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Non-Touristy Things to Do in Chicago: Locals-Approved Activities

Sadia Nazar2024-03-06

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Chicago, the Windy City, is renowned for iconic landmarks such as the Magnificent Mile, Millennium Park, Navy Pier, and the towering Willis Tower. However, beyond the commonly traversed tourist routes, there awaits a wealth of concealed treasures, ready to be discovered. This guide unveils non-touristy things to do in Chicago, providing an authentic and memorable experience beyond the usual tourist hotspots.

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What are the non-touristy things to do in Chicago for adults?

Here are some non-touristy things to do in Chicago, offering an authentic and enriching perspective of the Windy City:

Game Day Delight: The Charm of Wrigley Field

Feel the excitement at Wrigley Field, the iconic home of the Chicago Cubs. Whether or not you're a baseball enthusiast, immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere and vibrant crowds for a quintessential Chicago experience. This historic ballpark is a must-visit destination, where you can absorb the energy and embrace the lively ambiance that defines this beloved sports venue in the heart of the city.

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Credit: Heather Maguire/Unsplash

Tune in for Free: Chicago's Vibrant Music Landscape

Dive into Chicago's lively music scene with its numerous free concerts and events happening throughout the year. Check local listings to discover the Music Festival, offering a dynamic blend of classical and contemporary performances. Enjoy the city's rich musical offerings without spending a dime, as Chicago's diverse venues come alive with sounds from various genres, providing a harmonious and budget-friendly cultural experience for all.

Chicago's Hidden Canvas: Street Art Adventures

Discover the vibrant street art of Pilsen in Chicago! Take a stroll through the neighborhood's streets adorned with captivating murals and urban art. Each mural tells a unique story, reflecting Pilsen's rich cultural tapestry and artistic spirit. Immerse yourself in the creative expressions that reflect the neighborhood's dynamic and colorful atmosphere. Explore the unique and diverse street art scene!

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Credit: Pilsen Public Art Tours/Facebook

Wicker Park Wonders: Chicago's Creative Hub

Discover the vibrant atmosphere of Wicker Park, an enclave of creativity and style. Wander through eclectic vintage shops, independent boutiques, and trendy cafes. Immerse yourself in the local art scene by exploring galleries like the Zhou B Art Center. Don't miss the chance to experience live performances at iconic venues like the Empty Bottle. Embrace the unique energy of this Chicago neighborhood.

Local Treasures: Exploring Logan Square's Unique Vibe

Explore the non-touristy gem of Logan Square in Chicago. With its historic architecture, trendy boutiques, and diverse eateries, this vibrant neighborhood is a delight for visitors. Wander its tree-lined streets, discover local shops, and soak in the welcoming community atmosphere. From the iconic Logan Square monument to its lively nightlife, the neighborhood provides a unique blend of culture and character, offering an authentic Chicago experience for all.

Andersonville Treasures: Unveiling Unique Boutiques

Discover the unique boutiques and vintage shops that define Andersonville. Move beyond mainstream brands as you delve into a shopping experience that tells individual stories. From quirky finds to timeless treasures, Andersonville's diverse retail scene invites you to uncover one-of-a-kind gems. Embrace the neighborhood's vibrant spirit, making every shopping excursion a delightful adventure in individuality and discovery.

Riverside Serenity: A Stroll along Chicago Riverwalk

Escape the bustling crowds with a stroll along the Chicago Riverwalk. Uncover charming local cafes, captivating art installations, and breathtaking river views. This scenic path invites you to unwind in the vibrant city atmosphere while savoring the charm of riverside cafes and captivating artistic expressions. Embrace the tranquility of the Chicago Riverwalk, where each step offers a delightful blend of culture, nature, and urban allure.

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Credit: Pexels/Pixabay

Breathtaking Views: Chicago's Lakefront Ride on the 606

Unwind in the tranquility of the 606, a repurposed rail line transformed into an elevated trail. Explore the city from new heights on a scenic bike ride along the lakefront, relishing breathtaking views and a peaceful escape beside Lake Michigan. This harmonious blend of urban and natural beauty invites you to rediscover serenity in the heart of the city, creating an enchanting experience along this captivating trail.

