Things to do in Chicago

Whether you’re familiar with Chicago or visiting for the first time, you’ll find lots to do around the city. There are always fun events or new restaurants to check out.

Below are activities that we think you might enjoy. This list covers just some of the many fun and diverse events the city has to offer. To help you learn about the other options, we’ve also included links to useful Chicago publications and websites.

Enjoy your summer in Chicago!

Things to do at UIC

Campus Programs
Campus Recreation
Gallery 400
Jane Addams Hull House Museum
UIC Events Calendar
UIC Pavilion
University of Illinois Alumni Association Events

Popular Attractions

Architecture Tours – Go on a guided tour of the city’s architecture by boat, bus, or on foot
Chicago Cubs – Cheer on the Cubs at Wrigley Field
Chicago Park District – Visit one of Chicago’s 570 parks located throughout the city. Features include baseball fields, pools, and beaches
Chicago White Sox – Cheer on the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field
Hancock 360 Chicago Observation Deck – View the city from the 94th floor
Lincoln Park Zoo — Daily free admission
Magnificent Mile – Enjoy upscale shopping and dining
Millennium Park – Take a picture in front of the 110-ton steel sculpture nicknamed “The Bean” and cool off underneath Crown Fountain
Montrose Beach – A dog-friendly beach where you can kayak into Lake Michigan
Navy Pier – Over 50 acres of amusement: boat rides, museums, theatres, shopping, and a Ferris wheel
North Avenue Beach – Get some sun and people watch on this popular beach. Also, don’t forget to check out the large boathouse
Oak Street Beach – Run or bike along the path at North Avenue Beach’s slightly less chaotic neighbor
Willis Tower Skydeck – See views of the city from the 2nd tallest building in the U.S.

Festivals and Events

Farmers Markets (dates vary by market) Pick up a variety of produce and prepared foods
Lollapalooza  Music festival in early August in Grant Park that draws performers and attendees from all over the world
Pitchfork Music Festival Three days of music at Union Park in mid-July
Taste of Chicago  The world’s largest food festival offers both diverse food and music in Grant Park in mid-July
Other Festivals and Events Many other festivals and events are held throughout the city


Art Institute – Thursdays are free from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Chicago History Museum – Mondays are free
Field Museum – 2nd Monday of every month is free
Museum of Contemporary Art – Tuesdays are free
Museum of Science and Industry – Visit their Web site for a list of free admission days
Oriental Museum – Free
Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum – Thursdays are free from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Shedd Aquarium – Visit their Web site for a list of free admission days

Concert Venues

Allstate Arena
Aragon Ballroom
Chicago Theatre
Empty Bottle
First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre
House of Blues

Millennium Park – Jay Pritzker Pavilion
Rosemont Theater
Sears Centre

United Center
Vic T


The Annoyance
Comedy Sportz
Second City
Zanies Comedy Night Club


Auditorium Theatre
Briar Street Theatre – Home of the Blue Man Group
Broadway in Chicago
The Lyric Opera House
Goodman Theatre
Hot Tix – Discounted theatre tickets
Steppenwolf Theatre
Victory Gardens

Day Trips

Brookfield Zoo
Chicago Botanical Gardens – 385 acres of unique gardens located in Glencoe
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Home and Studio – Take a tour of the influential architect’s first home and studio located in Oak Park
Morton Arboretum – See over 4,000 kinds of trees and other plants from all around the world at this 1,700-acre arboretum located in Lisle
Woodfield Mall – Shop and eat at nearly 300 stores and restaurants all located under the same roof at this mall in Schaumburg


Chicago Reader – Free weekly newspaper
Red Eye – Free daily newspaper
Time Out – Weekly magazine

Useful Web sites

Concierge Preferred – Provides information about things to do and upcoming events in Chicago
CTA Bus Tracker
– Provides information on timing for CTA buses
Do312 – Search calendars of events in Chicago
Metromix – Search for reviews and information on places that you’re thinking of checking out
RTA Trip Planner – Provides detailed information on how to get around using public transportation