Fun Things to do in Chicago
AACAP’s 66th Annual Meeting is just around the corner! Whether you’re bringing the family, laser-focused on our high-quality programs, or somewhere in between, we have scoped out the best that our destination has to offer and have highlighted important information here.
Save with Chicago CityPASS
Save 50% or more at some of Chicago’s best attractions: Shedd Aquarium, Skydeck Chicago, Field Museum, Adler Planetarium OR Art Institute of Chicago, and Museum of Science and Industry OR 360 CHICAGO. Valid for 9 consecutive days.
Chicago’s food options are as diverse as the city itself. You’ll find something for everyone, from crave-worthy cheap eats to world-renowned fine dining.
At one of the world’s largest indoor aquariums, you’ll meet 32,500 creatures from aquatic habitats around the world. Explore Shedd’s Abbott Oceanarium, where you can get face to face with beluga whales, dolphins, sea otters, sea lions, and penguins. Polar Play Zone is a permanent exhibit where kids and their families can play, pretend, and discover through hands-on activities. Check out the aquatic show and don’t forget to say hi to Granddad, the oldest fish in any aquarium or zoo!
Address: 1200 S. Lake Shore Drive
Hours: Weekdays, 9:00 am–5:00 pm
Weekends, 9:00 am–6:00 pm
Children (3-11): $29.95
Chicago adult residents: $19.95
Chicago child residents: $14.95
Completed in 1974,the Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) in Chicago was the tallest building in the world for nearly 25 years. At the top of the Willis Tower, the Ledge at Skydeck Chicago is at your feet. Dare to stand out on the 103rd floor, with never-before-seen views. Enjoy 360-degree views spanning up to 50 miles and 4 states.
Address: 233 South Wacker Drive, Enter Skydeck on Franklin St. (east side of building)
Hours: Sunday to Friday, 10:00 am–8:00 pm
Saturday, 9:30 am–9:00 pm
Children (3-11): $17
Children under 3 are FREE!
Chicago Children’s Museum
There are floors of fun for children, from birth through early-elementary school, and their families to learn and play together. Climb on the schooner, hide in a tree house, construct a skyscraper, tinker with real tools, fish in a river, explore art, and so much more.
Address: 700 E. Grand Ave
Hours: Friday to Wednesday, 10:00 am–5:00 pm
Thursday: 10:00 am–8:00 pm
Children under 1 are FREE!
The Field Museum
Discover Sue, the world's largest and most complete T. Rex ever found! Descend into an Egyptian tomb and see 23 Egyptian mummies and 5,000-year-old hieroglyphics, shrink to 1/100th of your natural size and get a bug's-eye view in Underground Adventure, come nose-to-nose with the man-eating lions of Tsavo, walk among dinosaurs in Evolving Planet, or explore 13,000 years of history from the Ice Age Mammoth hunters to the temples of the Aztecs in the Ancient Americas Hall.
Address: 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive
Hours: Open daily from 9:00 am–5:00 pm
Children (ages 3-11): $17
Visit the Tickets page for entry to special exhibits and films!
The Adler Planetarium—America’s First Planetarium—is more than a museum; it is a laboratory, a classroom, and a community exploring the Universe together. It’s home to interactive exhibitions, live planetarium shows, hands-on, minds-on STEM education programs, and world-class collections.
Address: 1300 S. Lake Shore Drive
Hours: Open daily from 9:00 am–4:00 pm
Children (ages 3-11): $8
Visit the Tickets page for entry to special exhibits and films!
Museum of Science and Industry
The Museum of Science and Industry is the largest science museum in the Western Hemisphere! You’ll experience 14 acres of mind-blowing, hands-on exhibits and have the chance to navigate through a mirror maze; manipulate a 40-foot tornado; climb aboard a World War II German submarine; take a run in a human-sized hamster wheel; descend into an Illinois coal mine; board a 727 hanging from the ceiling; transmit your pulse to a 13-foot, 3-D, beating heart; and much more!