Chicago Photography Museum: A Visual Odyssey

Situated in Chicago's River North neighborhood, this museum is dedicated to the art of photography. With a vast collection of photographs from around the world, spanning the 19th century to the present day, it offers a rich exploration of visual storytelling. The museum hosts exhibitions, workshops, and educational programs, providing an engaging space for enthusiasts to delve into the diverse realms of photography.

Flavors of the Windy City: Beyond the Expected in Chicago

Explore Chicago's diverse culinary scene by venturing beyond chain restaurants. Immerse yourself in ethnic enclaves such as Chinatown and Little Italy, relishing authentic global cuisines. While indulging in iconic Chicago specialties like deep-dish pizza and Chicago-style hot dogs, also savor the rich offerings from other culinary traditions. Don't miss the chance to taste the city's varied flavors, showcasing the richness of its food culture.

Elevate and Celebrate: Rooftop Magic with Cocktails and Music

Ascend to a secret rooftop bar, indulging in panoramic city vistas. Relish handcrafted cocktails and live music, crafting enduring memories beneath the Chicago sky. Immerse yourself in the elevated ambiance, where every sip and note contributes to a distinctive experience set against the breathtaking city backdrop. It promises a harmonious blend of skyline allure, music, and mixology, creating an unforgettable night

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Credit: Venti Views/Unsplash

What are the non-touristy things to do in Chicago with kids?

Here are non-touristy activities in Chicago suitable for kids:

Comedy and Creativity: Afternoon Excitement

Delight your youngsters with laughter at the famed Second City comedy club, where hilarious improvisation steals the show. Alternatively, immerse yourself in the captivating realm of the renowned Blue Man Group, showcasing a unique fusion of music, theater, and visual arts. These experiences ensure afternoons brimming with joy and artistic marvels, creating cherished memories for audiences of all ages.

Nature's Marvels: Adventures at Notebaert Museum

Fuel your child's curiosity at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, where interactive exhibits highlight various ecosystems and natural wonders. Children can delve into dioramas, participate in hands-on activities, and gain insights. This enriching experience nurtures a love for nature, making the museum an educational haven that encourages exploration and learning through engaging displays and interactive activities.

Botanical Wonders: Garfield Park Conservatory Delights

Embark on a serene journey with your kids through Garfield Park Conservatory, a hidden oasis boasting exotic plants and tranquil landscapes. Immerse yourself in the vibrant tapestry of nature's wonders, discovering serene corners and marveling at diverse flora. This verdant gem provides an escape in the heart of Garfield Park, inviting you to unwind amidst botanical beauty—a secret haven awaiting exploration.

Lincoln Park Zoo Treasures: A Cost-Free Family Getaway in Chicago

Discover the family-friendly haven of Lincoln Park Zoo, where a diverse collection of global animals awaits—all without admission fees. Kids can explore engaging exhibits, attend educational talks, and take part in interactive activities. With its unique blend of education and entertainment, the zoo offers a memorable and cost-free experience for all ages right in the heart of Chicago, making it a delightful destination for families.

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Credit: Benjamin R. /Unsplash

Newberry Library Adventures: A Journey into Storytelling

Step into the captivating world of storytelling at the Newberry Library, where you'll find an extensive collection of children's books and interactive exhibits. Immerse yourself in literary wonders, exploring this treasure trove that offers a delightful and educational experience for all ages. The Newberry Library invites you to discover the magic of storytelling through its diverse books and exhibits, each sharing a unique and engaging tale.

What do locals call Chicago?

Locals endearingly label Chicago the "Windy City" for its brisk lake breezes. They also often use the casual term "Chi-town" in everyday talk. These nicknames symbolize the city's diverse character and the deep pride held by Chicagoans for their home. Both terms capture the rich tapestry of this vibrant metropolis, shaped not only by dynamic weather patterns but also by a strong sense of community among those who proudly call it home.

Final Thoughts

So, Chicago invites exploration beyond typical tourist spots. Explore non-touristy hidden gems, revealing the city's authentic essence and vibrant culture. Abandon guidebooks, embrace exploration, and unearth the genuine side of Chicago—a city that enthralls and leaves a lasting impression. Enhance your journey by booking a guided tour withTripshepherd, ensuring a uniquely enriched experience of the Windy City's off-the-beaten-path wonders.

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