Known as the Second City, visitors to Chicago find the usual tourist fare in world-renowned museums, art, theater and vibrant nightlife venues. Chicago also has its share of unusual and lesser-known attractions that don’t always make it on a traveler’s must-see list. Whether you are looking for the usual or something a little different, Chicago has it all.
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Culture, Education and Art
World-famous museums dot the Chicago landscape. The Field Museum is full of Egyptian artifacts and tombs. It’s also home to Sue, an exact replica cast of the largest and best-preserved T-Rex ever discovered. Over 300,000 French Impressionist drawings, paintings and other works of art are displayed at the Art Institute of Chicago. A living museum, the Chicago Botanical Garden has year-round exhibits that feature lake and island gardens.
The Second City Comedy Club is famous for its innovative approach to comedy and impressive alumni. Tina Fey, Steve Carrell, John Candy, Stephen Colbert and hundreds of other comedians honed their skills at Second City. Visitors can see a variety of shows at Second City and budding comedians can sign up for classes.
Shopping choices are plentiful at Chicago’s Magnificent Mile. With over 460 stores in a 13-block stretch off of North Michigan Avenue, you can find anything from discount souvenirs to designer bags and clothing.
Authentic Chicago-style pizza is a tourist must-try. Invented in 1943, Chicago-style is a deep-dish pizza with a Chicago touch. Other dining-out options includes Greek, Italian, Indian, Thai and Chinese restaurants with everything from a casual to elegant atmosphere.
A Different Side of Chicago
There is no end to your choices if you are looking for something different to do in Chicago. From the bizarre to the morbid, there’s something for everyone.
Uncle Fun, located on West Belmont, is a self-proclaimed “unique purveyor of fine goods and accessories designed to restore your whimsical nature.” Full of gags, toys and just plain unusual gifts, Uncle Fun is a store that is well worth a visit.
If you have always wanted to see what a million dollars looks like, a visit to the United States Federal Reserve Bank on South LaSalle is in order. The Money Museum is full of facts about money, with exhibits that include counterfeiting, historical currency and inflation displays.
A visit to the site of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre takes you back to the mob’s Chicago heyday. On February 14, 1929, Al Capone’s gang massacred seven men from the Bugs Moran gang. Some visitors report hearing ghostly screams and the sound of gunfire.
Continuing with the outlaw theme, the Biograph Theater stands at the intersection of North Lincoln Avenue and West Fullerton. In 1934, the FBI killed public Enemy Number 1, John Dillinger, outside the theater after he attended a film with the notorious “Woman in Red.”
The International Museum of Surgical Science on North Lake Shore Drive is not for the squeamish. The permanent exhibit includes surgical instruments used throughout the centuries and the museum features various rotating exhibits of a surgical nature.
Chicago is home to a surprising variety of interesting attractions. Great food, cultural venues and lots of fun make Chicago a great place to visit.