Come for the deep dish pizza and Chicago blues. Stay for the vibrant sights, amazing attractions, excellent shopping, and countless culinary choices. Chicago now ranks as the nation’s No. 2 travel destination, according to Conde Nast Traveler’s most recent readers’ poll. (Charleston took the top spot.) Here are just 5 reasons why:
1) The Art Institute of Chicago. Trip Advisor has ranked the Art Institute the world’s top museum, based on an analysis of visitors’ reviews and comments. Visitors wander from gallery to gallery and gape as they see up close such iconic and breathtaking works of art as Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks and Georges Seurat’s A Sunday on La Grande Jette.
2) The “Sears” Tower Glass Platform. Imagine yourself suspended up in the air 1,353 feet, with a view that spans 50 miles and 4 states. Welcome to North America’s tallest building, now renamed the Willis Tower. It offers views from its 4 glass-encased “ledges” that make visitors feel like they’re floating on air. If you’d rather enjoy your view sitting down, head to the bar of the Signature Room, located on the 95th floor of the John Hancock building. It offers equally stunning views.
3) Millennium Park. Perfect for people-watching, strolling, and taking in free performances. Make sure to plan your route to catch the park’s highlights, including the giant Bean sculpture in all of its curvy reflective glory; the dazzling Jay Pritzker Pavilion, designed by living legend Frank Gehry; the Crown Fountain, bordered by 50-foot-tall glass towers that display larger-than-life images of the faces of Chicagoans; and the floral beauty of the serene 2.5-acre Lurie Garden.
4) Wrigley Field. Ivy-covered and beloved, this historic home of the now defending World Champion Chicago Cubs draws visitors like no other stadium. Sign up for a tour or act in advance and treat yourself to one of the hottest tickets in town; watching the Cubs take on the San Francisco Giants, May 22 – 25. You can’t miss, because at this charmingly small venue, every seat offers a great view!
5) Second City. The world’s premier comedy club, comedy theater, and school of improvisation offers live shows every night in Chicago. It’s been the proving ground for many of the world’s most famous comedians including Stephen Colbert, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Steve Carell. You never know what rising talent awaits you, so bring your friends and plan to leave laughing. Other comedy options? Zanie’s for stand-up; iO Chicago for more improv.