OUT & ABOUT
THE ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO
Considered one of the world’s finest museums, this prized institution houses more than 300,000 works of art—including such treasures as Grant Wood’s American Gothic and Georges Seurat’s La Grande Jatte— and welcomes 1.5 million visitors each year. 111 S. Michigan Ave., 312-443-3600; artic.edu
CHICAGO HISTORY MUSEUM
On display at this must-visit cultural institution through November 26 is “Spies, Traitors, and Saboteurs: Fear and Freedom in America,” which explores nine major events in US history when the nation was threatened within its own borders. 1601 N. Clark St., 312-642-4600; chicagohistory.org
CHICAGO’S FIRST LADY
From private yacht rentals for two to blow-out weddings for 250 to the wildly popular, locals-love-it Chicago River architecture tour, this city institution is one of the top names in
INSIDER TIP: As the only company that partners with the Chicago Architecture Foundation on its river tour, CFL’S docents are hands down the best in town. 112 E. Wacker Dr., 847-358-1330; cruisechicago.com
DUSABLE MUSEUM OF AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY
Explore the history and culture of America’s black communities in diverse exhibits like “Freedom, Resistance, and the Journey Toward Equality” and “A Slow Walk to Greatness: The Harold Washington Story,” as well as works by notables such as Henry Ossawa Tanner and Archibald Motley Jr. 740 E. 56th Pl., 773-947-0600; dusablemuseum.org
The escape-room craze hits River North with this high-tech attraction, where teams role-play as spies or Secret Service agents as they solve puzzles and work together to emerge victorious in under 60 minutes. 54 E. Ontario St., 312-981-6633; escapehousechicago.com
This natural history nerve center is beloved for its world-famous resident T. rex fossil SUE, as well as dynamic exhibitions and the new interactive Grainger Science Hub. Currently on view is “Specimens: Unlocking the Secrets of Life,” an examination of the importance of some of the museum’s more than 30 million specimens.
1400 S. Lake Shore Dr., 312-9229410; fieldmuseum.org
This century-old nightclub was a favorite of the Al Capone set and still attracts jazzheads from around the world for performances by Patricia Barber and the Alan Gresik Swing Shift Orchestra.
INSIDER TIP: The Uptown Poetry Slam (Sundays, 7–10 PM) is a rollicking celebration of the spoken word, hosted with lacerating wit by slam poetry legend Marc Kelly Smith. 4802 N. Broadway, 773-8785552; greenmilljazz.com
From hosting performances of world music and international dance to serving as home to local companies like Hubbard Street Dance and Chicago Opera Theater, this sleek, subterranean Millennium Park oasis has evolved into one of the city’s most compelling cultural venues. 203 E. Randolph St., 312-334-7777; harristheaterchicago.org
From expansive lawns and an extraordinary live-music venue to a duo of crowd-pleasing public art installations in Anish Kapoor’s iconic Cloud Gate (“The Bean”) and Jaume Plensa’s Crown Fountain, this 25-acre playground has become the epicenter of downtown Chicago.
INSIDER TIP: Stroll across Frank Gehry’s sinuous bridge toward the lake to discover the kid-tastic Maggie Daley Park, with climbing walls and slides aplenty. 201 E. Randolph St., 312-742-1168; millenniumpark.org
MUSEUM OF SCIENCE AND INDUSTRY
The largest science museum in the Western Hemisphere, this institution celebrates innovation with interactive exhibits that explore green energy, space travel, future tech, and more. INSIDER TIP: On a scale of 1 to 10, the baby chick hatchery scores an 11 for cuteness, eliciting “oohs” and “aahs” from all ages. 5700 S. Lake Shore Dr., 773-684-1414; msichicago.org
Chicago’s number-one attraction, with more than 9 million visitors a year, recently celebrated its centennial with an extensive redesign, including a new all-weather Ferris wheel that soars a towering 196 feet. 600 E. Grand Ave., 800-595-7437; navypier.com
A Pilsen landmark, this refurbished complex boasts the hot spots Dusek’s, Punch House, and Tack Room, as well as an eponymous concert hall that embraces the neighborhood’s bohemian spirit with an array of entertainment, from Janeane Garofalo to George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic. 1807 S. Allport St., 312526-3851; thaliahallchicago.com
The nation’s largest arena, this West Side landmark is home to the Bulls and Blackhawks and hosts more than 200 events each year, from concerts by the likes of Madonna and U2 to Disney on Ice and the Men’s NCAA Basketball Tournament. From July 21 through September 3, the facility’s parking lot hosts Luzia, the lastest over-the-top spectacle from Cirque du Soleil. 1901 W. Madison St., 312-455-4500; unitedcenter.com