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Chicago summers are as beautiful as they come. Several former Booth students have asked me for the “can’t miss” things to do in Chicago in the summertime before they leave for their next travel adventures and life phase. As such, here is the list of Chicago’s greatest tourist “hits” for the summer season (as of August 2022):
Take an Architectural Boat Tour of the City on the River!
Spending 1-2 hours on the Chicago River, going through the lochs to Lake Michigan, and learning about the city’s rich history through the lens of its buildings is probably the single most fun touristy trip to do in the city. On a warm afternoon, it’s simply balmy and beautiful. TripAdvisor has a great list of tour providers here.
The Art Institute of Chicago
Not only is it one of Chicago’s most esteemed institutions, but the Art Institute is considered one of the finest museums in the world. Whether enjoying a glimpse of a Georgia O’Keefe tucked away in a stairwell, breathtaking paintings by Impressionists or Expressionists, or a world-renowned/traveled special exhibit, it is virtually impossible not to enjoy the escape into art for hours at the Art Institute. A short walk away is the gorgeous “Bean” (Cloud Gate by Anish Kapoor) and Buckingham Fountain.
The Museum Campus
Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium and Planetarium of Chicago…each is a worthwhile spot. Connected via beautiful walking paths- pick your theme: archaeology, ocean, sea, or riverlife, or the galaxy. Each museum of Chicago’s Museum Campus overdelivers. Full stop.
Wrigley Field
America’s second oldest ball park (to Fenway in Boston), and steeped in traditiona and Ivy, there is no more iconic summer experience in Chicago than to see the Chicago Cubs play at Wrigley Field. Enjoy a cold beverage in the blistering sun over an all-beef hot dog for the quintessential Cubs experience. Or just get a tour. Information available at
Pack a picnic, and enjoy music en plein air in one of the countries largest and most accessible outdoor music arenas. See the list of  over 100 of concerts available to enjoy in the action-packed summer season at
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