8 things to do on your day off in Chicago, IL

The Windy City.
Mud City.
Chi-Town.

No matter what you call it, Chicago, Illinois is one of the largest cities in the US. There’s no shortage of things to do in the city or even outside the city.

There are over 5,000 restaurants, 56 museums, over 125 art galleries, 26 miles of lakefront views, 369 landmarks and 46 historic districts. What more do you need?

Chicago is famous for all it’s bold architecture and it’s beautiful city skyline. The city is also renowned for its amazing art museums and historical centers. We’ve put together a list of things you HAVE to go see while you’re in Chicago.

Things to do in Chicago, Illinois:

  1. Navy Pier – Did you know that Navy Pier was actually home to Navy personnel during World War I? True story. Now the pier is decked out in carnival rides, restaurants, shops, and more. Another fun fact: you can do a speed dating session while riding the Giant Ferris Wheel. Admission to the pier is completely free, but some attractions have their own pricing.
  2. Wrigley Field – Home to the Chicago Cubs, the stadium is the second oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball, right behind Fenway Park in Boston. Not only are the games a blast, but the stadium holds a ton of baseball history. Babe Ruth called his shot when he pointed out to the bleachers during Game 3 of the 1932 World Series and the next pitch hit a home run right at Wrigley. Plus, those super-dedicated Cubs fans are a blast to watch with!
  3. Willis Tower – Willis Tower is the second tallest building in the US and the Skydeck gives you some of the best views in the city. At 1,353 feet in the air, you can step outside of the building into a glass box. It’s open 365 days year, including Thanksgiving and Christmas. Willis Tower is home to museums and event halls, too. The building is 110 stories tall (that’s 1,450 feet).
  4. Shedd Aquarium – Every year around 2 million people visit the Shedd Aquarium. It’s one of the largest indoor aquariums in the world! They offer some incredible behind-the-scenes experiences like shark feeding tours, penguin encounters, or beluga encounters, and you can even be a trainer for a day! Tickets go quickly so plan ahead and get them online before you go!
  5. The Art Institute of Chicago – The Art Institute of Chicago is an amazing experience for everyone from art history buffs to casual observers. It’s ranked the #1 Thing To Do in Chicago by TripAdvisor! The exhibits cover over 5,000 years of human expression from cultures all around the world. There’s so much in the museum, it’s impossible to see it all in one day! There are cafes inside for pit stops, so it’s a great way to spend an entire day (or two).
  6. Millennium Park – Last but certainly not least—Millennium Park. You can’t go to Chicago without getting a picture in front of the famous giant bean. The centerpiece of the AT&T Plaza is the notorious Cloud Gate sculpture, aka “the bean”. There are many other exhibits to see in the park as well! Visit Crown Fountain, Lurie Garden, Boeing Galleried, BP Bridge, and more.

Best Local Restaurant in Chicago:

Giordano’s – Giordano’s famous deep dish pizza is a must-have in Chicago. The beloved pie comes from Grandma Giordano’s infamous Italian Easter Pie that was a tradition in her family and a legend in her town in Italy. 40 years later and counting, their take on pizza is pretty much world famous. Millions have tried it; millions have loved it!

See what other travelers thought:

“Huge pizzas and really tasty. If your a planning to go for a pizza, two things to consider: 1. expect a long line our arrive at eleven just when they open (consider it a brunch), 2. Deep dish pizza can take 45-50 minutes to cook so if you are really hungry order some appetizers first. The Chicago style was amazing, totally recommended. Once you finish you can go walk to Millennial Park.”
Carlos G.

“I was afraid this place would just be one of those that just all the tourists go to but the pizza was amazing. I’ve never had deep dish pizza like this. We ordered take out, and got the cheese deep dish, some Parmesan fries and the chicken Alfredo. The pizza was to die for, so cheesy and so much crust! The fries were very very good also. The chicken Alfredo was good but could have used a bit more salt. We ordered on a Friday night, super busy but received our food in a very timely manner. Definitely eating here the next time we visit!”
Kristina B.

Where to get a sweet treat in Chicago:

BomboBar: Want a perfect mixture of coffee, gelato, and Italian pastry? Then you have to stop by the BomboBar. Their menu alone is enough to make your mouth water, but wait until you smell the shop itself. You won’t be able to resist! They offer carryout, delivery, AND a walk-up window. Can’t get more serious about your desserts than that, my friends.

They have some raving Google Reviews!

“Very delicious and creative! A tad high on price, but it is worth its value. As well as good customer service! I have visited this location a handful of times now and each visit was a pleasant time. Be ready to hit the gym the next day!”
Mari C.

“Cute little place with some outdoor seating. We came on a weekday night and it was packed long line. Our order was taken fairly quickly. I got their vanilla bean donut and the Nutella donut. It didn’t take longer than 15 min for us to get our orders. The staff was very friendly. The donut was very good. I loved the little squeeze bottles filled with the filling, so cute. Definitely a craving satisfier.”
Kristina B.

Traveling nurses that are familiar with the area had some great things to say about travel nursing in Chicago. Take a look!

“Chicago is definitely one of my favorite cities. You have to be smart, but I felt 100% safe and there was always something to do. The museums are AMAZING. Go see a Cubs game. Walk along the river. Do all the touristy things.”

“The facility was intense, but it was great experience. With a big hospital on your record, it definitely helps to go just about anywhere. There’s never a moment of boredom. Even if you’re there by yourself, there is so much to do and see. I highly recommend it.”


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