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Best Views in the Windy

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Found this guide helpful

There is so much to see and do in Chicago and many venues to view our beautiful city by the lake. This guide will assist visitors to find the best places to enjoy views of Chicago from various locations.

Good for
  • History Buff
  • Art and Architecture Lover
  • Like a Local

13 Places

1 City Tip

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13 Places

Shedd Aquarium

Aquariums

Chicago Cultural Center

Art Galleries, Architectural Buildings

Buckingham Fountain

Fountains, Points of Interest & Landmarks

Chicago Water Taxi

Ferries, Taxis & Shuttles

The Magnificent Mile

Neighbourhoods, Points of Interest & Landmarks

Hyatt Regency Chicago

Hotels

Navy Pier

Piers & Boardwalks, Theme Parks

Skydeck Chicago - Willis Tower

Architectural Buildings, Observation Decks & Towers, Points of Interest & Landmarks

Cloud Gate

Monuments & Statues, Points of Interest & Landmarks

Chicago Trolley & Double Decker Co.

Night Tours, Hop-On Hop-Off Tours, Bus Tours, Sightseeing Tours, City Tours

Chicago Riverwalk

Historic Walking Areas

Oak Street Beach

Beaches

Adler Planetarium

Observatories & Planetariums, Speciality Museums

boltsnnuts's City Tips

  • Buy a Chicago City Pass that includes several attractions at a very reasonable price.
  • Save
    Shedd Aquarium
    Aquariums
    See more photos
    boltsnnuts Says:

    The Shedd Aquarium has a wonderful view of the city from its outside patios and walkway around by the lake. Looking out through the Oceanarium's panoramic windows is a lovely view of Lake Michigan. Of course, the Aquarium is filled with aquatic wonders and offers "behind the scenes" tours for an additional charge.

    Good for
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Part of the Chicago City Pass. Reservations required for the special tours.Make well in advance.
    Plan to stay:/
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #27 of 662 things to do in Chicago
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Went for a private function. Nice location and sights 19/10/2017
    • Fun! 18/10/2017
    • Shedd Aquarium
    Address:
    1200 S. Lake Shore Drive
    Chicago, IL 60605-2490
    Phone:
    +1 312-939-2438
    Hours:
    Mon - Fri
    09:00 - 17:00
    Sat - Sun
    09:00 - 18:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Chicago Cultural Center
    Art Galleries, Architectural Buildings
    See more photos
    boltsnnuts Says:

    The original public library, the Cultural Center is filled with architectural history and numerous exhibitions of art. The views of Michigan Ave. and Millenium Park across the street from the upper floors of the Center are interesting and educational.

    Good for
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Free and easy to reach with public transit. Watch for the plaques that note specific architectural items of interest viewed from the windows.
    Plan to stay:/
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #13 of 662 things to do in Chicago
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Your first stop in chicago 18/10/2017
    • spectacular 18/10/2017
    • Chicago Cultural Center
    Address:
    78 E Washington St
    Chicago, IL 60602-4801
    Phone:
    +1 312-744-3316
    Hours:
    Sun
    10:00 - 18:00
    Mon - Thu
    09:00 - 19:00
    Fri - Sat
    09:00 - 18:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Buckingham Fountain
    Fountains, Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    boltsnnuts Says:

    Chicago's gem by the lake, Buckingham Fountain is a beautiful view all by itself. Shooting high in the sky, the fountain is a great place to see the lake to the east, and Michigan Ave. skyline to the west.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Permanent outdoor restrooms nearby. Good place to meet at Taste of Chicago.
    Plan to stay:/
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #22 of 662 things to do in Chicago
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Beautiful Fountain 20/10/2017
    • Really nice fountain 19/10/2017
    • Buckingham Fountain
    Address:
    Grant Park
    Chicago, IL
    Phone:
    +1 312-742-7529
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    08:00 - 23:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Chicago Water Taxi
    Ferries, Taxis & Shuttles
    See more photos
    boltsnnuts Says:

