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10 FABULOUS THINGS TO DO IN DOWNTOWN CHICAGO - BY A CHICAGOAN!

APR 2022
25
10 FABULOUS THINGS TO DO IN DOWNTOWN CHICAGO - BY A CHICAGOAN!

Hope this helps you plan a one-of-a-kind trip through downtown Chicago, a.k.a. The Loop!


Wondering what there is to do in downtown Chicago? Searching for the activities and experiences that Chicago downtown is best known for?


Also known as The Loop, downtown Chicago is a vibrant community in central Chicago that’s well-known for its stunning architecture and its urban vibe.

The 10 best things to do in downtown Chicago

Mix and match from our list below to plan your own itinerary through our downtown.


  • Visit Cloud Gate, a.k.a. ‘The Bean’

  • Visit Millennium Park

  • Check out the activities in Maggie Daley Park

  • Lead your team on an escape room mission at Fox in a Box Escape Room

  • Drink in the magnificence of the Chicago Cultural Center

  • Have a ‘staggering’ experience at the Goose Island Beer Co.

  • Get a unique Chicago view from the 360 Chicago observation deck

  • Catch some music at Buddy Guy's Legends and Jazz Showcase

  • Visit some of the museums (like the Art Institute, the Field Museum, and the MSI)

  • Relax along the Riverwalk

Visit Cloud Gate, a.k.a. ‘The Bean’

A Chicago Loop tour remains incomplete without a visit to The Bean.

Image by Martin Str from Pixabay.


One of Chicago’s premier pieces of public art, the Cloud Gate is a massive stainless steel sculpture by the artist Anish Kapoor. It reflects the Chicago skyline, particularly the clouds, hence the name.


You’ll be amazed at the perfect geometry and the transparence of the installation. Over the years, it’s gained the status of being a Chicago icon.


The Bean - It’s shaped like a bean, hence the nickname. 


A centerpiece of the AT&T Plaza in Millennium Park, the Bean draws all kinds of crowds ranging from Instagrammers searching for the perfect reel to couples looking for romantic photos to curious tourists looking to see for themselves whether it actually lives up to the hype (spoiler alert: it does).


Pro tip: Most people take snaps from the sides. But for a really quirky photo, take one from below it.


Pro tip: Visiting a snow-clad Bean is a popular winter attraction in Chicago.


Website: Visit its webpage on the Millenium Park Foundation website


Address: 201 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60602

Visit Millennium Park

Millennium Park, where The Bean is located, is itself a must-see attraction in downtown Chicago.


Tourists and Chicagoans alike visit the Park to picnic in the gardens, cool off near the fountains, and catch a glimpse of whatever events are being held here…and there’s something or the other always going on.


From families (including their kids) to fitness fanatics, from art lovers to nature enthusiasts and more - there’s something for everyone.


One of the largest attractions in the Park is the Crown Fountain. It’s a black granite reflective pool between a pair of glass brick towers that showcase the faces of a thousand random Chicago residents via LED’s. And the fountain’s water spurts are synchronized with the LED’s so it looks like the faces are spewing water at you.


If you’re looking for some peace and zen, on the other hand, visit the Lurie Garden. There’s plenty of benched hideaways along a tranquil canal that flows through it.

Sit and stare at the colorful expanse of grass and trees swaying gently in the wind. Watch as a bird or two hop along nearby, hoping for crumbs to fall out of your sandwich.


Some of the other Park attractions you should check out are the Jay Pritzker Pavilion and the Boeing Galleries.


Pro tip: There’s a Route 66 (one of the US’ original highways) sign somewhere in the Park. See if you can find it!


Website: Visit its webpage on the City’s website


Address: 201 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60602

Check out the activities in Maggie Daley Park

Looking for physical activities and sports opportunities in the Loop? Exit Millennium Park via the BP Bridge and head for Maggie Daley Park (which lies at the other end).


Try to conquer the two massive climbing walls at the Climbing Park (Chicago’s only such park), under the supervision of trained staff.


Apart from that there is a 18 hole mini golf course, tennis courts, a Fieldhouse that hosts everything from day camp to fitness classes, picnic groves, and a play garden for young children.


If you’re visiting the Park in winter, make sure you check out the Ribbon, a winding skating course that’s a well-known destination for skiing enthusiasts.


