Things to Do

Your comprehensive guide to the best events and things to do in Chicago

Sport and fitness

Photos: NFL Draft Town

Check out the NFL's gigantic fan festival before you go this weekend

Read more
Blog

67 things opening in May

Get ready for street festivals, concerts, free events and more

Read more
Blog

NFL Draft Town guide

This weekend, the NFL brings family activites, music and a bar to Grant Park

Read more
Blog

The 606 will open on June 6

We can't wait to walk from Logan Square to Wicker Park

Read more
Things to do

Photos: C2E2

Stormtroopers, superheroes and more turned up for Chicago's nerdiest weekend

Read more

Things to do in Chicago

See more Chicago events calendars

Events and festivals

Things to do

Chicago Zine Fest

Don't you miss the feeling of Kinkos ink on your fingertips? Chicago Zine Fest is an annual celebration of DIY publications, which kicks off with a series of panels at Access Living. On Saturday, 200+ zinesters show off their homemade soul at Plumber's Union Hall. Kids, this is what blogging used to look like.

Read more

American Beer Classic

Enjoy the best of American beer and sample brews from the more than 30 participating breweries, including local standbys and national favorites, at this Solider Field beer festival. After sipping the 200 plus beers, you can be the judge for the event's best drink by downloading an app and voting for the MVB (Most Valuable Brew).

Read more

Chicago Critics Film Festival

In its fourth year, this festival, created by the Chicago Film Critics Association, features undistributed gems and fest favorites. This year's line up includes the Bobcat Goldthwait-directed documentary Call Me Lucky, Joe Swanberg's latest comedy Digging For Fire and the Jason Segel playing David Foster Wallace in The End of the Tour.  Friday, May 1st 7pm: Digging For Fire 9:30pm: Raiders! 11:59pm: Restoration  Saturday, May 2nd 12pm: Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet 2pm: The New Girlfriend 4:15pm: Results 7pm: Unexpected 9:30pm: Call Me Lucky 11:59pm: Goodnight Mommy Sunday, May 3rd 1pm: Shorts Program #1 3pm: Slow West 5pm: People, Places, Things 7:30pm: Batkid Begins 10pm: The Keeping Room Monday, May 4th 5pm: Shorts Program #2 7pm: Quitters 9pm: Heaven Knows What Tuesday, May 5th 5pm: Blind 7pm: Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon 9:30pm: The Connection Wednesday, May 6th 5pm: The Second Mother 7:30pm: The End Of The Tour 10pm: Night Owls Thursday, May 7th 6pm: The Overnight 8:30pm: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

Read more
Movies

Chicago Underground Film Festival

Watch independent and experimental films from local and international filmmakers during this weeklong film fest at the Logan Theatre. After the credits roll, join nightly afterparties and live concerts. See the festival's website for a full schedule.

Read more

Chicago Craft Beer Week

The annual event from the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild brings the Chicago beer community together for 11 days of tastings, tappings, dinners and other beer-focused events at locations all over the city. The schedule, with more events than you can possibly attend, will be released in April.

Read more
See more Chicago events & festivals

On the blog

Blog

ACTIVATE returns to alleys this summer

Chicago Loop Alliance's urban event series will make its return on May 15

Read more
Blog

What to know about NFL Draft in Chicago

Prepare for the three-day pigskin party in Grant Park

Read more
Blog

Chicago ranks as sixth most walkable city

You don't need a set of wheels to get around in this city

Read more
Blog

Lagunitas Beer Circus is returning to Chicago

See circus performers, bands and drink locally brewed suds at this South Side party

Read more
See more Time Out Chicago blog stories

Things to do with kids

Kids

Chicago summer camp guide

School's out for summer! But what to do with your little ones?

Read more
Kids

Why Chicago is the best city to raise kids

Check out our 25 reasons that will make you fall in love with Chicago all over again—this time as a parent

Read more
Kids

The best indoor playgrounds

Is it raining outside? Let your kids run wild in one of our favorite indoor playgrounds

Read more
Kids

8 great playgrounds

Where to find the best wings, slides, climbing structures and mazes

Read more
See more things to do with kids

The best things to do in Chicago

Things to do

The 25 best sights and attractions in Chicago

Entertain out-of-town guests or act like a tourist in your hometown by revisiting these iconic Chicago attractions

Read more
Art

The best contemporary art galleries

Look beyond the Art Institute or Museum of Contemporary Art to find cutting edge art in the city

Read more
Museums

The 10 best Chicago museums

These well-respected institutions offer informative and inspiring encounters with art, history, science and culture

Read more
Museums

The 50 most beautiful buildings

We round up the most exemplary architecture in Chicago, from the skyline to the suburbs

Read more

Chicago museums

Art

Art Institute of Chicago

You could spend the next four years getting to know this encyclopedic institution, which owns more than 300,000 artworks and artifacts from all over the world and every era from antiquity to the present. Our favorite pieces include the Japanese prints, fragments of local buildings by Frank Lloyd Wright and the Thorne Miniature Rooms. We’re also in love with Renzo Piano’s light-filled Modern Wing, which is the perfect place to enjoy the Art Institute’s architecture and design collection, modern and contemporary art, and gorgeous views of Millennium Park.

Read more
Museums

The Field Museum

Founded to house the biological and anthropological collections assembled for the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893, this massive natural history museum still packs ’em in with more than 30 permanent exhibitions covering 300,000 square feet. Inside the permanent displays, you can see glowering dinos, marvel at ancient artifacts from a royal Egyptian tomb, undergo a lesson in cannibalism in the “Pacific Spirits” gallery or take a stroll through the newly rehabbed Halls of Gems and Jade.