Address: 5700 S. Lake Shore Drive
Hours: Open daily from 9:30 am–4:00 pm
Children (ages 3-11): $12.95
Visit the Tickets page for online discounts and entry to special exhibits!
Soaring 1,000 feet over Chicago’s legendary Michigan Avenue and located on the 94th floor of the John Hancock Center, 360 CHICAGO offers breathtaking views of Chicago’s lakefront, magnificent skyline, and four neighboring states. 360 CHICAGO is also the only place where locals and visitors alike can enjoy TILT–Chicago’s highest thrill ride. This one-of-a-kind marvel tilts guests out and over the city from the 94th floor observation deck and provides the most thrilling views of Chicago.
Address: 875 North Michigan Ave, 94th Floor
Hours: Open daily from 9:00 am–11:00 pm
Children (ages 3-11): $15
Children under 3 are FREE!
Lincoln Park Zoo
Lincoln Park Zoo is free, open, and amazing every day of the year. Visitors can go nose-to-nose with gorillas and chimpanzees, howl with red wolves, peer into a black bear den and immerse themselves in the sights and sounds of Africa with wild dogs, pygmy hippos, and black rhinos. Beyond providing a wild home to hundreds of species, Lincoln Park Zoo also operates one of the largest zoo-based conservation and science programs in the country.
Address: 2001 N. Clark Street
Hours: Open daily from 10:00 am–5:00 pm
Admission: FREE for all!
Millennium Park, which is an easy walk from the Hyatt Regency Chicago, is an award-winning center for art, music, architecture, and landscape design. Its prominent features are the Frank Gehry-designed Jay Pritzker Pavilion, the most sophisticated outdoor concert venue of its kind in the United States; the interactive Crown Fountain; the contemporary Lurie Garden; and Anish Kapoor's hugely popular Cloud Gate sculpture, affectionately known as “The Bean.”
The Magnificent Mile is a spectacular showcase of style, flavor, entertainment and fun. With more than 460 stores, 275 restaurants, 60 hotels, and unique entertainment and attractions packed and stacked along its length, The Magnificent Mile has an indulgence for every passion and every pocket.
Open since 2016, this 1.25-mile-long path stretches from Lake Shore Drive to Lake Street and is lined with ample spaces to eat, drink, and play! If you’re feeling adventurous, hop on a cruise to take in the spectacular views of Chicago skyscrapers from the water.
Chicago Architecture Center and Tours
Visit iconic skyscrapers, elegant hotels, or the legendary houses of Frank Lloyd Wright. With more than 85 tours to choose from, leaving from the building next to the Hyatt Regency Chicago, we won't blame you if you can't pick just one.
Every year, over 8 million visitors stop by the Historic Navy Pier, Chicago's lakefront playground with over 50 acres of parks, shops, restaurants, entertainment, and attractions. Enjoy a ride on the Ferris Wheel, musical carousel, Wave Swinger, and miniature golf course, or hop on a tour boat or dining cruise ship.
Home to the Chicago Cubs who won the World Series Championship in 2016. This is the second-oldest ballpark in the major leagues. The ivy-lined outfield walls, historic man-operated scoreboard, and the bleacher bums rallying the team to victory, makes catching a game at Wrigley a must stop for any sports fan.
Home to Chicago’s football team since 1924, the historic stadium is the oldest in the NFL. Tailgate and take in the football action.
Sleep when you get home! From dance clubs to cocktail lounges, comedy stages to craft beer havens, you'll find it all — and more — so get ready.
No stranger to nightlife, Chicago is quite the tippling town. You can tour and taste locally-made spirits, such as, vodka from CH Distillery and whiskey from KOVAL Distillery. If it's a pint you seek, the craft brew scene can't be beat. Local breweries — from the masters at Goose Island to award-winners like Piece and Revolution Brewing — have set up shop downtown and across the neighborhoods.
And if you like to laugh, you've come to the right place. Chicago’s comedy scene is responsible for launching the careers of such famous performers as John Belushi, Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, Tina Fey and many others. From traditional stand-up to competitive improv to sketch, find it at The Second City, Zanies, ComedySportz and Chicago's other top comedy clubs.
