Best Chicago Hidden Gem Attractions

THE 10 BEST Hidden Gem Attractions in Chicago

Best Chicago Hidden Gem Attractions

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What travellers are saying

  • MojoLad
    Graton, CA306 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    We went here just to check out the famed Tiffany Dome, but as there was a free docent-led tour starting, decided to take in the whole experience. It was wonderful! And free! The building itself is something else, with jaw-droppingly beautiful mosaics throughout, recently cleaned and now in their full original glory, and of course the Dome, which just in itself is worthy of a visit. There's also a cool little (unafiiated) gift shop with very interesting art & souvenirs for sale entirely created by local Chicago artists. Strongly recommended.
    Written 22 April 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Lisa R
    Mount Pleasant, SC64 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Exquisite home and worth the visit if you love old architecture. Take the guided tour for an additional $5- it is well worth it.
    Written 22 May 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • María Angeles G
    8 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Beautiful and very well kept. Lots of different plants and trees. A very nice surprise and worth the visit. Easy to get to. Subway stops near by.
    Written 9 April 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Anuja V
    Toronto, Canada31 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    This little museum is such a worthwhile stop if you are visiting Chicago! Staff are so friendly and enthusiastic, tickets are reasonably priced, and there is a lot to see, do, and learn. There’s a great kid lit room that’s perfect for kids who might just want a quiet space to read/chill. Lots of interactive exhibits to check out. Kids especially liked the typewriters and the digital mad libs. Free bookmarks for everyone was a nice touch!
    Written 16 March 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Jill E
    Easley, SC371 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    What a glorious gem of beauty in the middle of the bustling city! And free! (We made the suggested donation of $10 per person, but it is not required for entry.) There are four beautiful rooms - palm; fern; show; and orchid. Each is filled - to the roof in some cases - with incredibly lush plants/flowers/trees. (The orchids are amazing!) There are a few benches throughout if you want to stop and soak up the beauty. The outdoor gardens are also included, though there wasn’t much to enjoy there during our visit, since it was still fairly cold. I suspect when in bloom, the outdoor areas are equally as lovely as the indoor. What a perfectly lovely way to spend an hour or so in Chicago! Highly recommend!
    Written 4 April 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • msm
    21 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Guidebooks for Chicago all list the "big five" (the Art Institute, the Shedd, the Adler, the Field, and the MSI) but neglect this hidden gem. The University of Chicago's Institute for the Study of Ancient Cultures (formerly the Oriental Institute) is physically small, but houses a major collection of artifacts from the university's many archaelogical expeditions.

    A friend and I both enjoyed our visit here and could have stayed much longer. For me, it was a second visit, but for her, the first. The museum suggests 2 hours for a visit, but my friend (who has a serious interest in the archaeology of the Near East) spent that amount of time on the first room alone. Be prepared!

    Highlights for all include the enormous reliefs in the Assyrian room, especially the 40-ton relief of a winged bull with a human head, the huge statue of King Tutankhamen in the Egyptian gallery, and the 10-ton bull's head in the Persian Gallery. When I last visited, there was a bench in the Assyrian room, and just sitting on it let me feel how impressive its enormous reliefs were.

    Although the building is small, the museum didn't feel cramped, and everything was laid out in a way that made the displays accessible. Among the smaller items, I spotted the fragments of tablets with the Gilgamesh epic easily, and appreciated the cylinders and small statues relating to the story nearby. I also found the cases with small amulets and scarabs fascinating.

    This is obviously a museum of special importance to those interested in history, archaeology, and/or the Near East. Depending on the children, it could be, though, a good place to take a family. Children may be bored by broken pieces of crockery, but would be amazed by the giant bulls. My first visit was when I was a teenager, and I found myself looking for the displays (like the amulets) that had impressed me decades ago.

    Admission is free, though donations are requested. The Institute is less than a mile from the Museum of Science and Industry, but walking between the two is probably not for those who don't know their way around Chicago. Limited street parking is available. We lucked into a spot close to the institute, but we had to wait a few minutes for its current occupant to pull out!
    Written 15 April 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • joaniemaria
    Eldridge, IA4,706 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Frank Lloyd Wright designed this quintessential prairie style home built in 1906. The hour long tour gives information about the home, several owners. and Wright. Our docent was Maria and she was very knowledgeable and pleasant. The gift shop located in the garage area is worth a look. If you are interested in architecture, don’t miss this one!
    Written 10 October 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • joaniemaria
    Eldridge, IA4,706 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    We booked a tour on a weekday to see this hidden gem. We enjoyed the stories and information about the Rookery. The staircase is the star here. The lobby is beautiful architecture highlighting Frank Lloyd Wright’s design. There is a small FLW store here, too. It is worth a look.
    Written 25 April 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Jill E
    Easley, SC371 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Super fun and educational…all for free! We spent a solid hour here, and could have stayed longer had our schedule allowed. Interesting interactive exhibits about inflation, lending, the history of money, etc. All are in “layman’s” terms, so you don’t have to be a banker or financial expert to understand. Really cool exhibit showing how money from the Federal Reserve is integrated into the economy. Bonus fun - you leave with a free souvenir - a bag of shredded currency! Really glad we chose to make this one of our stops while in the Windy City!
    Written 5 April 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Dorothy S
    Kalamazoo, MI1 contribution
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Dang what a beautiful Quad, which is pedestrian and so lovely to walk through in springtime! The neo-Gothic architecture is stunning. I also know several people who went her for undergrad and graduate school —both of which are superb. Challenging, scintillating, and superb. One of the great institutions of Higher Learning in the world.
    Don’t miss the Midway from your car, and explore Robin House (Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece) and Rockefeller chapel.
    Written 8 May 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Brian
    Miami, FL4 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Went to Goose Island to do the tour and was lucky enough to have Eliseo as our guide. Great tour! Came in not knowing which beer I wanted to try, finished the tour wanting to try every beer.
    Written 20 March 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • skylite0
    Canton, IL345 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Small but colorful museum in the Pilsen area. Three different exhibits to browse and a gift shop. Admission is free. Staff very friendly.
    Written 9 October 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Aydenwood
    Philadelphia, PA166 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Lovely historic cemetery, well maintained. Great for walking and exploring. We saw others with picnic baskets and some just walking dogs or jogging. Lots of shade as well as sun.
    Written 14 July 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Wanda H
    Mascoutah, IL365 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    This house was AWESOME along with the furniture and decorations! Different than a normal house from the same period. Such a jewel to still have and be able to view! The docent we had wasn't the greatest for our interest (more about the house and family and less about other people). The difficult part of this tour is that some carpets are not supposed to be walked on, and some rooms are not to be entered. But there is no roping off of these places. Just the docent correcting you very sternly as you happen to venture onto or into one of these places. It would be SO easy for them to mark these areas, leaving less room for misunderstanding.
    Written 4 February 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Grover R
    Pensacola, FL21,755 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    The University of Chicago was created and gifted by John D Rockefeller, one of the wealthiest people to ever live. For decades it has been a worldwide research leader in so many fields. As an economics major, so much of my studies in the 1980s were derived from Milton Friedman and the Economics School here.

    Most people are totally unaware that the roots of the university are from the American Baptist Education Society as Rockefeller was a devoted Baptist. This Gothic Revival Church commands a prominent position on the SE corner of the campus. At 200 feet it is by covenant to be the tallest structure on campus. Additionally is a self supported structure with no steel, like the medieval cathedrals of Europe.

    Unfortunately, we walked the campus before 10 so the Chapel was not opened. Still it was an impressive site on its exterior.
    Written 2 August 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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