Website: Visit their website


Address: 337 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60601


Email: Check their contact page


Phone: Check their contact page

Lead your team on an escape room mission at Fox in a Box Escape Room (that’s us!)

Looking for a thrilling, real-life adventure in downtown Chicago? An experience that you can take part in with your family and friends?


An activity that will put your observation, quick thinking, and teamwork skills to the test?


Then all you have to do is look for the Byline Bank entrance to Union Station, which is where we’re located.


If you haven’t heard of escape room games before, here’s the deal: you and your team will be locked inside a themed space (which may be one room or multiple rooms) for one hour.

You’ll be given a mission objective (for example in our Prison escape room it’s to break out of a maximum security prison).

You have to spot clues, solve puzzles and accomplish tasks to find the way forward till you finally fulfill your mission and escape the room. Remember, you only have 60 minutes to do all that.


Escape rooms are well-known for boosting team skills, and helping families bond.


So, if you’re looking for an adrenaline-filled escapade, a team building activity, or a family bonding event in the Loop, hit us up!


Website: Visit the home page


Contact page: Contact form


Address: 47 W Polk St suite l5 basement, Chicago, IL 60605


Email: info@foxinaboxchicago.com


Phone: (312) 878-7899

Drink in the magnificence of the Chicago Cultural Center

The Chicago Cultural Center is a must-visit in downtown ChicagoImage by Paola Sanchez from Pixabay.


Located on the corner of Randolph and Michigan, across the street from Millenium Park, the Chicago Cultural Center is a Chicago landmark with stunning neoclassical architecture.


A prominent hallmark of the Center is a couple of stained-glass domes that will make you go WOW.


One of the domes, in the Preston Bradley Hall, is a Tiffany dome. Known as the Louis Comfort Tiffany art glass dome, it is the largest Tiffany dome in the world.


Apart from those, you will be amazed by the Doric column entrances, the mahogany doors, the marble walls inlaid with precious stones, and the stairs adorned with mosaics.


The absolutely magnificent architecture aside, the Center holds numerous programs and exhibitions on various aspects of performing, visual and literary arts from time to time…


And best of all, whether you’re just dropping in to wander around, or whether you want to attend some of the events - it’s all free!


Getting to the Cultural Center is a piece of cake; you can reach it via subway (Lake and Washington), trains (Washington/Wabash) and from the Pedway (the Randolph Street entrance).


Tip: The Center has a shop known as Buddy that focuses on smaller and less well-known artisans and manufacturers. You should take a look if you want to support small and local artists and businesses.


Website: Visit their website


Address: 78 E Washington St, Chicago, IL 60602


Phone: (312) 744-5000

Have a ‘staggering’ experience at the Goose Island Beer Co.

article-image-1

Gif via giphy.


All this talk of visiting various landmarks in the Loop making you thirsty? Think some refreshing beverage would be great right about now?


I know just the place you need - the Goose Island Beer Co., located in the heart of downtown Chicago. A must-visit, if you’re keen on tasting the best in beer Chicago has to offer.


It was started as a single brewery in Lincoln Park in 1988 by John Hall (God bless him). He’d been on criss-crossing various countries in Europe and tasting their beers. When he returned to Chicago, he set about putting what he’d experienced and learned to use and set up the brewery.


To their credit, the brewery have maintained the spirit of innovation and excellence that John started the enterprise with. 


Prepare to stagger a bit and be in high spirits, as there’s no way you’ll be able to limit yourself to a single glass (you should of course drink responsibly).


Also on their menu are various food options (pizzas, burgers and the like) and events and festivals.


Website: Visit their website

Get a unique Chicago view from the 360 Chicago observation deck

Wanna have a peek at a panoramic view of the Chicago skyline? Then you must visit the 360 Observation Deck on the 94th floor in the John Hancock Center.


It’s one of the best indoor things to do in Chicago, and for good reason!


Located a THOUSAND feet above ground, and with floor-to-ceiling windows, it gives you an unparalleled view of our skyline. There are interactive screens that will help you identify landmarks.


Want an even more thrilling experience? Check out TILT, a uniquely thrilling ride that will LITERALLY tilt you over Michigan Avenue, offering singular downward views over Michigan Avenue from a height of over a thousand feet.


Thinking of topping all that up with a sumptuous dinner? Visit the Signature Room and Signature Lounge on the floors above.


