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SIGHTSEEING IN CHICAGO //

I had the opportunity to visit America for the first time this year and I loved experiencing Chicago. From the people, to the food, to the architecture, this city felt very much like being back in London (with a few lot more big buildings) and I felt at ease straightaway.

There are plenty of attractions to visit and lots of sightseeing spots here, so I've pulled together my favourite parts of my experience if you're planning a venture to the city soon.

Me, standing in front of the city skyline and Lake Michigan

Willis Tower and Hancock Tower

Now, I'm not a huge fan of heights but seeing as we're in a city of skyscrapers it is only right to experience two of the biggest. The Willis Tower (formally Sears Tower) features a skydeck, where you can step out onto the glass 1353 feet above the ground.

We had to visit on our final day where it was unfortunately pretty cloudy, but even then, it's a pretty impressive view of the city. They take official pictures up here for you but the staff are also very happy to take some of cameras and phones, so you can keep a memory of your experience in the clouds.

Couple standing in a glass box in a tower, Chicago city in the background

The Hancock Tower is home to 'Tilt' where you are, well, tilted with the window 45 degrees towards the ground. I skipped this one to be honest, but I promise you it is just as much fun watching other people give it a go!

The views from either tower are pretty good but if you only have time to experience one on your trip? I'd choose the Willis Tower and Skydeck.

Two people holding on to the window, tilting at 45 degrees in a tower

The Field Museum

This is one of the largest natural history museums in the world and - having a boyfriend who enjoys history and dinosaurs in equal measure - this became a must-do on our Chicago trip.

It's definitely worth planning a good few hours to explore as the museum is HUGE. You're welcomed into the building by Maximo the Titanosaur, the largest dinosaur in the world and incidentally continue throughout the building meeting lots of other big mammals on the way. I don't mind a good museum but I would say once I've seen a few taxidermied animals, I feel I've seen them all.

A highlight would be the 'Underground Adventure' where you head into the soil and are surrounded by human-sized creepy crawlies. Although we're in our mid-twenties, I appreciate that the experience would go down well with families with young children. Essentially, it feels like you're in the garden scene from 'Honey, I shrunk the kids.'

Me standing next to a huge dinosaur skeleton, outside the museum


The Arts Institute of Chicago

Despite not being at the top of my list, it was a great surprise to visit the Arts Institute and see the vast amount of exhibitions they have on show. Some famous paintings such as Vincent Van Gogh's Self-Portrait and Grant Wood's American Gothic are housed here in the institute.

One of my personal favourite parts was the photography and film exhibition Never a Lovely So Real 1950 -1980 which showcases lots of work from artists who documented the city in these years, including the emergence of the Black Arts Movement.

Miniature Rooms: The Thorne Rooms is an amazing exhibition of tiny, perfectly constructed houses of American and European interior design influence. They were fascinating to look at, with every single feature intricately carved or painted to resemble real homes from the period.

Close up of a miniature room


Architectural Boat Trip

This was one of the best parts of the whole holiday.

If you're into architecture then this is an absolute must, and if you're not, it's an absolute must. There were some fascinating facts about the city itself and the architectural background of the most iconic buildings is super interesting (including why Trump Tower is so cleverly designed, before and despite the tacky name blazoned across it.)

We had the pleasure of experiencing the trip with Shoreline Sightseeing which meant great service, a humorous tour leader and plenty of opportunity to take pictures from a new perspective of the city.

Upwards view of an american flag in the wind


Cloud Gate (aka The Bean)

This famous public art piece features a lot in Chicago instagram pictures so naturally, we had to take a look. It was handily only a fifteen minute walk from our hotel and it does what it says on the tin. Sir Anish Kapoor created the reflective sculpture, in the shape of a huge bean which is big enough for visitors to walk underneath.

It was a cool piece to see but really, after seeing it for five minutes and taking some snaps you'll be heading off to your next adventure. This is also, surprisingly, ranked #3 on 'Things to Do in Chicago' on TripAdvisor - who would have guessed?

Person standing in front of a huge reflective sculpture in Millenium Park, Chicago


We were fortunate enough that David's parents purchased the Chicago Explorer Pass for us all, which saved a HUGE amount of money on each individual attraction.

You can select a 3, 4 or 5 attraction pass depending on the length of your trip and there are over 25 attractions to choose from (including The Field Museum, Arts Institute, Willis Tower, Hancock Tower and the Boat Trip as featured here!) so it's well worth a look.



Hopefully this helps if the Windy City is on your bucket list of places to visit, keep an eye out for a food and drink specific post (think pancakes and pizza) coming soon...