Chicago’s Union Station is an amazing piece of building and design. Built in 1925, it has a grand entrance that shows off its impressive colonnade and grand stairs. It is a mix of neoclassical and Beaux-Arts styles. With its high arched ceilings and big Tiffany stained-glass windows, the Great Hall is a beautiful and elegant work of art. The station is a transportation hub that connects locals and tourists to trains, buses, cabs and the ‘L’ subway. Today, Union Station is not only a transportation hub, but it is also a famous place to shop, eat, and go to events.
I’ll never forget my first trip to Chicago Union Station in July 2023. The station’s dimension and classic style left me with a lasting memory. There was a feeling of energy and anticipation in the air because of the busy concourse, the sounds of the trains, and the classic architecture. When you arrive at Chicago Union Station, you’re not just in the city, you’re in the middle of an adventure, and the whole city of Chicago is yours to discover. It will be easier if you are already familiar with the station’s layout or map.
This post is an effort to guide you with the best Things To Do Near Chicago Union Station including family-friendly adventures, having romantic, eating the best food and thrilling experiences. Let’s jump into my list of Top 26 Things To Do Near Chicago Union Station In 2023!
Best Things To Do Near Chicago Union Station This Year
The list of the best things to do near Chicago Union Station is based on each attraction, thrilling activities, outdoor adventure, eating options and many more. So, find the best things and make a list to have unlimited fun, historical exploration, or family-friendly activities, to take your trip to another level!
The Cultural and Art Attractions Of Chicago Union Station
Where ever we go in the world the best thing a traveller can do is to take a look at the artistic and historical point of view of that place. That is what I thought and I always go for the Art Institute and Museum of the place to live a moment behind this fast world that any place holds back. So, just pay a visit to the listed places to explore the Cultural and Art Attractions Of Chicago Union Station!
Art Institute of Chicago
The Art Institute of Chicago is a treasure trove of beautiful artwork. Inside, you’ll discover a world of paintings, sculptures, and even armour from various times and places. Don’t miss famous paintings like “American Gothic.” What makes this place special is that it feels like a journey through time and around the world as you admire incredible art. It’s an opportunity to immerse yourself in creativity and history.
Museum of Science and Industry
For curious minds, the Museum of Science and Industry is like a huge recreational area. It is packed with hands-on exhibits that let visitors learn about science, technology, and creativity. Try going on an inside look at an actual submarine, observing a tornado, or learning about the unsolved secrets of space. The fact that visitors may touch exhibits, engage in hands-on activities, and conduct experiments sets this museum unique from others. It is an experience in which you can delve deeply into the marvels of the planet we live in.
The wonders of nature are the focus of the Field Museum. You’ll meet Sue, the biggest Tyrannosaurus rex in the world, and see artefacts from ancient Egypt here. You may look forward to fascinating displays of dinosaurs, ancient societies, and valuable gems. The distinctive experience is getting up close to Sue, the towering dinosaur, and experiencing what it would be like to be an Egyptian archaeologist. It is a fascinating and instructive tour through history and nature.
Chicago Cultural Center
For those who are passionate about art and culture, the Chicago Cultural Centre is a one-of-a-kind destination. It is free to attend and features live music, art displays and performances, all of which are housed within a magnificent old edifice. The building’s structure is in and of itself a piece of art. The opportunity to tour a magnificent old structure that is stuffed with artefacts from many cultures is what makes this location truly one of a kind. There is also the possibility that you will find a live performance that does not cost you any money. An invitation to admire art, history, and culture in a breathtaking location is being extended to you.
Parks and Outdoor Activities Near Chicago Union Station
It’s hard to believe you’re in the middle of Chicago when you visit the magical haven that is Millennium Park. Because, this park features a wide variety of artworks, as well as open green areas and exciting activities. I will suggest you check its Calendar before going there for festivals and free activities. You can’t miss the distinctive Cloud Gate sculpture, often known as “The Bean,” which has a brilliant surface that allows you to see your reflection twisting and turning across its surface. The Jay Pritzker Pavilion plays host to several free outdoor concerts and films throughout the summer months. The Lurie Garden is a calming spot brimming with stunning floral arrangements. The fact that it is a site where art and nature can be found close to one another makes it a one-of-a-kind urban escape.