Website: Visit their website


Contact page: Visit their contact page (enquiry form)


Address: 875 N Michigan Ave 94th floor, Chicago, IL 60611


Phone: (888) 875-8439

Catch some music at Buddy Guy's Legends and Jazz Showcase

You don’t get the full Loop experience till you’ve visited two neighboring music clubs - Buddy Guy’s Legends and Jazz Showcase.


Set up by the legend - Buddy Guy himself (and he still plays there) - Buddy Guy’s Legends is the ultimate Chicago blues destination. They book both newbies AND more well-known performers like Larry Carlton. If you visit, make sure you sample some of the dishes from the New Orleans-inspired menu.


Set up in 1947, Jazz Showcase features local and global acts nightly, and has hosted some of the biggest names in Jazz.

Visit some of the museums (like the Art Institute, the Field Museum, and the MSI)

As I keep saying, Chicago has more than its fair share of museums and institutes where you can have enlightening and entertaining tours.


The Art Institute houses more than 300,000 works of art from all over the world, and from different time periods, ranging from historical eras (like the Byzantine Era) to the 21st  century. They have exhibits you’ll never imagine exist, such as the Arthur Rubloff Collection of over 1400 glass paperweights from different times in history.


The Field Museum has over 30 million specimens and objects, including Sue, their resident T-Rex.


The Museum of Science and Industry where you can do things like stand in front of a 40 ft tornado and clamber abroad a World War II era German submarine.

Relax along the Riverwalk

Round off your downtown Chicago tour with a relaxing walk along the RIverwalk.

Image by Pam Patterson from Pixabay.

You can find a little bit of everything - from restaurants and bars to opportunities for boating and kayaking, from enjoying public art to bird watching and fishing - along the 1.25 mile Riverwalk.


One of the most prominent attractions is Art on theMART, the largest video projection art installation in the world.

Spending your day in downtown Chicago

As you can see, downtown Chicago (which mostly coincides with the Loop) has a lot of exciting activities and experiences that you can enjoy.


Now, we want to hear from you.


Which experience did you enjoy the most? Which other downtown activities do you think should be on this link?


Tell us! We’re on Twitter (@foxinaboxCHI) and on Facebook (@foxinaboxchicago).


Finally, if you found this blog post interesting, bookmark Chicago’s best events and activities blog!


Featured image by Pexels from Pixabay.



  BLOGS
10 FABULOUS THINGS TO DO IN DOWNTOWN CHICAGO - BY A CHICAGOAN!

Hope this helps you plan a one-of-a-kind trip through downtown Chicago, a.k.a. The Loop!


Wondering what there is to do in downtown Chicago? Searching for the activities and experiences that Chicago downtown is best known for?


Also known as The Loop, downtown Chicago is a vibrant community in central Chicago that’s well-known for its stunning architecture and its urban vibe.

The 10 best things to do in downtown Chicago

Mix and match from our list below to plan your own itinerary through our downtown.


  • Visit Cloud Gate, a.k.a. ‘The Bean’

  • Visit Millennium Park

  • Check out the activities in Maggie Daley Park

  • Lead your team on an escape room mission at Fox in a Box Escape Room

  • Drink in the magnificence of the Chicago Cultural Center

  • Have a ‘staggering’ experience at the Goose Island Beer Co.

  • Get a unique Chicago view from the 360 Chicago observation deck

  • Catch some music at Buddy Guy's Legends and Jazz Showcase

  • Visit some of the museums (like the Art Institute, the Field Museum, and the MSI)

  • Relax along the Riverwalk

Visit Cloud Gate, a.k.a. ‘The Bean’

A Chicago Loop tour remains incomplete without a visit to The Bean.

Image by Martin Str from Pixabay.


One of Chicago’s premier pieces of public art, the Cloud Gate is a massive stainless steel sculpture by the artist Anish Kapoor. It reflects the Chicago skyline, particularly the clouds, hence the name.


You’ll be amazed at the perfect geometry and the transparence of the installation. Over the years, it’s gained the status of being a Chicago icon.


The Bean - It’s shaped like a bean, hence the nickname. 


A centerpiece of the AT&T Plaza in Millennium Park, the Bean draws all kinds of crowds ranging from Instagrammers searching for the perfect reel to couples looking for romantic photos to curious tourists looking to see for themselves whether it actually lives up to the hype (spoiler alert: it does).


Pro tip: Most people take snaps from the sides. But for a really quirky photo, take one from below it.


