5 things to do if you have a day in Chicago

Situated by Lake Michigan, the third largest city in US, Chicago is a city of wonder. Often referred to as Chicagoland, this city is the birthplace of skyscrapers and is well known for its hot-dogs, deep dish pizzas, mindblowing architecture and scenic views of Lake Michigan. This city has a lot to explore and I’ve been here just for 8 months or so. So from a new-comers perspective I wanted to share with you a few things that a newcomer to this city should not miss out on!! 😀


Weather you are here for leisure or business, or you have a small layover in this city, even if you have just one day to explore the beautiful city of Chicago, you have to make the most of it and here are five things you can do within one day to get a feel of Chicago 

1. Visit Museum Campus at Soldier Field –

The Museum Campus at Soldier field is home to some of the most prestigious institutions of the city, the Field Museum, the Shedd Aquarium and the Adler Planetarium. Exploring all three of these in one day is possible, however you won’t have time for anything else 😛 Hence you can visit one of these three spots and reserve the rest for your next visit. For a more detailed itinerary on the museums, you can read my blog on spending a weekend in Chicago here  . In a gist here is a look at these three locations –

Field Museum – The Field Museum of Natural History is one of the largest natural history museums in the world with interesting permanent exhibits such as the largest fossil of T-Rex fondly named Sue, Twenty-three human mummies and mummified animals, replica of the tomb of the last pharaoh, working laboratories and fossil laboratories, cultural exhibits and various interesting temporary exhibits.

The Basic Admission here is for $24 with all access pass for $38 per person and this Museum is open from 9am to 5pm all days of the year apart from Christmas Day

Adler Planetarium – Located at the far end of Museum Campus besides the scenic Lake Michigan, Adler Planetarium is home to full size, extensive exhibits on space science, a wonderful collection on space scientific equipments used since the ancient times and they also have research-active, public-urban observatory – Doane Observatory.

Adler is open every day from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, their  Basic Admission is for $24.95 with the All Access Pass for $34.95 per person.

The scenic view of Chicago Skyline from Adler Planeterium 

Shedd Aquarium  – One of the largest aquariums in the world, this place is a must visit for their extensive display of aquatic life, their special exhibits, informative movies and my personal favorite the Pacific wide sided dolphins! Don’t miss to catch the dolphins live in action while you are there and make sure you get a front row seat to high-five the penguins 😀

The General Admission is for $39.95 with a 50% for Chicago residents. Shedd has different operating hours changing as per the season, click here for a detailed chart.



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2. Cloud Gate & Millennium Park

Also plan a visit to Millenium Park in the Loop area of Chicago for a look at the Cloud Gate and of course for clicking some great pictures at the iconic sculpture of Chicago. The sculpture, nicknamed as “the Bean” for its bean-like appearance is made out of 168 stainless steel plates welded together to give a highly polished exterior and no visible seams. The sculpture reflects Chicago skyline in multiple ways and you can click some really interesting pictures and selfies here by playing around with the reflections.


3. Take a pizza break

Deep dish pizza is quintessential to Chicago. Some argue it is not a pizza, it is a pie, but Chicago-people simply love their deep dish pizza. Two famous locations for trying this cheesy wonder are Giordanos Pizza and Lou Malnatis Pizzeria. The pizza wars between these two chains are common 😛 and if you ask me, I tend to favor Lou Malnatis 😉

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If you are not a pizza fan, try out Chicago style hot dogs at Portillos or grab some delicious caramel popcorn from Garrett Popcorn Shops 

4. A Panoramic view of the City

While you are exploring Chicago downtown make your way towards Willis Towers for a panoramic view of the city at Skydeck Chicago. Skydeck Chicago is located on the 103rd floor of Willis Tower and it gives you an amazing panaromic view of the city. You can click as many pictures as you like and also get some pictures professionally clicked there, The Skydeck is open 365 days and you can visit here from  October through February from 10am-8pm and March through September from 9am-10pm

The Basic Admission here is $24.00 and the Fast Pass is for $49.00 which gives you express entry to the elevators.


5. The Chicago River-walk

Chicago river cuts its way through this city and the pedestrian walkway by the side of the river called Chicago River-walk. It offers some amazing views of the skyscrapers of the city and great food and drink options. You can walk the entire stretch and make your way towards Navy Pier for a beautiful view of Lake Michigan, and check out the ongoing events there. This is a great way to spend your evening, taking a leisurely stroll by the river or hopping into one of the many river-cruises available there.



There are a lot of other things to do in Chicago and places to explore, but sadly these cannot be done in a single day. This is what I believe to be the best things to do in Chicago in a day. Are there any suggestions to it? Let me know!!


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