Your sailor’s hard work has paid off, and they’re graduating from the Great Lakes RTC. Take a minute to let that sink in — it deserves celebrating, right? So why not explore all the amazing sites around you while doing so?
Chicago has been voted as one of America’s best large cities for six years running now, by “Condé Nast Traveler” Readers’ Choice Awards. The recognition comes for several reasons, including food and attractions, leading Navy families to have access to a range activities with their newly graduated sailor. Pick up some souvenirs or enjoy exploring art galleries together — whatever brings you joy will be sure to make this time with your seaman even more memorable. Let everyone know how excited you are after their big feat by visiting these 20 exciting places near base immediately following graduation day – congratulations on an honorable accomplishment!
Art Institute of Chicago
Get ready to explore the world of art and culture at one of America’s most acclaimed museums, the Art Institute of Chicago. This iconic museum is home to over 300,000 masterpieces from centuries past.
From Seurat’s famous “A Sunday on La Grande Jatte” to Andy Warhol’s take on Elizabeth Taylor, there really is something for every creative enthusiast here. Plus, new exhibitions are added all the time, like Kwame Brathwaite “Things Well Worth Waiting For” that is running through July.
Visitors can also venture down into the lower level where an incredible mini-world awaits: The Thorne Miniature Room with 68 tiny recreations American, European & Asian architecture in 1:12 scale – it will be like stepping into a hyper-realistic dollhouse made just for adults.
Garfield Park Conservatory
Say goodbye to winter blues and escape into the oasis that is Garfield Park Conservatory. This glass structure houses more than 100,000 plants with eight magnificent gardens ranging from towering palms in the Palm House to rustic ferns of a primordial Illinois. But don’t just take our word for it; swing by Horticulture Hall on Fridays through Sundays to enjoy Monday Coffee Co.’s delicious lavender oat milk cold brew.
Step back in time at the Field Museum and explore its 350,000 square feet of permanent exhibitions. Start off your journey with a visit to “Inside Ancient Egypt,” where you can descend into the 5,000-year-old tomb of pharaoh’s son Unis Ankh. Admire an extensive assemblage of Egyptian artifacts, including some mummies – one of America’s largest collections ever found.
End your exploration by unraveling “Death: Life’s Greatest Mystery,” an exhibit that looks deep into death revealed through nature and culture. A truly remarkable experience awaits you at the Field Museum – what are you waiting for?
Ready for a sky-high adventure? Check out 360 Chicago, an observatory perched atop the iconic John Hancock Center. You’ll get unbeatable views of Chicago (and beyond) from 1,030 feet up.
Enjoy some local history with interactive exhibits or reward yourself after your adventures with drinks at the bar. For those who dare to go further: TILT is not one to miss — it’s guaranteed chills and thrills as you board a glass platform that slowly takes over 30 degrees tilt off the side of the building. Talk about crazy heights!
Step into a world of comic books and vibrant colors at this eye-popping Lakeview restaurant. Originating in Malaysia before spreading to other countries like Japan and South Korea, these trendy 2D joints are now popping up in the U.S., so you don’t want to miss out on your chance for some highly Instagrammable moments. For an unforgettable treat, grab yourself one (or two!) of the pon de ring mochi doughnuts — these fluffy yet chewy goodies will tantalize all your taste buds!
Come one, come all, and experience the dazzling glory of Chicago’s front yard. Home to iconic public art like “The Bean” (or Cloud Gate — whichever you prefer), visitors can wander around 25 acres of lush vegetation in Lurie Garden or immerse themselves in interactive installations such as Crown Fountain with its two 50-foot LED video structures reaching into the sky!.Don’t miss out on this opportunity for a selfie-worthy memory that will last forever!
Are you ready to take a dip into Chicago’s aquatic paradise? At the Shedd Aquarium, get lost in an underwater world of thousands of fish and other creatures. Get swept away by mesmerizing exhibits like “Wild Reef” or explore the mysteries lurking in the Amazon. But that’s just scratching the surface – don’t forget about those web-famous rockhopper penguins who reign supreme at Polar Play Zone. Whether your mission is swimming with sea life or getting up close with some flippered friends, one thing’s for sure: there will be plenty of exciting exploration here.
Hop aboard the glorious Centennial Wheel for a thrilling ride and indulgent views! With towering heights of nearly 200 feet, you’ll get spectacular 360-degree views of Chicago’s skyline – all from cozy, climate-controlled gondolas. Cap off your experience with an Original Rainbow Cone at Navy Pier to satisfy any sweet tooth cravings – it just doesn’t get much better than that!
Lake Michigan sightseeing boat tour
Step back in time and join the Chicago Fireboat Tours for a journey you won’t soon forget! Veteran-owned and operated, this unique experience takes place on board an actual piece of history – The Fred A Busse, Engine 41 (retired). Serving bravely from 1937 until 1981 as part of protecting our beloved city. Inside there is also a miniature museum featuring photos taken while it was still in service, plus firefighting artifacts collected over its many years of adventure. Get ready to make some memories worth taking home with you!
