You’ve done the Art Institute / 111 S Michigan / artic.edu / but if you’re intent on seeing other major tourist spots, get a Citypass / citypass.com / for entry to the Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum, Museum of Science & Industry, Adler Planetarium, Skydeck and 360 Chicago (choose up to five) then move beyond the views, dinosaurs and Beluga whales to really see what Chicago’s all about.
The Modern Wing. Spend a day with some of art’s greatest visionaries at the Renzo Piano-designed home for the Art Institute’s collection of C.20th and C.21st contemporary Euro painting and sculpture, modern art, architecture, design, and photography. Graze at Terzo Piano (see Lunch). Art Institute Chicago / 111 S Michigan / The Loop / 312 443 3600 / 10.30am-5pm daily, till 8pm Thu / artic.edu
The MCA. Not the Y, but a geometric Jack-of-all-trades atrium building over five floors, housing perma and rotating works of American and international greats (and not so greats), dance and performance space, plus terraced sculpture garden and Wolfgang Puck resto. 220 E Chicago / Gold Coast / 312 280 2660 / 10am-8pm Tue, 10am5pm Wed-sat, 9am-5pm Sun / mcachicago.org
Glessner House Museum. The forbidding, new American former Glessner family mansion is a treasure trove of decorative arts. After, check out the nearby Greek Revival, Clarke House Museum, Chicago’s oldest house. 1800 S Prairie / South Loop / 312 326 1480 / 1pm & 3pm Wed-sun / free admission Wed / glessnerhouse.org / Clarke House / 1827 S Indiana / 312 745 0041 / noon & 2pm Wed-sun / both offer guided tours only
Chicago History Museum. The Great Fire. Haymarket riot. World’s Columbian Exposition. George Washington’s suit. It’s a first-rate record of the Windy City, with oral histories, books and manuscripts, costumes and textiles, and decorative and industrial objects. 1601 N Clark / Old Town / 312 642 4600 / 9.30am-4.30pm Mon-sat, noon-5pm Sun / children under 12 enter free / chicagohistory.org
City Gallery. If the MCA or History Museum is too much for your attention span, get a snapshot at the Water Tower, which houses a Chicago-themed photo gallery. 806 N Michigan / Gold Coast / 312 742 0808 / MCA is nearby
The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. If you go down to the park today, you’ll see plenty of butterflies as well as spiders and snakes and scorpions, oh my! Interactive displays make it good for families. Extend the theme by following signs to Lincoln Park Conservatory and the Zoo / lpzoo.com / both are free and open daily. Finish and tuck into nature’s bounty at the romantic North Pond nearby. 2430 N Cannon / Lincoln Park / 773 755 5100 / 9am-5pm Mon-fri, from 10am Sat-sun / naturemuseum.org / North Pond at #2610 / 773 477 5845 / dinner Tue-sun in summer, Wed-sun in winter, brunch Sun / northpondrestaurant.com