The Chicago Riverwalk is comparable to a beautiful ribbon that can be found winding around the city. A pleasant stroll along the Chicago River may be had here because of its location directly beside the river. Take a ride on a water taxi, rent a kayak, and paddle your way down the river while taking in the breathtaking scenery of the city’s architecture. It is possible to have a meal or a drink while looking out over the scenery at one of the many little cafés or restaurants that offer outside seating. This is the point at which the city and the water meet, and it is a peaceful and picturesque place to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the surrounding streets.
Lincoln Park Zoo
The Lincoln Park Zoo is an exclusive place that few people know about. It is a free zoo that is located right in Lincoln Park, and it houses a wide range of animals that come from different parts of the world. You might catch a glimpse of some mischievous monkeys, regal lions, or gorgeous giraffes. The dedication of this zoo to both education and conservation is what sets it apart from others. They frequently host entertaining activities and programmes geared towards guests of all ages. It is a beautiful spot to spend time with family or simply appreciate the beauty of nature and wildlife in the middle of the city. This park is located in the heart of the city.
Chicago Union Station Landmarks and Sightseeing
Cloud Gate (The Bean)
The first top sightseeing attraction near Chicago Union Station is Cloud Gate, often affectionately referred to as “The Bean,” a captivating stainless steel sculpture located in Millennium Park. Designed by artist Anish Kapoor, it resembles a giant, polished silver bean and has become one of Chicago’s most iconic landmarks. What’s unique about it is that its mirror-like surface reflects both the city’s skyline and the people gazing at it. Visitors can walk around and underneath it, taking selfies and enjoying the distorted reflections. It’s a symbol of creativity and modern art in the middle of Chicago.
The Skydeck Chicago, located in the Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower), is an awe-inspiring experience. It’s like ascending to the sky itself. The Skydeck offers breathtaking panoramic views of Chicago from its glass-floored observation deck on the 103rd floor. Standing on the glass ledge, you can look straight down to the bustling city streets below, hundreds of feet in the air. It’s an adventure for those seeking exhilaration and a chance to see the city from a whole new perspective.
It’s a must-watch attraction that I will highly recommend you to visit. The Willis Tower is a work of art and was at one point the highest structure in the world. Despite the fact that it does not now retain that title, it continues to be an iconic part of Chicago’s skyline. Visitors are able to marvel at its towering presence and realise the significance of its historical role. As was indicated before, the Skydeck offers visitors not just breathtaking vistas but also an insight into the engineering brilliance of Chicago.
Also Read: EXPLORING THINGS TO DO IN CHICAGO
Wrigley Field is a baseball lover’s dream place where they can hit for the best. It’s one of the oldest and most beloved baseball stadiums in the country, home to the Chicago Cubs. Watching a game here is like stepping back in time, with the iconic ivy-covered outfield walls and classic atmosphere. Whether you’re a baseball enthusiast or simply want to experience the nostalgia of America’s most appreciated pastime, Wrigley Field offers a unique glimpse into sports history.
Old St. Patrick’s Church
Never miss to prey for the best days ahead! In the midst of the hustle and bustle of the city is a tranquil haven in the form of Old St. Patrick’s Church. Not only is this historic church one of the oldest buildings in Chicago, but it is also a location of considerable significance in the city. Its beautiful architecture and tranquil surroundings make it an ideal location for a relaxing getaway. Visitors can enjoy the aesthetic value of the building’s stained glass windows, gain insight into the institution’s illustrious past, or simply find a moment of peace and quiet within its walls.
Well Yes, I have added it to my list of things to do near Chicago Union Station because I think visiting a cemetery can be a therapeutic activity!
Graceland Cemetery may seem an unconventional choice, but it’s a hidden treasure for history and art enthusiasts. This cemetery is a resting place for many notable figures from Chicago’s past, including architects, politicians, and other prominent residents. Beyond its historical significance, the cemetery is filled with striking sculptures and beautiful landscapes. It’s a place where history, art, and nature come together to offer a unique and contemplative experience.
Entertainment and Performing Arts Near Chicago Union Station
Lyric Opera of Chicago
The Lyric Opera of Chicago is a place where music and storytelling come alive in the most enchanting way. It’s like stepping into a world of beautiful voices, elaborate sets, and dramatic tales. Here, you can experience the magic of grand opera productions, featuring world-class performers and musicians. The Lyric Opera House itself is a masterpiece, adorned with stunning chandeliers and elegant architecture. Whether you’re a seasoned opera enthusiast or new to this art form, attending a performance at the Lyric Opera is a memorable and culturally enriching experience.
