5 Sites Worth Visiting in Chicago this Spring and Summer

tulips in Chicago

Chicago has a bad rap for being windy (it’s the “windy city” after all) and cold. But when spring and summer roll through it’s a great destination for families. Chicago is one of the most affordable large cities and many attractions are free or very low cost. Not to mention, getting here is easy via plane, train, or car. If you’re planning a visit in the coming months, keep these attractions in mind. They’re great for the whole family.

The Lincoln Park Zoo is a part of the Chicago Parks District and is free to visit. There are hundreds of different types of animals from domestic goats and ducks to exotic animals like lions and rhinos. Daily educational activities and special events for both kids and adults are held on-site. If you plan on visiting around Easter, there are events all weekend long that include an egg hunt, treats, crafts, and free train and carousel rides.

Chicago’s most well-known attraction might be the Field Museum, and it’s for a good reason – natural history has never been so interesting! While not a free attraction, an all access pass can be purchased for $31 for adults and $21 for kids – and includes access to all exhibits, plus the 3D movie Titans of the Ice Age. Other passes are available for specific exhibits. If you’re looking for a really amazing experience, you can spend the night camping in the dinosaur exhibit!

field museum

Chicago might not seem like a great destination for an aquarium but the Shedd Aquarium is one of the best. More than 32,000 animals are on display including whales, otters, dolphins, penguins, and sharks. Exhibits are broken down into geographic areas and there are shows and educational displays daily. Book online tickets to get the best prices ahead of your visit.

If you know you’ll want to visit the Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum, Skydeck of the John Hancock Building, and more then consider a City Pass. For less than $100 you get access to 5 museums. While there are plenty of free activities, this is a great option if you want to save money and still visit the destinations that have paid access.

There are no shortage of water based tours in Chicago. With Lake Michigan and the Chicago River as prominent features, it makes sense to take advantage. You may want to wait until the weather warms up to take the Water Taxi, an economical and fun way to see Chicago by boat. Board at any of the depots and make your way through town.

chicago water

Chinatown is a stop on the water taxi and a place well worth visiting. Featuring great ethnic food, shops, and historical architecture it’s not to be missed. Take some time to walk around and explore. Aji Ichiban is a great candy store that kids will love to explore, and don’t forget to stop at Saint’s Alp Teahouse for the most delicious bubble tea around.


  1. massholemommy says

    I have never been to Chicago, but it's one of those places that I have always wanted to visit. There is so much to do there and I definitely want to get there someday soon!

  2. Chavonne H says

    Wow Chicago looks like a great city! I like that it's an affordable city with low cost things to do! I'd love to visit The Lincoln Zoo, can't believe it's free! I wish all zoo's were then I'd be having so much fun!
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  3. I've never been to Chicago before but now I now know a few places to visit if I ever do go there. Thanks for sharing.
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  4. I love Chicago. I drove there in a snow storm from Kansas City. Brilliant move on my part but it was fun.

  5. Oh I want to visit the Museums! I've heard a lot about them and they would definitely make it onto my list of must see if I were to ever visit Chicago.

  6. I also have never been to Chicago, I live in Michigan so I could make it a day trip. I think I would enjoy the free zoo as well.
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  7. Ashley Bunker says

    I've never been to Chicago but would love to go someday.

  8. My husband and I hit all those – plus the Art Institute on our first trip together years ago. I can't wait to bring the kids! I love Chicago.
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  9. Wow, those all look like really fun places to visit. I can't believe the zoo offers free admission. Ours costs $15 per person! Plus, that is only if you are lucky enough to be able to stand waiting in the huge line on the weekends.
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  10. becca112971 says

    Sounds like wonderful sites to visit and should I ever make it that way I'll be sure to visit.

  11. I have only been to Chicago in the winter. I would love to go with my family in the spring and see some of these sites.
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  12. Nicole Brady says

    We have a membership at our local museum and it includes reciprocal admission to the Field Museum as well as several others. Love Chicago. Soooo much to do!
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  13. Helene Bludman says

    I was in Chicago last summer and loved it. What a beautiful city. I can't wait to go back.

  14. Amber Nelson says

    I've been to Chicago but never to actually sight see.
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  15. Jennifer Williams says

    I have only been there once but would love to visit as I have friends there. It is such a beautiful city, I will share this with my friends and see if they have visited these places.
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  16. toughcookiemommy says

    We visited Chicago last summer and it was absolutely magnificent. I look forward to going back in the future.
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  17. casavilorainteriors says

    I would definitely love to visit Chicago when it is not so cold. Some friends of mine just moved there too

  18. I have never been to Chicago but sounds like there is a lot to do.I would love to visit one day.
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  19. I've never been there. It is one of the cities I've always thought it would be interesting to visit.

  20. Oh how I love Chicago. 🙂

    I've been to Shedd, it is a cool aquarium. They had beluga whales when we went and I thought that was amazing.

  21. Toni Patton says

    I love Chicago. I went for BlogHer in 2009 and fell in love with the city. I would love to go back and venture to other places.
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  22. I have never been to Chicago before! However, my goal is to travel to all 50 states so it shall be done!
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  23. kristentoneycampbell says

    It's been several years since I've been to Chicago, but I loved it! Great ideas here!
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  24. Ashley Gill says

    I have always wanted to go to Chicago. This post makes that itch a little stronger!

  25. As many times as I've been to Chicago and it's hundreds, I've never done anything on the water. I can't believe it. I've done everything else you mentioned though.
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  26. I've driven through Chicago but I've never stopped at most of the spots. Some day, some day!

  27. I've never been to the US, but I plan on going to every single state when I do. Chicago is now moving up on my list because of this post!
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  28. The Museum is one of the places I would go see first if I get the chance to visit Chicago! So many beautiful places!!
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  29. Winery tours SF says

    Chicago is a wonderful place to visit! It offers a variety of activities and attractions. It is compact, easy to navigate on foot and by public transportation and it’s full of surprises. Thanks for the share!

  30. I have only been to Chicago for 1ish days and I loved it!

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