5 Travel Ideas for First-Time Visitors to Chicago | Hotel EMC2

5 Travel Ideas for First-Time Visitors to Chicago

Whether you’re visiting Chicago for a few days or a week, there are many attractions to check out. From the food and nightlife to the museums and culture, it can be difficult to decide where to go and what to do. If it’s your first time in Chicago—welcome! Since there are so many attractions and exciting things to do, we’ve created a list of ideas to help first-time visitors best spend their time in the Windy City. 

Visit Millenium Park  

Every Chicago visitor should experience the iconic park that’s located in the heart of the city—Millenium Park. If the weather is nice, have a picnic in the grass and enjoy sights such as Lurie Garden and Crown Fountain. And, of course, make sure to get a picture at Cloud Gate, otherwise known affectionately as “The Bean.” 

Millenium Park also has free concerts and movie showings, great restaurant options, and lots of indoor and outdoor art spectacles. Millennium Park is a place to spend hours at and shouldn’t be missed on your first time in Chicago. 

Experience sports games 

From the Blackhawks to the Bulls, Chicago is home to seven professional sports teams. With many household names in sports, first-timers should catch at least one game in Chicago. Even if you aren’t a fan of baseball, you still may enjoy seeing Wrigley Field—the iconic stadium is one of the oldest in the MLB and is a National Historic Landmark. 

If baseball isn’t for you, the options to see other sports teams go on. You don’t need to plan it out too far in advance either. Last minute tickets can often be purchased on StubHub a few days before games.

Explore Museum Campus

Spanning 57 acres on the lakefront, Museum Campus has a host of attractions that Chicago visitors have flocked to for generations. Museum-goers can experience the Adler Planetarium, Field Museum of Natural History, and Shedd Aquarium, all of which sit beside Soldier Field, home stadium of the Chicago Bears. 

An entire day can be spent exploring Museum Campus so make sure to pack a lunch! Museum Campus is also located right next door to Grant Park, which has great views of the city and makes for an enjoyable walk.   

Go on a pizza tour 

It would take years to try all the delicious pizza in Chicago. However, for food enthusiasts short on time, the Original Pizza Tour may be the best option. Guests get on a small bus and explore multiple pizzerias throughout the day, from the traditional deep dish styles to other types of pizza. In addition to the great food, the bus tours are a great way to learn and see more of Chicago. 

There are other pizza tour options as well. If you don’t want to spend your day on a bus, the Downtown Chicago Walking Pizza Tour will expose you to many of the same types of pizza and take a similar 2-3 hours. 

See Navy Pier 

Navy Pier is the premiere waterfront spot in Chicago. From dining to shopping to games, hours can be spent here. First-timers to Chicago shouldn’t miss out on the attractions that have been bringing people to the Navy Pier for over a century. 

Navy Pier’s famous Centennial Wheel is a ferris wheel that reaches almost 200 feet, offering an incredible view, and is available to ride regardless of the weather, thanks to the enclosed gondolas. Other attractions include the Chicago Children’s Museum, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, and endless culinary options from bakeries to pizza shops. Don’t miss out on these attractions when you visit Chicago!

Planning your trip

Whether you choose to visit Chicago now or in the future, you’ll have a unique and thrilling experience, especially if you are a first-time visitor and you choose to do anything on this list. After you’ve selected how to spend your time, you’ll need to decide where you’ll stay on your trip. Consider booking a room in a boutique hotel like Hotel EMC2, located in the heart of the city in Streeterville. Now you’re ready for your upcoming trip to Chicago.

Need a place to stay when visiting Chicago? Book your reservation here.