Civic Opera House
The Civic Opera House is not only an architectural gem but also a hub for the performing arts in Chicago. It’s home to the Lyric Opera of Chicago, making it a venue for operatic masterpieces, as well as other cultural events and performances. The grandeur of the opera house is a sight to behold, with its opulent interiors and lavish design. Beyond opera, the Civic Opera House hosts a variety of shows, from ballet and classical music to Broadway musicals. Attending a performance here allows you to immerse yourself in the world of live entertainment and appreciate the talent and creativity that grace its stage.
Chicago Union Station Family-Friendly Attractions:
Navy Pier is like a playground by the lake, designed with families in mind. It’s a place where children’s laughter fills the air, and there’s always something exciting happening. The pier offers a range of attractions, from the iconic Ferris wheel with stunning views of Lake Michigan to the Chicago Children’s Museum, where kids can explore and learn through interactive exhibits. There are also boat tours, gardens, and a variety of dining options. What makes Navy Pier special is the combination of fun, entertainment, and lakefront beauty, making it a most loved destination for families seeking adventure and relaxation.
The Shedd Aquarium provides a window into the wondrous world that lies just below the water’s surface. It is much like walking into an underwater world that is home to a wide variety of fascinating creatures. The vibrant fish, playful dolphins, and exquisite sea otters are sure to captivate the attention of children and families. Children are able to get up close and personal with stingrays and other marine creatures at the interactive displays that are available. The Shedd Aquarium is distinguished from other institutions by its dedication to the causes of conservation and education. Through these endeavours, the aquarium hopes to encourage younger generations to look after the marine life that resides in our waters. It is a location where education and discovery go hand in hand with one another.
Jane Addams Hull-House Museum
The Jane Addams Hull-House Museum offers a different kind of family experience—one that’s educational and thought-provoking. It’s a historic house-turned museum that tells the story of social reformer Jane Addams and her work in improving the lives of immigrants and the less fortunate. While it may not be as playful as some other attractions, it’s a place where families can engage in meaningful conversations about social justice and history.
It’s an opportunity to introduce children to important values and ideas, making it a unique experience for families interested in learning together!
Food and Cultural Tours Near Chicago Union Station
Chicago Pizza Tours
Chicago Pizza Tours is a culinary adventure that takes you on a delicious journey through the city’s iconic pizza scene. Chicago is famous for its deep-dish pizza, and these tours are like a pizza lover’s dream come true. You’ll get the opportunity to sample a variety of pizzas, ranging from the cheesy and decadent deep-dish to the light and airy tavern-style pie. Not only will your taste buds be satisfied, but you’ll also learn interesting facts and tales about the establishments that have become so popular. The opportunity to uncover little-known treasures and cherished institutions among the community while indulging in some of the most tantalising pizza slices in the city is what makes the Chicago Pizza Tours so unique. For me, this place is all I want to have a pizza, again and again, being there cause they give me perfect slices with delicious flavours that no pizza lover like me can resist.
L Stop Tours | Chicago Walking Tours
L Stop Tours offers a unique way to explore the diverse locality of Chicago, all while using the city’s iconic “L” train system. These guided walking tours take you on an urban adventure, showcasing the rich culture, history, and architecture of different areas. L Stop Tours offers a wide range of themed tours, so you can choose to learn about the art scene in Wicker Park, the history of the Loop, or the lively food scene in Chinatown. What sets them apart is the opportunity to experience the city like a local, using public transportation to explore the city’s vibrant hangouts.
It Ends With Memories Revolving Around Chicago Union Station
It has been an incredible experience for me to travel across Chicago, starting at Union Station. I’ve had a lot of joy going to sites like the Willis Tower and Millennium Park, where I could see the city from a great height. The art institute and the Lyric Opera, among other museums, were like entering a world of visual and performing arts. At Navy Pier and the Shedd Aquarium, where we saw some cool fish and had a great time, I had a great time with my family. I also can’t forget about the delicious pizza we sampled while on our pizza tours! Union Station served as the hub for all of these activities, and I will always treasure the memories I made there.
Hope you will love travelling there and enjoy the activities and things to do I have listed in this post that will make your memory bloom!