Planning to visit Illinois? Make sure you check out some of these famous landmarks in Chicago when you visit.
Chicago, known as “the Windy City,” is more than just deep-dish pizza and notorious gangsters like Al Capone. It is home to many iconic landmarks you should see at least once in your lifetime. So, whether you are a resident or just visiting, there is much to experience there.
10 Famous Landmarks in Chicago to Experience
To make planning your next adventure easier, here are the top 10 landmarks in Chicago to check out for a glimpse into its rich history and culture.
- The Art Institute of Chicago
- Chicago Water Tower
- The Field Museum
- Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House
- Garfield Park Conservatory
- Jane Addams Hull-House Museum
- Kinzie Street Railroad Bridge
- Millennium Park
- The Willis Tower
- Wrigley Field
The Art Institute of Chicago
Address: 111 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL
The Art Institute of Chicago has grown from its original establishment in 1879. Located in downtown Chicago, it offers free admission opportunities for many demographics. Their goal is to share singular collections with residents and visitors worldwide.
The art here spans centuries and cultures, from artists past and present. Their exhibitions and events change throughout the year, helping bring famous work and aspiring pieces to the Art Institute of Chicago for everyone to enjoy. Prepare to spend some time here when in Chicago for an unforgettable experience.
Chicago Water Tower
Address: 806 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago IL
The iconic Chicago Water Tower was built in 1869 to house a mechanical water pump for drawing water out of Lake Michigan. It survived the Great Chicago Fire in 1871, although everything else around it burned to the ground.
Today, the Chicago Water Tower is home to the Chicago Office of Tourism and the City Gallery, a city-run art gallery. It stands as a symbol of rebirth and renewal with Chicago’s “I Will” motto. It is the second-oldest water tower in the United States.
The Field Museum
Address: 1400 S. Lake Shore Dr., Chicago, IL
The Field Museum opened in 1894 with the help of Marshall Field, a prominent and influential businessman in the Chicago area. Known for aiding in expanding the city’s availability of educational and cultural facilities, the Field Museum was born after Chicago hosted the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition.
The Field Museum is home to over 40 million artifacts spanning several sectors, including:
The Field Museum aims to bring the wondrous world of science to its patrons, with over 150 researchers and scientists traveling the globe to find new and exciting artifacts.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House
Address: 5757 S. Woodlawn Ave., Chicago, IL
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a U.S. National Historic Landmark. Construction on the single-family home was finished between 1909 and 1910.
The building now sits on the campus of The University of Chicago. The design was uniquely American and an example of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie style.
The Robie House faced potential demolition several times throughout the years. At the age of 90, Wright himself campaigned to save the building and have it designated as a historic Chicago Landmark. Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House is a piece of iconic architectural history.
Garfield Park Conservatory
Address: 300 N. Central Park Ave., Chicago, IL
The Garfield Park Conservatory originated in 1908, and the Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance was established in 1998. The organization aims to bring awareness of the importance of nature to residents and visitors and to embrace and honor it through the community.
This iconic landmark in Chicago is home to several unique gardens and collections, including:
- Aroid House
- Desert House
- E.M.G. Children’s Garden
- Fern Room
- Horticulture Hall
- Outdoor Gardens
- Palm House
- Show House
- Sugar From the Sun
There is something for visitors of all ages to explore at the Garfield Park Conservatory. From group or family events to adult programs and educational tours, patrons can enjoy the country in the city through several urban oasis glasshouses all year long.
Jane Addams Hull-House Museum
Address: 800 S. Halsted St., Chicago, IL
The Jane Addams Hull-House Museum represents a piece of Chicago’s history that you can explore. It was initially used as a settlement house for European immigrants in the Chicago area in 1889. The Hull-House complex encompassed almost 500 settlement houses by 1920.
Only two of the original buildings remain: the Hull-Home and the Residents’ Dining Hall. The surviving Hull mansion is a U.S. National Historic Landmark and a designated Chicago Landmark. The present-day museum honors the work of the late feminist Jane Addams and other social activists of the time.
Kinzie Street Railroad Bridge
Address: W. Kinzie St., Chicago, IL
The Kinzie Street Railroad Bridge was the first bridge erected over the Chicago River, in 1832. It is a single-leaf moveable bridge. Although it is still considered in operation, it has not been used since 2000. It is lowered and inspected annually and has been a historic Chicago Landmark since 2007.
Until 1999, the Kinzie Street Railroad Bridge was the last moveable bridge with a full-time operator. Consequently, it had one of the lowest water clearances, making it necessary to raise it often – typically, 5,000 times each year – due to water traffic. You can view the bridge on downtown Chicago’s north branch of the Chicago River.
Address: 201 E. Randolph St., Chicago, IL
Millennium Park in Chicago is more than just a favorite attraction for visitors; it is a genuine Chicago experience. The park offers various events and exhibits to explore year-round and is a free arts and culture space for residents and tourists. Twenty million annual visitors at Millenium Park enjoy programs including:
- ArtsSpace Program
- Boeing Galleries
- Cloud Gate (aka The Bean)
- Harris Theatre
- Jay Pritzker Pavillion
- Lurie Garden
- Outdoor Public Art Walking Tour
- Park Art and Architecture
- Yearly Exhibitions
Patrons of Millennium Park can participate in seasonal activities, such as yoga or ice skating, and many other favorite pastimes. One of the most iconic landmarks in the heart of Chicago is The Bean. You can see the city’s skyline reflected on the sculpture’s surface as you enter the park.
Address: 233 S. Wacker Dr., Chicago, IL
The Willis Tower is a famous Chicago skyscraper; its 108 stories provide a unique look at the city. Formerly known as the Sears Tower, the building was completed in 1974. It remains the world’s tallest steel-construction building.
The observation deck, known as the Skydeck, sits on the 103rd floor. More than 1.7 million patrons each year visit the Skydeck, one of Chicago’s most significant tourist attractions.
Address: 1060 W. Addison St., Chicago, IL
Wrigley Field has been one of Chicago’s National Historic Landmarks since 2013. It opened in 1914 as Weeghman Park and underwent several name changes through the years. Between 1920 and 1926, it was known as Cubs Park; it was finally renamed Wrigley Field in 1927.
Visitors can experience a live baseball game or enjoy a guided historical tour of the park, home to the Chicago Cubs for over a century.
Famous Landmarks in Chicago
Whether you live in the Windy City or are just passing through, several famous landmarks in Chicago provide a terrific view of the city’s history and culture. Do you have a favorite out of these, or is a place you explored not on the list? Let us know in the comments.