Pro tip: Visiting a snow-clad Bean is a popular winter attraction in Chicago.


Website: Visit its webpage on the Millenium Park Foundation website


Address: 201 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60602

Visit Millennium Park

Millennium Park, where The Bean is located, is itself a must-see attraction in downtown Chicago.


Tourists and Chicagoans alike visit the Park to picnic in the gardens, cool off near the fountains, and catch a glimpse of whatever events are being held here…and there’s something or the other always going on.


From families (including their kids) to fitness fanatics, from art lovers to nature enthusiasts and more - there’s something for everyone.


One of the largest attractions in the Park is the Crown Fountain. It’s a black granite reflective pool between a pair of glass brick towers that showcase the faces of a thousand random Chicago residents via LED’s. And the fountain’s water spurts are synchronized with the LED’s so it looks like the faces are spewing water at you.


If you’re looking for some peace and zen, on the other hand, visit the Lurie Garden. There’s plenty of benched hideaways along a tranquil canal that flows through it.

Sit and stare at the colorful expanse of grass and trees swaying gently in the wind. Watch as a bird or two hop along nearby, hoping for crumbs to fall out of your sandwich.


Some of the other Park attractions you should check out are the Jay Pritzker Pavilion and the Boeing Galleries.


Pro tip: There’s a Route 66 (one of the US’ original highways) sign somewhere in the Park. See if you can find it!


Website: Visit its webpage on the City’s website


Address: 201 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60602

Check out the activities in Maggie Daley Park

Looking for physical activities and sports opportunities in the Loop? Exit Millennium Park via the BP Bridge and head for Maggie Daley Park (which lies at the other end).


Try to conquer the two massive climbing walls at the Climbing Park (Chicago’s only such park), under the supervision of trained staff.


Apart from that there is a 18 hole mini golf course, tennis courts, a Fieldhouse that hosts everything from day camp to fitness classes, picnic groves, and a play garden for young children.


If you’re visiting the Park in winter, make sure you check out the Ribbon, a winding skating course that’s a well-known destination for skiing enthusiasts.


Website: Visit their website


Address: 337 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60601


Email: Check their contact page


Phone: Check their contact page

Lead your team on an escape room mission at Fox in a Box Escape Room (that’s us!)

Looking for a thrilling, real-life adventure in downtown Chicago? An experience that you can take part in with your family and friends?


An activity that will put your observation, quick thinking, and teamwork skills to the test?


Then all you have to do is look for the Byline Bank entrance to Union Station, which is where we’re located.


If you haven’t heard of escape room games before, here’s the deal: you and your team will be locked inside a themed space (which may be one room or multiple rooms) for one hour.

You’ll be given a mission objective (for example in our Prison escape room it’s to break out of a maximum security prison).

You have to spot clues, solve puzzles and accomplish tasks to find the way forward till you finally fulfill your mission and escape the room. Remember, you only have 60 minutes to do all that.


Escape rooms are well-known for boosting team skills, and helping families bond.


So, if you’re looking for an adrenaline-filled escapade, a team building activity, or a family bonding event in the Loop, hit us up!


Website: Visit the home page


Contact page: Contact form


Address: 47 W Polk St suite l5 basement, Chicago, IL 60605


Email: info@foxinaboxchicago.com


Phone: (312) 878-7899

Drink in the magnificence of the Chicago Cultural Center

The Chicago Cultural Center is a must-visit in downtown ChicagoImage by Paola Sanchez from Pixabay.


Located on the corner of Randolph and Michigan, across the street from Millenium Park, the Chicago Cultural Center is a Chicago landmark with stunning neoclassical architecture.


A prominent hallmark of the Center is a couple of stained-glass domes that will make you go WOW.


One of the domes, in the Preston Bradley Hall, is a Tiffany dome. Known as the Louis Comfort Tiffany art glass dome, it is the largest Tiffany dome in the world.


Apart from those, you will be amazed by the Doric column entrances, the mahogany doors, the marble walls inlaid with precious stones, and the stairs adorned with mosaics.


The absolutely magnificent architecture aside, the Center holds numerous programs and exhibitions on various aspects of performing, visual and literary arts from time to time…


And best of all, whether you’re just dropping in to wander around, or whether you want to attend some of the events - it’s all free!


Getting to the Cultural Center is a piece of cake; you can reach it via subway (Lake and Washington), trains (Washington/Wabash) and from the Pedway (the Randolph Street entrance).


