Things to Do in Chicago

I was asked to write a blog within the broad category of “Exploring Chicago”.  While brainstorming ideas, it’s hard to not get lost in the many possible avenues that the topic could take.  I’ve only lived in Chicago for two years but the sheer amount of new experiences I have had make it seem like a lifetime.  So, in an effort to find the most practical summarization of my time in Chicago, I will draw directly from my “List of Things to do in Chicago”,  a list I maintain on my phone that I can revert to whenever my friends and I want to go out into the city.  Since there are so many things on the list, many of which I have not gotten around to doing yet, I will only give more detail where I think it is needed, other than that, please use this list to go out and try something new!

1. Go Skating/Ice-Skating

I have not been regular skating yet in Chicago, but when it is wintertime, Millennium park has you covered.  They have a regular ice-skating rink as well as “The Ribbon” which winds around the rock climbing wall behind the bean.

2. Find a Unique Business

Chicago is filled with random businesses that you didn’t think existed, many are small businesses who would love your support.

3. Go to a Mall

The City of Chicago has Block 37 and Water Tower Place.  For bigger, sprawling malls, you will have to go out to the suburbs.

4. Work Out at the Ray

5. Find a Nearby Park

There are a ridiculous number of parks in Chicago.  They all have different qualities and layouts so whether you are walking a dog or playing frisbee, its always worth checking out some new places. 

6. Go for a Walk/Run

I recommend going along the Lakefront Trail that goes along the (as you can probably guess) lakefront.

 7. Explore the Chicago Pedway

 Lots of the buildings and subway trains in Chicago connect to create the Chicago   Pedway, a group of underground tunnels in the Loop.  There are shops and   restaurants down there and its great to check out during the winter when you   won’t want to be on the street level.

8. Explore a New Neighborhood

9. Attend a Religious Service

10. Go Rock Climbing


11. Go Out for Breakfast Food

There are lots of great breakfast food options in Chicago, I like Yolk and The Original Pancake House, both can be found East on Diversey.

12. Explore Fancy Hotel Lobbies

My Freshman year a few friends and I went around Chicago overly dressed up so we could check out the fancy buildings in Chicago without looking out of place.  The interior architecture of Chicago buildings alone is enough to want to explore them. 

13. Find a Nice Study Spot

If you have a lot of Loop classes, try the top floor of the Harold Washington Library, it is just across the street from the Loop campus.

14. Go on Apartment Tours

You don’t have to sign anything.

 15. Go to a Beach

 North Avenue Beach is one of my favorite places on Earth.

16. Meet New People in the Student Center


17. Go to the Museums on the Museum Campus


18. Play Tag on the Museum Campus

Honestly, go to the Museum Campus and tell me it isn’t the perfect place for a game of tag.

19. Support a High School Sports Team


20. Look for Famous Paintings at the Art Institute

DePaul students get 100% free admission to the Art Institute.

 21. Go to 360 Chicago in the John Hancock Center

 22. Check out the Money Museum in the Federal Reserve


 23. Rent Divvy Bikes


24. Take a Trip to 6 Flags


25. Attend a Live Theatre Show


26. Go to an Improv Show

Improv was invented in Chicago, before the “Second City Theatre” opened its doors, the whole world was scripted.

27. Have a Picnic in the Park

Spring for the fancy cheeses this time

28. Take a Class at the Harold Washington Library

Experts in every field you could think of offer classes at the Harold Washington Library free of charge, it’s definitely a perk worth checking out.  Also, the HW Library offers FREE scanning which has saved me a few bucks in the long run.

29. Go to an Amazon Store

Not the Amazon Locker but the Amazon stores where you just take what you want and leave.  There are currently two in Chicago, I have been to one by the AON Center.  It was small but pretty cool, once you setup the app then you just scan in, take your items, and walk out.

 30. Watch Planes Land


 31. Go to an AMC Movie Theatre

 They have recliners.


32. Explore Other College Campuses

The University of Chicago has a beautiful campus, I went there for my Discover Chicago class called Photographing Chicago.  It is also very close to the Museum of Science and Industry.  I haven’t been to that museum since I was 5 but I remember 5 year old me having a blast.

33. Do an Escape Room

They say 1 in 5 never return…

34. Play Laser Tag


35. Watch a DePaul Theatre Show


36. Make a Short Film

DePaul will rent out equipment for film making and Chicago couldn’t be a better environment for developing a story line.

37. Take a DePaul Tour

Why not?

38. Check out the Holocaust Museum in Skokie

The Skokie Holocaust Museum is staffed with real holocaust survivors.  I recommend you go as soon as possible because we are the last generation who will have the privilege of speaking with them and other veterans of World War II.

 39. Try Indoor Skydiving


 40. Go Axe Throwing


 41. Go to WhirlyBall

 I honestly have no idea what this is, it was recommended to me by a friend, so I suggest you check it out for yourself.

42. Go to a Networking Event


43. Play Tennis


44. Go Golfing

It will be much cheaper in the suburbs.

45. Check out the Libraries Special Collection


46. Take a Pottery Class


47. Fly a Kite


48. Play Mini Golf

– Jacob Sipeker