This vibrant city of art, culture, and industry is also a treasure trove of storied sites.
While you’re enjoying public art at Millennium Park and savoring deep-dish pizza, make time to check out some of Chicago’s coolest historical spots.
The Chicago River runs through the center of the city.
Head to the McCormick Bridgehouse and Chicago River Museum for a piece of living history.
The McCormick bridgehouse is one of four on the iconic Michigan Avenue Bridge, a two-decker drawbridge built in 1920.
Tenders in the four houses monitored the traffic on the river, raising the bridge to let tall boats through.
Today the ornate, five-story bridgehouse is a museum dedicated to the city’s famous movable bridges.
On the west side of the city is a Chicago landmark that played an important role in the city’s meatpacking industry.
The Fulton Market District was a thriving commercial and industrial center.
It was also the site of the violent 1886 Haymarket riot, which was a significant event in the American labor movement.
Today upscale restaurants, swanky shops, and architecturally arresting bars occupy the former warehouses —all worth a visit.
On the south side of Chicago is Jackson Park, the home of the 1893 World’s Fair
There innovations such as the Ferris wheel and moving walkway made their debut.
Most of the fair’s buildings were temporary, but two still stand today.
The fair’s Palace of Fine Arts is now the home of the Museum of Science and Industry, the largest science museum in the Western Hemisphere.
You can’t visit Chicago without taking a trip up its most iconic landmark: the Willis Tower, also known as the Sears Tower.
Dominating the Chicago skyline, this 110-story, 1,450-foot, steel-and-gas skyscraper was the tallest building in the world for 25 years.
Today it’s the second tallest in the Northern Hemisphere, surpassed only by One World Trade Center in New York. From the 103rd-floor Skydeck, on a clear day, visitors can see sweeping views of the city, and feel the tower sway up to six inches in the wind.
From shimmering skyscrapers to World’s Fair wonders, Chicago has enough historical treasures to keep modern explorers intrigued for days.