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Top Chicago Attractions

The first time you visit Chicago, or any new destination, the question asked isn’t usually what attractions should be scene but what attraction to see first, what to expect, how to get there, and how much time is needed. We’ve provided tips, advice, and other information about the top tourist attractions in Chicago to help with your itinerary planning.

Navy Pier Navy Pier
Boat Tours Boat Tours
Sears Tower Sears Tower

Boat Tours

 Address Chicago Line Cruises
North Pier Docks, Ogdon Ship Docks
 Admission $27
 Phone 312-527-2002

Chicago is the queen of awe-inspiring architecture; structures are creative, innovative and unlike any other. Famous architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright have designed art and called them buildings. Lasting for miles, the Chicago skyline is dramatic, distinctive and matchless in form.

For a unique opportunity to see this breathtaking architecture of Chicago, why not try a boat tour? The tour lasts 90 minutes in length, sailing on the river. With its easy boarding location on the North Pier Docks on Ogden Slip, you can experience the Chicago skyline from the water—be sure to bring along a camera for the stunning views. You will probably need a wide-angle lens.

Since 1982, Chicago Line Cruises has offered narrated architectural cruises along Chicago’s water-arteries. Learn about the designer, the architect and the interesting facts behind Chicago’s amazing skyline.

These unforgettable cruises depart daily. Do not miss this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

The company also offers historical cruises. Learn about the intricate history of this once industrial town. A 90-minute tour takes you around Chicago’s scenic lakefront, rather than the river on the architectural tour. This voyage will provide expert narration on the aspects of Chicago’s diverse and difficult history.

During the tour, enjoy complimentary Starbucks coffee, lemonade, fresh-baked muffins and cookies. These fact-filled cruises depart daily.


Sears Tower

 Address 233 W. Wacker Drive
 Hours May-Sept. 10:00am-10:00pm
Oct-Apr. 10:00am-8:00 pm
 Phone 312-875-9696

The tallest building in America is the Sears Tower and is a staple of the Chicago skyline. It is a symbol of the city and the view from the top is unfathomable. During tourist season, there may be a line to the Skydeck, but it is well worth the wait.

At 1,353 feet, the Skydeck is the highest observatory in Chicago. On a clear day, you can see 40-50 miles with views of Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin.

Not only can you experience breathtaking scenes, you can visit exhibits on the inside walls of the Skydeck painted with Chicago’s past and present. You will also find multi-language interactive kiosks. You can take a tour of Chicago’s landmarks through hands-on computer stations. Want to see what it looks like for a younger person to see the view? You can get a different look at this kid-level display that extends the perimeter of the Skydeck. It contains cut-out windows with information on Chicago history, sports and other interesting facts. Take a voyeuristic look at Chicago with high-powered telescopes. Get a closer look at the people walking the streets or driving the taxicabs. Even see into offices of other buildings.

The best time to visit is after 4pm, during non-peak hours.


Chicago Travel Guides
 Frommer's Chicago
 Lonely Planet Chicago
 Let's Go Chicago
 Fodors Chicago