Chicago is home to a plethora of tourist traps. With so many to choose from, The Phoenix breaks down the do’s and don’ts of Chicago sightseeing.
The Bean (201 E. Randolph St.)
Cloud Gate is an iconic landmark and an Instagram must.
While many Chicago natives would argue it’s too touristy and not worth it, it’s a staple of the city’s sight-seeing industry. The unique sculpture sees about 12 million people each year and draws a crowd with its carnival mirror-like appearance.
Although taking pictures is the only activity to do at the Bean, it’s still an awesome addition to the camera roll and a pleasant memory. And with it being outdoors, it’s a COVID-cautious activity for those wary of going out.
Art Institute of Chicago (111 S. Michigan Ave.)
The Art Institute of Chicago lives up to its reviews of being a momentous Chicago landmark. It’s unique to Chicago and boasts many famous paintings, such as “Nighthawks,” “American Gothic” and “The Bedroom.”
Starting on the lower level is the “Thorne Miniature Rooms,” which holds tiny recreations of historically accurate rooms from numerous time periods. It’s a unique style of art and makes it worth the trip due to its immersive nature.
The third floor is home to the Impressionists exhibit — another must-see. It includes famous paintings such as George Seurat’s “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte” and Gustave Caillebotte’s “Paris Street; Rainy Day.”
The Institute should be on the to-do list of every Loyola student — especially since entry is free using a student ID.
Navy Pier (600 E. Grand Ave.)
Navy Pier definitely falls into the category of tourist traps. The Pier is presented as an unmissable stop during a visit to Chicago. However, there isn’t much to do once you’re there. There are a few rather expensive rides, most notably the “centennial wheel,” and plenty of places to grab a bite to eat, but that’s about it.
The rides themselves are enjoyable but not worth the price of admission. For $18, you could get not one, but three iced coffees from Metropolis — a better deal than one boring ride.
Michigan Avenue, otherwise known as the Magnificent Mile, is located near Loyola’s Water Tower Campus and is an ideal shopping spot. The street is home to big-name-brand stores, hotels and dining spots. The campus shuttle makes it an easy spot for Loyola students to get to.
The area is a flashy display of expensive high-end shops which feel like they’re being shoved in your face. A walk down North Sheridan Road would be a more productive shopping spree — places such as The Armadillos Pillow and Taichi Bubble Tea.
A single visit will suffice as the experience may not live up to the street’s famous history and high expectations for a fabulous time.
Even if you’ve lived in Chicago your whole life, an observation deck is a noteworthy place to go. There are two locations for viewing, the John Hancock Center and the Willis Tower.
At the John Hancock Center, you can purchase tickets for the Chicago 360 experience. Located at 875 N. Michigan Ave, it features a tilting glass lookout where you stand against a glass window facing downward. Visitors get the thrilling feeling they’re hanging over the streets of Chicago from 94 floors up. It also features a bar and gift shop.
The Willis Tower, located at 233 S. Wacker Dr, has a similar feel of being on top of the city. Standing at 108 floors, the experience is similar to the John Hancock building but incomparable to anything else. The feeling of standing inside the glass ledge is similar to the feeling of being on top of the world, being able to see everything around and below you.
Either observation deck is a great addition to your understanding of Chicago’s culture.