    The water taxis are a terrific and inexpensive way to view the city from the rivers. Connecting numerous attractions, including Navy Pier, they offer a scenic and fun way to get around for those who don't want to walk.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • In the summer, a bar/food venue is open by the ticket booth below the Michigan Ave. Bridge.
    Plan to stay:/
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 34 Transportation in Chicago
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Excellent trip and cheap. 18/10/2017
    • Quick transport with a view! 17/10/2017
    • Chicago Water Taxi
    Address:
    400 N. Michigan Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60611
    Phone:
    +1 312-337-1446
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    06:45 - 21:00
    Other:
  • Save
    The Magnificent Mile
    Neighbourhoods, Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    boltsnnuts Says:

    The views of the river from the Michigan Ave. bridge are terrific. North of the bridge is the heart of shopping in Chicago, a must for those seeking luxury as well as value. The millions of white lights are spectacular during the Christmas holidays. Springtime brings beautiful tulip and spring flower displays all along the avenue.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Must See
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Trendsetter
    • Hidden Gems
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Shopping Fanatic
    • Family
    Tips
    • Check out the Water Tower for a unique indoor shopping experience.
    Plan to stay:/
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #7 of 662 things to do in Chicago
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Shops 20/10/2017
    • SHOP TIL YOU DROP!!!! 20/10/2017
    • The Magnificent Mile
    Address:
    North Michigan Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60611
    Phone:
    +1 312-642-3570
    Other:
  • Save
    Hyatt Regency Chicago
    Hotels
    See more photos
    boltsnnuts Says:

    The Hyatt Regency is strategically located for attractions and shopping north and south of the river. Great views from rooms facing the river as it runs into the lake.

    Good for
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • The bar upstairs is the longest in the city.
    From the community
    Ranked #87 of 192 Hotels in Chicago
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • travelers perfect location 20/10/2017
    • Nice hotel in a convenient location 18/10/2017
    • Hyatt Regency Chicago
    Address:
    151 East Wacker Drive
    Chicago, IL 60601-3709
    Phone:
    (312) 313-2914
    Other:
  • Save
    Navy Pier
    Piers & Boardwalks, Theme Parks
    See more photos
    boltsnnuts Says:

    Navy Pier is the best place in the city to view the Chicago skyline from the north jutting out into Lake Michigan. Bustling year round, Navy Pier is filled with restaurants and attractions for children and adults. Second in popularity only to Millenium Park, Navy Pier is a must see for every visitor to Chicago.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Hidden Gems
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Nightlife Seeker
    • Foodie
    • LGBT
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Trendsetter
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • Terrific view from the upstairs bar at Riva. Parking validation with purchase at Riva for discount parking.
    Plan to stay:/
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #35 of 662 things to do in Chicago
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Starting place for architectural tour 20/10/2017
    • Good on a sunny day. 20/10/2017
    • Navy Pier
    Address:
    600 E Grand Ave
    Chicago, IL 60611-3419
    Phone:
    +1 312-595-7437
    Hours:
    Sun - Thu
    10:00 - 20:00
    Fri - Sat
    10:00 - 22:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Skydeck Chicago - Willis Tower
    Architectural Buildings, Observation Decks & Towers, Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    boltsnnuts Says:

    Once the tallest building in the world, the "Sears Tower" is a great place to see Chicago. Four sided views from high in the sky offer a 360 experience. The "Ledge" is an adventure for those seeking an extra thrill. Looking straight down to the ground hundred of feet below is an experience not to be missed.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Week days are less crowded. Buy tickets ahead of time to avoid waiting in the ticket line.
    Plan to stay:/
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #15 of 662 things to do in Chicago
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Fun 20/10/2017
    • DO. NOT. LOOK. DOWN. 20/10/2017
    • Skydeck Chicago - Willis Tower
    Address:
    233 S. Wacker Drive
    Entrance on Jackson Blvd
    Chicago, IL 60606-7147
    Phone:
    +1 312-875-9447
    Price range:
    US$22 - US$22
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    09:00 - 22:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Cloud Gate
    Monuments & Statues, Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    boltsnnuts Says:

