Chicago bean

Chicago is a city known for its award-winning food scene, vibrant neighborhoods, and iconic attractions. Don’t just take our word for it. More than 240,000 readers scattered across the country cast their votes for their favorite destinations in Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards, and they bestowed the title of best U.S. city to Chicago. It became the first and only city during the 35-year history of the Condé Nast Traveler awards to earn the honor for six consecutive years. To learn why Chicago is loved by so many, check out a few of its noteworthy destinations.

Millennium Park

As part of the larger Grant Park located in downtown Chicago, Millennium Park is a 25-acre public park that opened in 2004. Its original plan involved a landscaped-covered bridge over a parking facility with the Illinois Central Railroad tracks underneath. When finally completed, the park included a collection of modern architecture, public art, and landscape design. Tourists can visit the following four major highlights at Millennium Park:

  • Cloud Gate: Also known as The Bean, Cloud Gate was created using computer technology to cut 168 large stainless-steel plates when wielded together to form a 12-foot arch. It’s one of the world’s largest permanent outdoor art exhibits.
  • Lurie Garden: Created as an urban oasis for wildlife and city dwellers, the Lurie Garden offers a four-season garden experience. The garden includes a 15-foot hedge and hardwood footbridge.
  • Jay Pritzker Pavilion: Standing 120 feet above the ground, this pavilion has 4,000 fixed seats and a 95,000-square-foot lawn that accommodates an extra 10,000 guests. Its unique sound system mimics the acoustics of an indoor concert hall.
  • Crown Fountain: Using light, water, and glass in this reflecting space, the Crown Fountain is a great spot to cool down. Two 50-foot towers project images of Chicago citizens.

Navy Pier

Originally opened in 1916 as an amusement area and shopping district, Navy Pier underwent a major renovation in 1995 and turned into one of the city’s premier tourist attractions. It has welcomed more than 186 million visitors, including an impressive 9.3 million in 2016, and it’s one of the most-visited attractions in the state and Midwest. There’s no admission fee to enter Navy Pier, but some of the attractions and shows charge a fee.

Plan for an entire day at Navy Pier. Head to the Polk Bros Fountain and Plaza, which has a dramatic fountain that mimics the movements of jets, or take a ride on the 200-foot-tall Centennial Wheel with 42 climate-controlled gondolas to get amazing views of the city. This Ferris wheel is one of the sixth tallest in the world. If you visit from Memorial Day through Labor Day, the pier hosts fireworks every Wednesday and Saturday. If you can’t make it to Pequod’s Pizza in time, you can refuel at one of the pier’s numerous restaurants.

Museum of Science and Industry

Located at the northern end of Jackson Park, the Museum of Science and Industry is one of the city’s most impressive institutions and one of the largest museums in the world. The structure is the last remaining building of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, also known as “White City,” and opened as a museum in 1933. Today, you likely won’t have enough time to explore all 400,000 square feet dedicated to hands-on exhibits, but it’s worth a shot.

A few of its permanent exhibits include the Coal Mine, which takes you down a mineshaft through a true-to-life coal mine, and the U-505, which is a German submarine that has called the museum home since 1954. Don’t forget to head to the city’s only five-story domed movie theater for a truly unique viewing experience.

Pequod’s Pizza

You’d be hard-pressed to find another city with as many tourist attractions and amazing restaurants as Chicago. After a busy day of sightseeing, you’re likely famished. Don’t forget to stop in at Pequod’s Pizza to enjoy a slice of Chicago-style deep-dish pizza. At Pequod’s Pizza, we’ve developed quite the following, thanks to our pizza served in cast iron pans. Once the pies emerge from the oven, they obtain a crispy caramelized crust that is unlike any other type of pizza made around the world. No trip to Chicago is complete without trying the pizza restaurant both locals and tourists flock to. Place an order online or schedule a reservation at our Chicago location today!