Chicago is a major city without a doubt, but accept it comprehensive and you may cover loads of ground right away. With a short list of restaurants, and lots of sightseeing as you go along, this Chicago guide will give you via the major downtown highlights. Take heed: good walking shoes are clutch just for this itinerary. Pants with an expandable waistline aren’t an awful either.
Chicago’s walk score always rises approximately the top inside the annual rankings on the nation’s best walkable cities, when using the downtown city center practically acing the test. It won’t require much time to obtain your bearings using the easy-to-navigate grid. Town is neatly aligned into square blocks mostly streets running north/south or east/west. Main ideas to bear in mind: Lake Michigan is relied on as the anchor towards the east as well as the Chicago River provides a natural border, separating the Loop through the Magnificent Mile and West Loop.
The perfect one-day walking tour of Chicago
This itinerary dials in for the downtown core. However, your map app is most likely doing the many heavy lifting here in terms of directions, so here’s the lowdown on the good things:
The Magnificent Mile
Start on North Michigan Avenue within the Historic Water Tower, a surviving relic from the Great Chicago Fire along with a indication of the city’s spirit during the time of renewal afterward. It has been adapted for a different use now (an art form gallery), although Pumping Station outside still pumps water with the city.
Gear up for your busy morning using a solid breakfast. For that early riser here i will discuss two nearby options: NoMI Kitchen, a very posh setting which has a pretty view, and Wildberry, your local brunch chain having a whopping 100+ menu items to select from.
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Either way, you\’re only steps from 360 CHICAGO, where soaring views from 1,000 feet above await.
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Elevators jet as much as the 94th floor in a rapid pace, just as soon as you step off, you’re immediately hit via the bright blue hues from the sky and lake. Floor-to-ceiling windows on the sides offer 360-degree views, but it’s one side when using the moving glass thrill ride Tilt which you can’t miss.
Back on the surface, 460 stores beckon. Reason main that searchers reach The Magnificent Mile is designed for the shopping. Browse a bit as of this northern end within the 13-block district, where current fashions boutiques like Gucci and Louis Vuitton are intermixed with style-savvy brands like Uniqlo and Topshop.
Garrett Popcorn Shops for the seventh floor of Water Tower Place is probably enough out of the way to not ever possess the crazy long lines on the other place locations. Stop in charge of the classic Chicago snack, a bag of Garrett Mix — the earth famous cheddar and caramel popcorn combo.
On to Oak Street Beach, just a few blocks north continuing on Michigan Avenue. Sandy shores and control line the waterfront. Dip your toes during the lake and sink into the soft sand.
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Looking back downtown, you observe the skyline from a different direction, now looking south. This is the way you’re headed next because the Lakefront Trail will take you instantly to Navy Pier. The most popular promenade is mile away and every little bit of the way is scenic.
If you haven’t had thus the views, ride the Centennial Wheel.
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Otherwise, the vintage carousel and colorful wave swinger in Pier Park is usually a throwback to simpler times. Assuming you’re here simply for the walk-through — compared with visiting the Chicago Children’s Museum or Chicago Shakespeare Theater, or catching the evening fireworks or even an IMAX movie — utilize the breezy stroll and also be on the right path. A late lunch is around the schedule.
This is a town rich in famous, award-winning chefs. Go the quick-casual route with Mexican street food from TV host, author and celebrity chef Rick Bayless at XOCO.
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Or for yet another counter service option, cross off bucket list eats much like the Italian beef and Chicago-style hot dog at Portillo’s.
Walk several blocks south and cross the Chicago River. The latest outdoor gathering place will be the south bank on the waterway, just steps below the street level. The Chicago Riverwalk has restaurants and bars — it practically operates with rosé in the summer.
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Sip on wine about the City Winery patio or decide on craft beer at Tiny Tapp.
While you watch the boats elapse, search and admire the architecture. You would probably have to have a whole guidebook to give out most of the great buildings. But for starters, there’s the Wrigley Building as well as majestic clock tower, the Gothic Revival Tribune Tower and Beaux Arts London Guarantee Building anchoring the Michigan Avenue intersection.
Make your way up the steps to upper Wacker Drive at State Street. Only one block with the Chicago Riverwalk may be a Loop landmark internal 1921. The Chicago Theatre was a luxurious movie palace, one of several earliest and largest constructed the united states. Snap images within the famous marquee and note the encircled “Y” insignia that radiates from your center “C” in C-H-I-C-A-G-O. It represents the fork the location where the Chicago River splits into three branches.
Turn to steer east on Randolph Street. You’re headed to Millennium Park, the biggest attraction from the Midwest.
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It’s house to a big metal sculpture that charms everyone, a playful section of public art. Cloud Gate is known more by its casual nickname, “The Bean”. Pictures listed here are a necessity. Another whimsical piece is Crown Fountain, a pair of glass block towers that bookend a reflecting pool.
Depending with your time, you can travel to more elements of Millennium Park Campus, like the Chicago Cultural Center (explore the disposable galleries and museums and discover the world’s largest stained glass Tiffany dome) or Maggie Daley Park (where one can tackle the climbing wall).
Otherwise, push on into other parts of the nearby lakefront park to discover Buckingham Fountain.
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It’s on the list of largest on earth and it is powerful jets produce a beautiful water display every hour.
Head right out of the park and to the Loop proper — it is the area bounded through the ‘L’ train tracks, which form a rectangular loop. It’s studded with historic skyscrapers and landmark buildings. According to what strikes you (and just what buildings are open for the reason that hours vary), which could add some stately Monadnock Building, the light-filled Rookery, the Mid-Century Modern Federal Center, or maybe the 19th-century Marquette Building.
For the last public work of art informed, develop a visit Daley Plaza and skim The Picasso. Your interpretation for this 50-foot tall steel sculpture will be as good any, since artist Pablo Picasso never did have an explanation of the things it represents when he gifted it towards the city in 1967.
The West Loop sits just west on the Loop — no real shock there. Walk down Randolph Street and cross the Chicago River again, this time in the South Branch. The very last downtown neighborhood you’re exploring is a story of contrast and change. The fact that was once full of wholesale markets and commercial storage buildings now use restaurants, residences, and modern office buildings.
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Now by using a creative edge, murals and street art locate a fitting home here. A few you may uncover are works by JC Rivera, Lauren Asta, Don’t Fret, Czr Prz, and POSE.
End of day. Finish with dinner and dessert, then put your feet up. The region called “Restaurant Row” has swelled and extends beyond Randolph Street, now a full blown dining and nightlife district that encompasses Fulton Street, Lake Street, Washington Boulevard and Madison Street.
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Try crowd favorites like Bar Siena followed by BomboBar treats with the adjoining takeout window or Federales followed having a go to neighboring Do-Rite Donuts & Chicken. Or find more hearty fare — deserved and needed after walking nearly 10 miles through downtown Chicago — at acclaimed West Loop eateries which can be Bib Gourmand picks much like the Publican, Au Cheval, and BellyQ.
Find more Chicago guides to complete your getaway, like five spots never to miss on your own first visit and three neighborhood excursions that go beyond downtown.