Tip: The Center has a shop known as Buddy that focuses on smaller and less well-known artisans and manufacturers. You should take a look if you want to support small and local artists and businesses.


Website: Visit their website


Address: 78 E Washington St, Chicago, IL 60602


Phone: (312) 744-5000

Have a ‘staggering’ experience at the Goose Island Beer Co.

article-image-1

Gif via giphy.


All this talk of visiting various landmarks in the Loop making you thirsty? Think some refreshing beverage would be great right about now?


I know just the place you need - the Goose Island Beer Co., located in the heart of downtown Chicago. A must-visit, if you’re keen on tasting the best in beer Chicago has to offer.


It was started as a single brewery in Lincoln Park in 1988 by John Hall (God bless him). He’d been on criss-crossing various countries in Europe and tasting their beers. When he returned to Chicago, he set about putting what he’d experienced and learned to use and set up the brewery.


To their credit, the brewery have maintained the spirit of innovation and excellence that John started the enterprise with. 


Prepare to stagger a bit and be in high spirits, as there’s no way you’ll be able to limit yourself to a single glass (you should of course drink responsibly).


Also on their menu are various food options (pizzas, burgers and the like) and events and festivals.


Website: Visit their website

Get a unique Chicago view from the 360 Chicago observation deck

Wanna have a peek at a panoramic view of the Chicago skyline? Then you must visit the 360 Observation Deck on the 94th floor in the John Hancock Center.


It’s one of the best indoor things to do in Chicago, and for good reason!


Located a THOUSAND feet above ground, and with floor-to-ceiling windows, it gives you an unparalleled view of our skyline. There are interactive screens that will help you identify landmarks.


Want an even more thrilling experience? Check out TILT, a uniquely thrilling ride that will LITERALLY tilt you over Michigan Avenue, offering singular downward views over Michigan Avenue from a height of over a thousand feet.


Thinking of topping all that up with a sumptuous dinner? Visit the Signature Room and Signature Lounge on the floors above.


Website: Visit their website


Contact page: Visit their contact page (enquiry form)


Address: 875 N Michigan Ave 94th floor, Chicago, IL 60611


Phone: (888) 875-8439

Catch some music at Buddy Guy's Legends and Jazz Showcase

You don’t get the full Loop experience till you’ve visited two neighboring music clubs - Buddy Guy’s Legends and Jazz Showcase.


Set up by the legend - Buddy Guy himself (and he still plays there) - Buddy Guy’s Legends is the ultimate Chicago blues destination. They book both newbies AND more well-known performers like Larry Carlton. If you visit, make sure you sample some of the dishes from the New Orleans-inspired menu.


Set up in 1947, Jazz Showcase features local and global acts nightly, and has hosted some of the biggest names in Jazz.

Visit some of the museums (like the Art Institute, the Field Museum, and the MSI)

As I keep saying, Chicago has more than its fair share of museums and institutes where you can have enlightening and entertaining tours.


The Art Institute houses more than 300,000 works of art from all over the world, and from different time periods, ranging from historical eras (like the Byzantine Era) to the 21st  century. They have exhibits you’ll never imagine exist, such as the Arthur Rubloff Collection of over 1400 glass paperweights from different times in history.


The Field Museum has over 30 million specimens and objects, including Sue, their resident T-Rex.


The Museum of Science and Industry where you can do things like stand in front of a 40 ft tornado and clamber abroad a World War II era German submarine.

Relax along the Riverwalk

Round off your downtown Chicago tour with a relaxing walk along the RIverwalk.

Image by Pam Patterson from Pixabay.

You can find a little bit of everything - from restaurants and bars to opportunities for boating and kayaking, from enjoying public art to bird watching and fishing - along the 1.25 mile Riverwalk.


One of the most prominent attractions is Art on theMART, the largest video projection art installation in the world.

Spending your day in downtown Chicago

As you can see, downtown Chicago (which mostly coincides with the Loop) has a lot of exciting activities and experiences that you can enjoy.


Now, we want to hear from you.


Which experience did you enjoy the most? Which other downtown activities do you think should be on this link?


Tell us! We’re on Twitter (@foxinaboxCHI) and on Facebook (@foxinaboxchicago).


Finally, if you found this blog post interesting, bookmark Chicago’s best events and activities blog!


Featured image by Pexels from Pixabay.



  BLOGS