Get ready to take an out-of-this-world tour through the Adler Planetarium, North America’s first planetarium. From old telescopes and moon rocks to a genuine Gemini Capsule that even includes artifacts from the 1969 moon landing – yes, you read right! And did we mention interactive exhibits and live stargazing shows? It doesn’t get more star-studded than this (pun intended). Plus, it all overlooks arguably one of Chicago’s greatest views: its magnificent skyline. So what are you waiting for? Blast off into space exploration with at the Adler Planetarium!
Willis Tower Skydeck
Ready for a rush? Take the elevator up to unprecedented heights and bask in stunning views from 103 floors above Chicago. Not only will you get great snapshots, but your heart might skip beats as well at The Ledge – four glass cubes that extend outwards into thin air! What more can be said except, ‘take me there!’
Brunch on the Chicago Odyssey Cruise
A culinary journey awaits on the Chicago Odyssey cruise! Start your day with breathtaking views of the Windy City’s skyline and end it surrounded by 3,300 feet of Navy Pier chic. Best enjoyed with a curated brunch buffet that offers an unforgettable mix between breakfast treats and lunch eats — topped off perfectly with a delicious mimosa or two. An experience you’ll never forget – all while cruising along in luxury!
Tall Ship Wendy
Set sail on the Tall Ship Windy, a majestic 148-foot schooner straight out of Chicago’s maritime history! Experience breathtaking sights from Lake Michigan and take part in sailing this traditional trading vessel – it’ll be an unforgettable adventure with plenty to learn. Don’t miss your chance to join this Great Lakes dream cruise and help raise those sails as you guide the crew across these peaceful waters.
Blue Man Show
Step into a wonderland of vibrant hues and whimsical beats! Since 1987, the Blue Man Group has been delighting audiences worldwide with their sensational show. Enjoy some cheeky laughs while you revel in this captivating experience – guaranteed to dazzle your senses and keep you thoroughly entertained from start to finish. Get ready for an out-of-this-world performance that will blow your mind away!
Time Out Market Chicago
Come take a delicious bite out of Time Out Market Chicago, where you can find the finest eats under one roof! Sample an array of culinary treats from some amazing chefs and be sure to come hungry – we guarantee your taste buds will thank you.
The Magnificent Mile
The Magnificent Mile is a shopper’s paradise! With over 450 stores and department shops offering every item imaginable, you’ll be in retail heaven. Take your pick from Bloomingdale’s, Tory Burch, or Nordstrom – the choices are endless! But it doesn’t stop there; The Drake Hotel, Sofitel Chicago, and InterContinental Hotels offer luxurious accommodations on this bustling street. Not to mention the unique buildings for architecture buffs – not forgetting the famous backdrop of iconic views such as that of The Great Chicago Fire survivors-the Water Tower -you won’t want to miss out on all that downtown Chicago has to offer here at The Magnificent Mile.
Lincoln Park Zoo
Lincoln Park Zoo is a must-visit destination for animal lovers! Located just 2 miles from the Loop and set in North Side’s Lincoln Park neighborhood, you’ll discover nearly 200 species calling this place home. From zebras to sloths and hippos, explore natural habitats like the award-winning Regenstein Center for African Apes or get up close with harbor seals at Kovler Seal Pool – where training & feeding happens daily.
The Chicago Riverwalk
When the weather starts to heat up in Chicago, it’s time for a visit to the iconic Riverwalk. A 1.25-mile pedestrian path alongside the majestic Chicago River is filled with plenty of fun activities – from kayak tours and gardens, there’s something for everyone! Don’t miss out on dining overlooking its vibrant landscape or exploring history at McCormick Bridgehouse & Museum – plus, don’t forget about Art on TheMART – an awe-inspiring digital art projection right onto one of downtown’s largest buildings! Get ready for awesome outdoor experiences this summer only by taking a stroll down a classic city landmark: The Chicago Riverwalk!
Museum of Science and Industry
The Museum of Science and Industry has something to offer every member of the family, including a mirror maze, a 40-foot tornado simulator, and an authentic German submarine. This unique day out doesn’t stop there – you can also enjoy Jackson Park for your pre or post-museum adventure! Pack up lunch in a basket as you explore this picturesque slice of nature before embarking on your incredible voyage through interactive activities that will engage all ages.
Chicago Cultural Center
Excited for an unforgettable experience? Head on down to the country’s first free municipal cultural center and behold its stunning architectural flourishes! Find tons of programming, exhibitions, and a gift shop featuring awesome products from local artists. Take part in art events or explore their massive architecture expos – it won’t cost you anything, either! Be sure not to miss out on visiting Preston Bradley Hall with its beautiful 38-foot Tiffany glass dome; then head over to Landmarks Gallery at Ground Level where “The Great Chicago Fire in Focus” is being exhibited – don’t forget your camera!Read comments