The new year is a great time to explore everything Chicago has to offer, from great restaurants to amazing shopping. Based on anonymized trip data, these were seven of the city’s most popular destinations at the end of 2017.
Top destinations in Chicago
Restaurant | The Vig
Located in the heart of Old Town, this 1950s-themed sports parlor is a great place to enjoy cocktails or dinner with friends. The menu offers a wide range of items, from lobster rolls to meatball subs. A weekend brunch is also served, featuring dishes including biscuits and gravy and brisket hash. The interior is open and inviting, featuring a wooden beamed ceiling and a bar that spans most of the restaurant.
Where: 1527 N Wells St
Bar | Butch McGuire’s
This family-owned establishment has been a Chicago institution since 1961 when a man by the name of Butch McGuire borrowed some cash from his mother and never looked back. The bar is now run by his son, who is committed to carrying on his father’s legacy. It’s an inviting and welcoming place which serves up traditional bar food including burgers, pizza, and Chicago-style hot dogs. It also offers 25 beers on tap, alongside cocktails and other beverages.
Where: 20 W Division St
Landmark | Lyric Opera House
Formerly the Civic Opera House, this gorgeous performance venue opened in 1929 and is the second-largest opera auditorium in North America. You’ll feel as though you’ve stepped back in time as you enter the building, which boasts a hybrid of art nouveau and art deco styles. Whether you watch a live performance or take a backstage tour, you’re sure to enjoy this Chicago landmark. If you aren’t a fan of opera, check out the venue’s website for a list of other concerts and events.
Where: 20 N Wacker Dr
Attraction | Willis Tower
Also known as the Sears Tower, this must-see attraction is the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. The Skydeck on the 103rd floor gives visitors a view of four states, and the bravest of souls can step onto The Ledge, a glass balcony extending four feet outside the tower. An indoor exhibit teaches visitors about Chicago’s unique history and culture, while the ‘Reaching for the Sky’ video focuses on the city’s stunning architecture.
Where: 233 S Wacker Dr
Entertainment venue | United Center
There’s always an event taking place at this entertainment venue, which happens to be the largest arena in the United States. It’s home to the Chicago Bulls and Chicago Blackhawks, and also hosts a wide variety of concerts and other events throughout the year. This is a great place to enjoy a sporting event or performance with 23,000 of your closest friends. There are also a number of restaurants at the arena, serving up everything from burgers to tacos. Wash it all down with a local beer at Goose Island Pub.
Where: 1901 W Madison St
Park | Millennium Park
This urban park hasn’t been part of Chicago for very long, but it’s already become a city landmark. It’s home to the famous Cloud Gate sculpture and a lovely garden, as well as beautifully manicured grounds. The Jay Pritzker Pavilion also calls the park home, hosting a wide variety of concerts and performances in the warmer months. In the winter, the park hosts an ice skating rink. This is a great attraction for the entire family.
Where: 201 E Randolph St
Shopping | Water Tower Place
Located on Chicago’s famous Magnificent Mile, this eight-level mall is a shopper’s paradise. It features more than 100 stores, many of which are unique to the city. Well-known global brands can also be found, along with a wide range of eateries. This mall also boasts the unique feature of having a live theatre inside its walls. The venue has a seating capacity of 549 people and hosts a variety of plays and musicals from Broadway and beyond.
Where: 835 N Michigan Ave
Whether you enjoy cozy bars or fabulous architecture, the Windy City is certain to impress you with its offerings. Don’t let the winter weather stop you from exploring – Chicago dazzles in all four seasons.