Arts and Culture
Art Institute of Chicago
No trip to Chicago is complete without a visit to the Art Institute, within walking distance of the Hyatt Regency Chicago. The Art Institute of Chicago is home to the greatest collection of Impressionist paintings outside of Paris, including works by Monet, Renoir, Seurat, and Van Gogh. With a wide variety of special exhibitions, daily gallery tours, performance programs, and more, the Art Institute has something for everyone!
Address: 111 S. Michigan Avenue
Hours: Friday to Wednesday, 10:30 am–5:00 pm
Thursday, 10:30 am–8:00 pm
Seniors/students/teens (ages 14-17): $19
Children under 14 are FREE!
Visit the Admission page for special discounts for Chicago and Illinois residents!
Chicago Cultural Center
Chicago’s acclaimed landmark home of the arts. Daily programs and exhibitions covering a wide range of the performing, visual, and literary arts are presented by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs. Gaze at the world's largest Tiffany stained-glass dome and beautifully ornate multi-colored mosaics, marble, and molding during guided architectural tours.
Address: 78 E. Washington Street
Hours: Monday to Friday, 10:00 am–7:00 pm
Saturday and Sunday, 10:00 am–5:00 pm
Chicago is a melting pot, and there’s no better place to explore its history and the key role immigrants have played than the city’s fascinating ethnic museums. From Swedish settlers who came over on steamships to Mexican immigrants who infused the city with their vibrant arts and heritage, you’ll discover that Chicago’s tapestry is woven with many colorful cultures.
National Museum of Mexican Art
Address: 1852 W. 19th Street
Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 10:00 am–5:00 pm
Swedish American Museum
Address: 5211 N. Clark Street
Hours: Monday to Friday, 10:00 am–4:00 pm
Saturday and Sunday, 11:00 am–4:00 pm
Families (2 adults and 3 children under 18): $10
National Hellenic Museum
Address: 333 S. Halsted Street
Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, 11:00 am–5:00 pm
Thursday, 11:00 am–8:00 pm
Saturday and Sunday, 11:00 am–5:00 pm
Children (ages 3-12): $7
Children under 3 are FREE!
National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture
Address: 3015 W. Division Street
Hours: Tuesday to Friday, 10:00 am–5:00 pm
Saturday, 10:00 am–2:00 pm
Ukrainian National Museum of Chicago
Address: 2249 W. Superior Street
Hours: Thursday to Sunday: 11:00 am–4:00 pm
The Polish Museum of America
Address: 984 N. Milwaukee Ave
Hours: Friday to Tuesday, 11:00 am–4:00 pm
Wednesday, 11:00 am–7:00 pm
Chinese-American Museum of Chicago
Address: 238 W. 23rd Street
Hours: Tuesday to Friday, 9:30 am–2:00 pm
Saturday and Sunday, 10:00 am–4:00 pm
Suggested donation for adults and children: $5
Suggested donation for students and seniors: $3
Dusable Museum of African American History
Address: 740 E. 56th Place
Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 10:00 am–5:00 pm
Sunday, 12:00 pm–5:00 pm
Children under 5 are FREE!
Visit the Admission Information page for discounted rates for Chicago residents.
Broadway in Chicago
Broadway In Chicago is a collective of theaters located in and around the Loop, each of them staging unforgettable productions all year long. Be dazzled by everything from world premieres and Tony Award® winners, to long-running musical mega-hits. In October, catch Tony Award-winning shows like Hamilton at the CIBC Theatre or Oslo at the Broadway Playhouse.
Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier
Chicago Shakespeare Theater is a global theatrical force, known for vibrant productions that reflect Shakespeare’s genius for storytelling, language, and empathy for the human condition. The Theater has been honored with numerous national and international awards, including the Regional Theatre Tony Award, three Laurence Olivier Awards, and eighty-five Joseph Jefferson Awards. This fall, the Theater lineup will feature The King’s Speech, the remarkable true story that inspired the Academy Award-winning film.
For more information about the many, many other amazing Chicago attractions and must-sees, please visit: https://www.choosechicago.com/things-to-do/