"Make no little plans"

Famed Chicago urban planner Daniel Burnham once remarked, “Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men's blood. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work.” When exploring all that Chicago has to offer―from ballet to baseball and Picasso to pizza—it pays to make big plans.

Dining out

Chicago is a city of neighborhoods, and each offers its own, distinct cuisine—from Little Italy and Greektown to Pilsen’s Mexican fare and Devon Avenue’s Indian restaurants. The city center is home to James Beard Award winners and restaurants of culinary celebrities, and these top dining spots coexist with environmentally friendly establishments. The city’s many specialties include soul food, Chicago-style pizza, and hot dogs.

  • Visit the places President Barack Obama frequents when he’s in his hometown.
  • For a guide to the Chicago restaurant scene, go to the Illinois Restaurant Associations’ Dining Chicago site.
  • Learn where to sample Chicago’s best-known specialties, Chicago-style pizza and hot dogs.

Nightlife and music

For the after-dinner set, the city has a wide variety of bars and clubs. In addition to Chicago blues, music venues offer performers that run the gamut from jazz to rock, making Chicago one of the best cities for live music in the world. Explore the club listings to find the right place for you.

Shopping

A stroll down Michigan Avenue’s Magnificent Mile offers even the most experienced shoppers something new. Chicago’s four hundred specialty boutiques feature the latest styles from the world’s top designers. The "Loop" area of downtown Chicago also offers a host of shopping opportunities.

Arts and Culture

The Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum of Contemporary Art showcase distinctive collections from the world’s masters, while the vibrant performing arts scene comes alive at the famed Symphony Center and throughout the downtown Theatre District. Go to choosechicago.com for more information and complete listing of cultural institutions and performances. The Chicago Architecture Foundation offers a series of tours on boat, bus, and foot for those want to explore the city's famed architectural gems.

Museums

The 26 miles of lakefront provide a picturesque backdrop for the city’s museums: the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum  in Lincoln Park on the North Side and the Museum of Science and Industry in Hyde Park on the South Side are anchored in the center by the Museum Campus (featuring the Field Museum and Shedd Aquarium) just east of downtown.

Chicago has dozens of museums, including the Chicago History Museum, the DuSable Museum of African-American History, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the National Museum of Mexican Art, the Polish Museum of America, the Swedish Museum of America, and the Bronzeville Children's Museum, the first and only African-American children's museum in the country. A complete list of the city's museums can be found at Explore Chicago.

Neighborhoods

Chicago has 77 distinct community areas and diverse neighborhoods, which are filled with museums, cafes, and unique shops. From Bronzeville to Beverly and from Greek Town to the Gold Coast, Chicago offers a mosaic of experiences. Explore our community and understand why Chicago is called "the city of neighborhoods."

If you get overwhelmed, the city’s two official visitor centers are located at 163 E. Pearson and 77 E. Randolph.

Beyond the City Limits

The State of Illinois offers scores of museums, historic sites and outdoor attractions, including seven spectacular scenic byways for those who love a car trip. The state's most popular destinations include the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum in Springfield; the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio in Oak Park; and the Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home and Visitors Center in Dixon. Information on these and other adventures can be found at Enjoy Illinois.