Home / Travel Guides - Chicago / What To Do In Chicago

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What to Do in Chicago Let yourself be whisked 1,353 feet up the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) in a high-speed elevator to Skydeck Chicago (233 S. Wacker Dr.), where you can start your vacation with a view of the entire city spread out before you and, on a clear day, see four states.

Lose yourself within the cavernous exhibit halls of The Field Museum (1400 S. Lake Shore Dr.), where you'll (safely) come face-to-fang with the man-eating Tsavo lions (stuffed) and SUE, a menacing Tyrannosaurus rex (fossilized), along with a menagerie of other well-preserved and well-displayed creatures.

AAA/Elizabeth Fernandez
Savor a slice of Chicago-style pizza (also known as stuffed or deep-dish) at any number of local restaurants. Lou Malnati's Pizzeria (439 N. Wells St.) in the Near North district is known for its signature crispy crusts.

AAA/Inspector 40
Take a trip on the “L” (Chicago's ELevated mass transit trains) around the Loop and enjoy an up-close look at downtown Chicago's historic architecture that you can't get from the ground, or for one of the most popular things to do in Chicago, take a boat tour along the Chicago River and Lake Michigan shoreline.

flickr/Nick Harris
Make a pilgrimage via the Red Line to the Chicago Cubs' Wrigley Field (1060 W. Addison St.), whose ivy-covered outfield walls have served as backdrop for some of Major League Baseball's most thrilling moments.

Experience live blues music at the free, 3-day Chicago Blues Festival in June in Grant Park at the lakefront or visit one of the blues clubs scattered about “Sweet Home Chicago.”

Limber up your shopping muscles and spend an afternoon hunting for that must-have item or dining at one of the many restaurants along the Magnificent Mile, that boutique-crowded section of North Michigan Avenue between Oak Street and the Chicago River.

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Entertain the kids at Navy Pier (600 E. Grand Ave.), a 50-acre waterfront entertainment complex with dozens of fun things to do, including the nearly 200-foot-tall Centennial Wheel and a musical carousel, not to mention a children's museum, a miniature golf course, shops and restaurants.

AAA/Inspector 40
Snap a photo in front of Buckingham Memorial Fountain (Columbus Dr. & Congress Pkwy.) in Grant Park with either the Chicago skyline as a background or the lovely lakeshore, a popular warm weather destination for joggers, bikers and skaters.

Tour suburban Oak Park to see the groundbreaking work of Frank Lloyd Wright, often called America's greatest architect, whose home and studio stands amidst several of his Prairie-style masterpieces.

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Dodge jets of water spewing from The Crown Fountain's twin video towers or photograph your warped reflection in the funhouse mirrorlike surface of “Cloud Gate” (aka The Bean), both in Millennium Park (N. Michigan Ave. & E. Randolph St.).

Ponder the lost-looking souls passing time in an all-night diner in Edward Hopper's masterpiece “Nighthawks” or imagine yourself strolling in a 19th-century park with the fashionable Parisians of Georges Seurat's “A Sunday on La Grande Jatte” at The Art Institute of Chicago (111 S. Michigan Ave.).

AAA/Frank Swanson
Watch chicks hatch, witness artificial lightning bolts arc through the air, descend into a re-created coal mine, and climb aboard a German submarine captured during World War II at the Museum of Science and Industry (5700 S. Lake Shore Dr.), a beautiful 1893 building packed with hundreds of entertaining and educational science exhibits.

AAA/Elizaeth Fernandez
Press your nose against the thick acrylic windows of the Wild Reef Exhibit and feel like you're swimming with the eels, lionfish and sharks at the Shedd Aquarium (1200 S. Lake Shore Dr.).

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Chicago, IL

Top AAA Diamond Hotels

AAA’s in-person hotel evaluations are unscheduled to ensure the inspector has an experience similar to that of members. To pass inspection, all hotels must meet the same rigorous standards for cleanliness, comfort and hospitality. These hotels receive a AAA Diamond designation that tells members what type of experience to expect.

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Palmer House - A Hilton Hotel

17 E Monroe St. Chicago, IL 60603

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Sponsored Listing

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Embassy Suites by Hilton Chicago Downtown Magnificent Mile

511 N Columbus Dr. Chicago, IL 60611

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Members save 5% or more and earn Marriott Bonvoy™ points when booking AAA/CAA rates!

Hotel EMC2, Autograph Collection

228 E Ontario St. Chicago, IL 60611

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Members save 5% or more and earn Honors points when booking AAA/CAA rates!

Embassy Suites by Hilton Hotel Chicago-Downtown

600 N State St. Chicago, IL 60654

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Travel Information

City Population

2,695,598

Elevation

673 ft.

Sales Tax

Illinois sales tax is 6.3 percent; cities and counties impose additional increments. The Chicago area has a lodging tax of 17.4 percent.

Emergency

911

Police (non-emergency)

311

Hospitals

Mercy Hospital & Medical Center, (312) 567-2000; Northwestern Memorial Hospital, (312) 926-2000; Resurrection Medical Center, (773) 774-8000; Saint Anthony Hospital, (773) 484-1000; The University of Chicago Medicine, (773) 702-1000; University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System, (866) 600-2273.

Visitor Information

111 N. State St. (lower level) Chicago, IL 60602. Phone:(312)781-1000

Air Travel

O'Hare International Airport (ORD)—17 miles northwest of the city—is served by major domestic and foreign carriers. Midway International Airport (MDW), though smaller and serviced by far fewer carriers than O'Hare, is closer to the Loop—only 8 miles southwest of downtown.

Rental Cars

Chicago is served by major car rental agencies. Arrangements should be made before you leave on your trip; your local AAA club can provide this assistance or additional information. Hertz, (312) 372-7600 or (800) 654-3080, offers discounts to AAA members.

Rail Service

Chicago Union Station, 225 S. Canal St., is the city's main train depot and Amtrak's local hub. Trains run to both coasts and well into the South, with stops at most major cities along the routes; phone (800) 872-7245.

Buses

Greyhound Lines Inc. has its station at 630 W. Harrison St.; phone (312) 408-5821 or (800) 231-2222.

Taxis

Taxis are readily available in Chicago.

Public Transportation

Transportation by train and bus is available in Chicago.

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