborhoods in this list, and I encourage you to take public transit around and get out of the super touristy downtown area! Public transportation is easy and cheap in Chicago and it’s part of the true urban experience. Plus, it’s a good way to avoid Chicago traffic.

** These are the things I would definitely make sure you do if you get the chance.