    Locals fondly call this spectacular stainless steel structure "The Bean." Reflections of the high rises around Cloud Gate offer a unique view of Chicago. Millenium Park is the number one attraction in the city with beautiful gardens and the unique columns with faces spouting water that kids love to splash in below.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Hidden Gems
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Best restrooms around below the outdoor music pavillion.
    Plan to stay:/
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #3 of 662 things to do in Chicago
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Highlight of Chicago 20/10/2017
    • Always a fun sculpture and friendly crowd interaction! 20/10/2017
    • Cloud Gate
    Address:
    201 E. Randolph St.
    Millenium Park
    Chicago, IL 60601-6530
    Phone:
    312-742-1168
    Other:
  • Save
    Chicago Trolley & Double Decker Co.
    Night Tours, Hop-On Hop-Off Tours, Bus Tours, Sightseeing Tours, City Tours
    See more photos
    boltsnnuts Says:

    The best way to get an overview of the city, the Trolleys run everywhere from the Museum Campus to Navy Pier. With stops at all major attractions, they offer an easy way to see a lot for those with limited time.

    Good for
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Trendsetter
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • Multiple locations to hop off and on.
    From the community
    Ranked #29 of 185 Tours in Chicago
    • high price for low service and filthy bus 12/10/2017
    • Go with big bus tours instead 08/10/2017
    • Chicago Trolley & Double Decker Co.
    Address:
    4400 S Racine Ave
    Chicago, IL 60609
    Phone:
    +1 773-648-5000
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    09:00 - 22:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Chicago Riverwalk
    Historic Walking Areas
    See more photos
    boltsnnuts Says:

    A fairly recent addition to the landscape, the walk along the river offers a unique and different view of the city. Multiple restaurants with outdoor patios offer a close-up view of the Chicago river. Boat ride ticket booths offer a variety of cruises.

    Good for
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Easily accessible from the Michigan Ave. bridge.
    Plan to stay:/
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #19 of 662 things to do in Chicago
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • If it's a nice day in Chicago, this is a grand place to stroll 19/10/2017
    • Nice restaurants around the river with outdoor teraces. 18/10/2017
    • Chicago Riverwalk
    Address:
    100 E. Wacker Drive
    Chicago, IL 60601
    Other:
  • Save
    Oak Street Beach
    Beaches
    See more photos
    boltsnnuts Says:

    Great for views of the lake and the city to the west, Oak St. Beach is the place to enjoy warmer summer days. The #1 restaurant in the city on the beach resides here during the summer season - Oak St. Beachtro.

    Good for
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Beach Goer
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • Access from the west side of Lake Shore through the tunnel. Great place to watch the Air and Water show.
    Plan to stay:/
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #61 of 662 things to do in Chicago
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • In what city besides Honolulu is there a beach next to "downtown"? 18/10/2017
    • Most Affluent Beach on the lakefront 16/10/2017
    • Oak Street Beach
    Address:
    1000 N Lake Shore Dr
    Oak St (1000 N) and Lake Michigan
    Chicago, IL 60611-5303
    Phone:
    312-747-0832
    Other:
  • Save
    Adler Planetarium
    Observatories & Planetariums, Speciality Museums
    See more photos
    boltsnnuts Says:

    A world class observatory, The Adler also has great views of Lake Michigan as well as the Chicago skyline. In fact, one of the most beautiful views of the city is free if you can snag a parking spot and walk along the shore on the drive to and from the Adler.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • Great spot for watching Saturday evening fireworks off Navy Pier.
    Plan to stay:/
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #54 of 662 things to do in Chicago
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Cool Place, Beautiful Views of Chicago and the Lake 19/10/2017
    • Out of this world!! 17/10/2017
    • Adler Planetarium
    Address:
    1300 S Lake Shore Dr
    Chicago, IL 60605-2489
    Phone:
    +1 312-922-7827
    Price range:
    US$12 - US$12
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    09:30 - 16:00
    Other:
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