Users say
  • 2 out of 5 stars
Read more
Museums

Museum of Science and Industry

If you’re into exhibits loaded with interactive bells and whistles, this expansive Hyde Park locale is your ticket. The museum’s focus is broad, with permanent displays that include the popular, health-focused new "You! The Experience" gallery, the new whiz-bang "Science Storms," plus the old faves: a restored U-505 German submarine, a simulated coal mine and a glass-covered hatchery of chicks.

Read more
Museums

Adler Planetarium

Though it’s staffed by world-class researchers at the forefront of their field, the museum’s real draw will always be the virtual-reality trips through time and space in the Sky Theater, which—thanks to a 2011 rehab—features the "highest resolution and quality possible." Themes usually center around the known and unknown universe and how humans have engaged with it throughout history.

Read more
Art

Museum of Contemporary Art

The Museum of Contemporary Art houses one of the largest collections of modern art in the nation and frequently hosts major touring exhibits. In addition to its galleries, the MCA also boasts a gift store, bookstore, restaurant, 300-seat theater, and a picturesque sculpture garden.

Read more
Museums

Shedd Aquarium

Anchoring the aquatic offerings at this 75-year-old institution are enduring favorites such as piranhas, frogs and snakes of the Amazon; rays, turtles and moray eel of the Caribbean; frightening predator sharks and, the most storied of them all, a 100-plus-year-old Australian lungfish believed to be the longest-living fish in any aquarium in the world. A 2009 rehab of the Oceanarium gave Shedd a lifelike river and tide-pool, a reworked otter habitat, and an attempt to revamp its daily mammal presentations with choreography. 

Read more
See more Chicago museums

101 things to do in Chicago

Things to do

Attractions

Check out tall buildings, landmarks, parks and more

Read more
Things to do

Kids' activities

Find cool playgrounds and kid-friendly museums

Read more
Things to do

Free things to do

Leave your wallet at home and start living the gratis life

Read more
Things to do

Offbeat attractions

Experience some of the city's most unusual pleasures

Read more
See more of the top 101 things to do in Chicago

Chicago attractions

Things to do

Millennium Park

This 24.5-acre park features Frank Gehry's Pritzker Pavilion and serpentine bridge; sculptor Anish Kapoor's 110-ton Cloud Gate (a.k.a. “The Bean”); and Jaume Plensa's Crown Fountain, with its ever-changing array of locals' faces spewing water very five minutes in the summer months. The Lurie Garden wows with year-round flower displays and monthly garden walks.

Read more
Things to do

Lincoln Park Zoo

See some 1,200 animals, from apes to zebras, at the oldest and one of only a few free zoos left in the country. It is small, only 35 acres, but attractions like the Kovler Lion House and the Regenstein Center for African Apes pack a big punch. The newest feature: A 2010 rehab transformed the pond adjacent to Café Brauer into the Nature Boardwalk harboring Illinois wildlife.

Read more
Things to do

Navy Pier

This tourist hot spot features shops, eateries, an IMAX cinema and a bevy of sightseeing boat tours. Pier Park is home to a 150-foot-high Ferris wheel, plus an old-fashioned swing ride and 18-hole mini-golf course. You'll also find the Chicago Children's Museum and a rotating roster of live entertainment on the Family Pavilion Stage. Most offerings may not turn locals on, but the seasonsal events, indoor activities and great people-watching provide plenty of entertainment, no matter what the weather.

Read more
Museums

Chicago Cultural Center

Since being converted to the Cultural Center in 1991 (it used to be the Chicago Public Library), this city-block-wide institution now offers free classical concerts Mondays, Wednesdays and Sundays. Most of the center’s classical offerings take place in Preston Bradley Hall on the second floor near the Washington Street entrance, but the Claudia Cassidy Theater (named for the Tribune’s venom-penned theater and music critic from the ’40s) on the Randolph Street side is used for experimental concerts, too. Concerts are always free.

Read more
Sport and fitness

Wrigley Field

Even when baseball’s not in season, there’s plenty to do at this legendary stadium, erected in 1914 and reinvigorated by an ownership change in 2009. Seasonal tours offer an insider peek at the Friendly Confines, and, come winter, you can skate on an ice rink just outside of the field. Keep your eyes on the website for quick-to-sell-out special events; in the past, they’ve included ice-hockey games, a college football match and inexpensive charity events that allow the public to prance on the field.

Read more
Things to do

Willis Tower Skydeck

This 1973 landmark put the city in an uproar when insurance broker Willis Group Holdings Ltd acquired the Sears Tower naming rights in 2009. That doesn't change the fact that the building occupies two city blocks and stretches 1,454 feet high, making it the second-tallest building in the U.S. Skydeck views from the 103rd floor allow you to see as far as 50 miles out. While you’re up there, learn about the city’s landmarks from a multilingual computer program and about its history from wall exhibits. If the Skydeck’s newest feature, The Ledge sounds like a horror movie, there’s a reason for that: Crawl into the glass cube structure, and you’re suspended 1,353 feet off the ground.

Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Read more
See more Chicago attractions

Things to do in Chicago neighborhoods

Things to do

Bridgeport

Experience local art or take a walk in a quarry-turned-park

Read more
Things to do

Logan Square

Take a dip in the lagoon at Humboldt Park or go for a stroll in Palmer Square Park

Read more
Things to do

Chinatown

Go kayaking at Ping Tom Memorial Park or celebrate Chinese New Year at a parade

Read more
Things to do

Evanston

Head north to explore a historic lighthouse and several small museums

Read more
See more Chicago neighborhood guides